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 ourplacesociety.com/donate
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