Saturday, 29 March 2014

Why I am standing with Dianne Young on April 15th

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.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


By: Rose Barbour
Through sobs and tears
She kisses her son good-bye
In a hospital bed, she leaves his body behind
The pain is so great she’s losing her mind.

Good-bye sweet child
My boy in blue
You were everything to me
How will I go on without you?

Gone forever this gentle boy
Whose sparkling eyes were once filled with joy
But over the years they hollowed out
As he became a shell of his former self.

Each day, she put on a smile to hide the pain
Of a disease so painful it can’t be explained
She sat in agony each and every night
Wondering if her boy was doing alright.

Was he being cared for with a gentle hand?
Did anyone love her special man?
Would he meet a fate worse than death?
Would he be alone when he took his last breath?

Oh how she missed her boy, who he once was
That little boy so full of love
That band student playing an instrument so big
Smiling from ear to ear at every gig.

The beautiful cards he lovingly made
The flowers he picked on a summer’s day
That caring boy who made no waves
Was now a man she couldn’t save.

Though she did try to make it right
To give him hope to keep up the fight
He got sicker each day and lost his will
As he sought relief from another pill.

Addiction is cruel and has a high cost
Please pray for the moms who have loved and lost
They couldn’t save their children, though they did try
With broken hearts they wondered why, why, why.

Feeling alone in the crowd, she puts flowers on his grave
Saying one last good-bye as her tears came in waves
Who could understand this loss of a boy so kind
When the symptoms of the disease made people blind.

Blind to the person he was inside
Blind to the tears he cried at night
Blind to the way he hated himself
Blind to the way he truly felt.

Rest easy dear son you are now at peace
You are free of the chains that caused you grief
As for me, I am heartbroken and don’t want go on
But I will remember the happy times and try to be strong.

Love always, mom

This poem is dedicated to the parents who have lost their children to addiction. I hear their stories almost daily and my heart breaks for them. I could not imagine that kind of pain but I attempted to write about it here, using what I know about the pain of addiction. I hope that it helps others to understand what parents with addicted children deal with, and the great pain we face each day. God bless each and every one of you.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Please don't judge my son

Please Don't Judge My Son
By: Rose Barbour 

There’s an unshakable ache inside my heart
The words you say that tear me apart
While you see a junkie and scum of the earth
I see the child who I’ve loved since birth.

I love him today as much as I did then
That you judge him so cruelly is an absolute sin
You look in disgust at my sick young man
When you could instead, make him feel worthy again.

With your cruel words, you keep him down
There’s no place for “them” in this nice town
You’d rather see him suffer another day
Than to lend a helping hand and lead the way.

What you don’t understand or seem to know
Is that attitudes like yours cause it to grow
A compassionate society will kill this disease
That thrives in shame, secrecy and general unease.

So many are dying, while some are barely alive
Simply existing in the world trying to survive
A slave to a disease that knows no bounds
As we turn a blind eye, it is making its rounds.

Let’s talk about it and bring it into the light
Let’s not let it win, together let’s fight
Let’s stop the judging and our misguided hate
Let’s open our arms to those we underrate.

Please give my boy hope and all the others
That we won’t stand by and lose another
We want them to get well and will do what it takes
To bring them back home for all our sakes.

Rose Barbour

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

I love you bean

When your child has an addiction, nothing is normal. The things that are supposed to bring joy to families usually end up bringing stress to yours. This is a story about one of those times....

It all started with a Facebook status from my son’s girlfriend that caught my eye.

“I am so excited”. 

I wondered what it was that was so exciting. Was she getting into detox? Was he?

About an hour later, a status update appeared from my son, “I love you bean.”

My mother’s intuition was working in overdrive. I knew immediately what was going on. She was pregnant. I was sick. Just sick! This can’t be happening. Haven’t we all been through enough?!

I needed to call my best friend, my rock, my husband. I told him, “I am sick to my stomach. I think they are going to have a baby.”

After I filled him in, Mike asked me not to jump to conclusions or go into panic mode until we hear it directly from them.

I couldn’t get it off my mind. I was in stress mode x 1,000.

I received a text from my son, “Are you and dad going to be home tonight? We are going to drop by for a visit.”

Oh dear God! This confirmed it. They were coming to tell us the “exciting” news.

The thought that kept running through my mind is that our son was dealing with an addiction even though he was raised in a home that was drug and alcohol free. What chance would this child have when being raised by two parents who were sick with addiction with no help in sight?

I responded to his text to tell him that I knew exactly why he was coming over, and that I was too upset to talk about it. I needed a day or two to come to terms with it.

He asked what I thought was the reason for his visit, and I told him.

He was shocked that I knew already. “Who told you? I wanted to be the one to tell you.”

He was excited about the baby, which made it hard for him to understand my devastation. I suppose he always dreamed he would get a positive response when he told us that he was going to be a father.

I was so distraught that I couldn’t face him, at least not right away. I cried until I had no tears left. Do you think this was our dream for our child or our grandchild? I think not!

The next day, I was still feeling pretty devastated. Like anything in life, I knew that I would come to terms with this but it killed me to know that an innocent child, who I would love dearly, was going to be born into this world of addiction. A world that was so hard.

His girlfriend sent me a text late in the morning to tell me that she wasn’t pregnant after all. Her home pregnancy test had been wrong. The one from the doctor’s office came back negative!  

I rushed outside to get some fresh air. I couldn’t stop shaking and crying. My emotions went from one extreme to the next in a matter of seconds. Devastation to jubilation. My body was reacting to it.

This is the life of parents with addicted children.


Important note: While it worked out for us this time, many children are born into this type of situation. That’s why it is imperative that the appropriate help is available. When you help an individual battling addiction, you help their whole family, including their precious children.