My name is David and the holidays are a lonely time for me. You see, I lost my entire family in three tragic accidents.
I couldn’t cope with the grief, so turned to substances to find peace. Thankfully, Bissell Centre was there to pick me up when I needed help.
So how did I get here? Ten years ago, my wife and I were living our dream, running a successful catering business in Vancouver. But that was before a drunk driver took my wife’s life. My wife was my partner, my best friend—I didn’t know how to go on without her.
The heartbreak was still fresh for me when six weeks later a work accident claimed the life of my 23 year-old son. His harness broke during a brutal storm when he was checking mobile towers. In the blink of an eye, he was gone.
I thought things couldn’t get any worse, but I was wrong.
A few months later, I got a call that my daughter’s car had veered from the road on her way to Whistler. The snow flurries made it nearly impossible to see. By the time she was found, she’d frozen to death in her car.
It was unthinkable. In five months, my entire family was gone.
For a long time, I used alcohol to numb the pain of losing my wife and children. Eventually, I got really sick and was sent to Edmonton for rehab.
But with sobriety came more darkness. So I turned to heroin.
Whenever I used, I was depressed and alone—must trying to forget my reality.
My rock-bottom came when I was arrested for carrying drugs. In jail, I had a lot of time to think about the man I wanted to become. I knew I needed to make some huge changes if I wanted to be happy again and become the man my beloved wife and kids knew me to be.
Bissell Centre was the first place I went after being released.
The staff greeted me with kindness. Instead of judging me, they smiled, welcomed me and handed me a warm plate of food. The staff told me about their mental health and housing support programs, and I was blown away.
For the first time, I realized that I didn’t have to rebuild my life alone.
Make a holiday gift this Christmas, so we can walk alongside more people like David in their darkest hour.