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STUART, Samuel November 30, 1975 - May 3, 2020 Mourned by his mother Judith, father Stanley, and sister Lisa. Words from his mother: sometime on May 3rd, 2020 my son, Sam passed from this life, alone from overdose. The end was inevitable, as it is for all of us, but for those left behind, we are never prepared for the end. My son suffered from schizoaffective disorder, which means the reality you and I understand was not the same for him. One of the ways he coped was to self-medicate with street drugs. He chose drugs because they soothed those demons in his head, made him feel better, and gave him meaning. The high was high and the low so low. Many times, we talked about bad drugs but he was caught in the trap of need and want. He thought he was invincible, if he did expect the inevitable we will never know. Many of us are encircled in grief standing but crumbling. The deaths from overdose in BC since March 202 has reached over 161. The homeless, those suffering from mental illness, the abused, the dispirited are left aside. With borders closed and a shutdown, surrounding us how does a loved one get safe supply. What is the matter with us that we supply one addiction yet turn our back on another addiction? Is it because they behave differently, suffer differently, look different? Are they not worthy of our concern or compassion? If it had not been for the concern, help, guidance, care and love from Pandora Act Team, and Our Place perhaps Sam would not have been in our lives these past years; but they made a difference and continue to do so for me. Sam's journey in life was his alone. I surrounded Sam in love but ultimately life's journey belongs only to each of us. Everything has an end, and I have come to peace with that and now only rejoice in his life; all of it. His last message to me was "Oh hi mom, I had a great success, so I am glad about that, maybe I will drop by, take care, love you". Words from his sister: my brother died of an overdose this week. On the same day, in this city, three other loved ones also died of an overdose. There will be no press briefings or medical officers standing to say these lives mattered. I realize at times it was easier to just not say I had a brother versus try and explain his mental suffering, his homelessness, his times in lockdown, how he tried to self-medicate. He died alone like he lived, feared and rejected by people when really it was him who feared what was around him. Sometimes it seems easier to say you had no brother when the reality is you have grieved for him each day before his death. So next time you pass that homeless person, that person who appears mentally ill remember we are all precious human beings worthy of someone standing up to say they will help, saying they will care, saying they will enact policy to help because it matters. How we treat the most vulnerable is a reflection of our society and who we are as human beings. Some people have made it their life's work to care and help our vulnerable loved ones, it is with gratitude and humility that I hold my hands up to you for those moments you tried to help, for those moments you brought comfort, for those moments you stood up and held out your hand in greeting. Donations or condolences to Our Place Society at registered Canadian charity 82709 8344 RR0001.

Published in Victoria Times Colonist from May 16 to May 18, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
July 7, 2020
My sincere and heartfelt condolences to Judith, Stanley and Lisa and all of Samuel's family and friends....I believe I was a classmate of his at Montessori preschool and I have vivid memories of his playful spirit and bright blue eyes to this day. Your tribute is so very touching... I honour your courage and compassion in sharing your story and wish that you and he could have found the help you needed and deserved. I'm so sorry for this senseless loss.
Gina Cuthbert (nee Cockayne)
June 2, 2020
My deepest sympathies and condolences to your family. My brother Ian died on the same day as Samuel of an overdose. Your words felt so true and moved me greatly. Please know that I am honouring your family's struggle and your love for Samuel as I mourn my brother and all others who have died in this horrible epidemic. I am so sorry Samuel lost his life and that you have lost him.
Stephanie H.
June 1, 2020
We humans fall short in how we live, love, communicate, and interact with our fellow human beings!!! I am eternally grateful that GOD loves each and every one of us without conditions of any sort!!!
When I am living in connection with the Holy SPIRIT of GOD I also feel love without condition to my family of humans and it is awesome!!! I believe in the oneness of the world and the universe which includes all of us being connected!!!
