A grieving mother, Dianne Young, is having a protest at Province House on April 15th in honour of her son, Lennon Waterman, who died last fall from mental illness and addiction. Dianne’s goal is to demand better services and more treatment options for Islanders dealing with these illnesses. I support her 100% in that goal. Things have improved with the recent investments in Addictions Services, but more needs to be done.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that our son also battles addiction and mental health issues. Part of what drove me to go public with our story two years ago is that I was terrified that he was going to die without ever having received the proper level of treatment. I even had his funeral planned in my head. Dianne is living my worst nightmare. The mother in me wants to wrap my arms around her and support her in any way that I can to honour Lennon and the many others who have lost their lives. Plus, there are many Islanders who are lost to addiction, but still alive. It is not too late for them. They need our voices!
I also can’t get the image of Lennon at the North River causeway out of my mind. No, I did not see Lennon that night but I pictured my own son at a bridge many times.....MANY times. Individuals battling addiction get so desperate and feel so hopeless and helpless that suicide can feel like the only option. Lennon thought it was the only option and now that young man is gone forever. His death has brought even more awareness of mental health and addiction so that others may be saved. He did not die in vain.
I invite you to join me in standing with Dianne on April 15th. Whether you have been personally affected by addiction or not doesn’t matter. Whether you believe a protest will help or not doesn’t matter. Whether you believe addiction is a disease or not doesn’t matter. An Island mom has lost her son and is grieving. She needs us. Let’s go and surround her with love and support like Islanders always do in difficult times.
See you at Province House on April 15th at 5:30!
PS: Don’t be scared off by the word “protest”. It is a way to raise awareness that change is needed, and to offer support to a grieving mom.