"Sawyer was such a completely amazing boy, which makes what has happened so much more confusing to us as a family," Elizabeth Gini tells PEOPLE

By Patrick Gomez
Updated April 29, 2015 07:00 AM
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Credit: Tina Coleman/Barefoot Photography

In the wake of Everybody Loves Raymond star Sawyer Sweeten’s tragic suicide, the actor’s mother, Elizabeth, and stepfather, Jerry Gini, share memories of their son with PEOPLE:

Sawyer was such a completely amazing boy, which makes what has happened so much more confusing to us as a family.

We spoke to or saw Sawyer daily. There was not one time that he did not greet us, or really anyone, without a hug. He never said goodbye without an “I love you.”

In raising such a beautiful being, it is impossible to not be made better for it. Who we are is greatly due to the moments shared with Sawyer.

The capabilities of his room-lighting smile and his contagious laughter will never be fully known. He was incredibly intelligent and had an amazing heart.

He aspired to be a veterinarian because caring for animals was his passion. He and [his twin brother] Sullivan had just purchased a home and were beginning to build their futures.

What happened to our son was not textbook depression. He was happy, upbeat and loving. But in the last week of his life, we saw something happen. It was so rapid in progression that we were caught off-guard.

Sawyer was not some tragic Hollywood kid who did drugs or became an alcoholic. He did neither. He was a normal young man who loved his Harley-Davidson, video games, his pets and especially his family.

We are grateful that his beautiful personality was shared with so many through his years on television. But to us, he was just our hilarious and sweet son.

There is no question how much we loved him.

For more from Sawyer Sweeten’s family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

RELATED: New Details on the Death of Sawyer Sweeten