Your words of love are a very courageous tribute to Samuel and his struggle in life and showing how it ripples out to everyone that chooses Love, compassion, kindness, caring, and acceptance!!! What a totally beautiful soul Samuel has!!! I am sure he is where there is no illness or tears or pain of any sort!!! More gratitude knowing this!!!
I also believe in Love and Acceptance and practice living this as much as I am able, my human condition seems to pull me back to judgment and other behaviours I am not proud of, however, acceptance allows me to love myself and others with SPIRITs feeling and it is amazing!!! Love always wins and is our greatest weapon in lifes lessons for growth and change!!! Right now I am feeling for Samuel, Judith, Stanley, and Lisa with pure love!!! XoXoXo
Charlene Prosser
May 28, 2020
Deepest condolences on the loss of your son. This is a beautiful tribute to him and a courageous writing on behalf of all who suffer. Until you have loved someone with a substance use disorder it is nearly impossible to understand the pain of doing so. Wishing you healing and health in the days ahead.
Trish Bezborotko
May 28, 2020
I am so sorry for the loss of your son.It is a hard story to tell but it is his story and yours and it is heart breaking.My son Benjamin passed away last year close to this time.He suffered from schizophrenia and was addicted to drugs as well.Their stories are so much alike.Please know you are not alone.Sending love and hugs to your family.
Kristen Hart
May 24, 2020
Judith, What a brave and beautiful piece you shared about your journey with your Son, Sam. Love always wins, no matter what and I know you will hold him in a loving place in your heart forever. Thinking of you. Wendy Lovitt Warren
Wendy Lovitt Warren
May 21, 2020
May the care and love of all around you provide comfort and peace. xo
Ruth Elliot
May 20, 2020
Judith, although I never met Sam personally I feel I knew him through you, in a small way. He had movie star good looks and beautiful eyes and a mother and sister who loved him deeply. I hope that Sams pain is over and that you will forever hold him in your heart...where he has always been.
Bunny Doyle
May 17, 2020
Thank you Judith, Stanley, and Lisa for openly sharing your grief after losing your son and brother, Samuel. And thank-you for educating Times Colonist readers about the devastation families feel because of untreated mental illness and unmonitored addictions. It takes courage to bare your souls the way you have. I might have been writing for my own daughter and I know that thousands of families in BC are affected by the illnesses that your son endured. With your permission, I would like to write an opinion piece for the Times Colonist about both the lack of resources given to mental illness and addictions, with a dedication to Samuel. I've known others who also lost their lives too soon from the same causes but I have no way to contact their families.
Starla Anderson
May 17, 2020
I dont think I ever met Sam, but thank you for sharing a bit about him and your experience. My condolences to Sams family & friends. Take care of each other, and stay strong.
Harry Hitchman
May 17, 2020
Judith, I'm so very sad for you at this time. You loved Samuel so much. May his mind be at peace now. Virtual hug, Wendy Smith
Wendy Smith
May 16, 2020
First, my very sincere condolences to Judith, Stanley and Lisa on the loss of your handsome son & brother at such a young age. I can speak from experience as three years' ago my beloved partner(11 years), Kris, passed away, age 43 from depression & a fatal dose of Fentanyl. Like Samuel, he was found unresponsive & died alone downtown. Like Samuel, OUR PLACE, which sponsored a Celebration of Life, was a great comfort to me as well. I too, was honoured to have Sands involved in his final preparations. I agree totally, with the comments made that people need to be more compassionate and non judgemental regarding those afflicted with similar emotional/mental health issues faced by Samuel. Knowing that Samuel is finally at peace and pain free, is a great comfort to his family, relatives and friends he tragically left behind. Treasure all the wonderful times spent together during his all but too short life. Judith, Stanley and Lisa my support is here for you.
Robert Thompson
May 16, 2020
What a lovely and moving tribute to your son and brother. It made me cry. My son also has mental health issues, fortunately not addiction. We should all have compassion for these people. Sending you big hugs and know that you are not alone. Take care.
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