2nd Annual Tattos4Trauma — Cobourg Lions Centre — September 9 — 10 am to 5 pm
Remembrance by Dave Glover
(Schedule of events at bottom of article)
This Saturday, September 9th, would normally be my son’s 32nd birthday.
Instead, this year, David’s mom, Sue, and his Aunt Theresa are inviting the Northumberland community to the Lions Centre to celebrate his life and memory during Tattoos4Trauma—a fund-raising and awareness event for men’s mental health.
David was 28 and facing his greatest fear when we lost him to suicide
It was at the height of the Covid pandemic.
He was working in advertising and doing promotion for live events in Toronto.
When the pandemic happened, he lost his job at the same time as mold was discovered in an apartment he shared with his friend. Faced with eviction in a city where it is difficult to find an apartment even in the best of times, he saw in his Parkdale neighbourhood, the devastation and disparity the unhoused face closeup.
The effects of the addiction and opioid crisis were also evident in his neighborhood.
He carried a Naloxone kit with him before it was the thing to do and used it more than once to help others.
He saw firsthand, how cruel life on the streets is; no life at all without a place to sleep and a decent paying job.
Suddenly, for him, all his assurances in life were swept way. He feared that being one of those people, adrift, facing the harsh reality of being broke and homeless.
Even though David knew he had a place here, at home with his family—his mother and I always told him that— he was proud. He was “a grown ass man” who wasn’t about to move back home after living on his own for ten years.
But he was also struggling with something else.
Compounding his problems with eviction and joblessness was David’s struggle with personal trauma.
We didn’t know what was devastating his soul.
As parents, we knew something was wrong. His personality changed during the last few years of his life as did his need to self-medicate. His drug of choice was alcohol. David drank to numb his pain and hide his feelings.
He worried excessively about ending up on the street being homeless and addicted. He feared being lost on the margins.
He did tell his mother about what had happened to him, or rather what had been done to him, mere weeks before he died.
But it was too late. The damage done took its toll.
David was a listener. A helper. He devoted a lot of his free time to helping others who weren’t as fortunate as he. He fed the unhoused in encampments and parks in Toronto, helping others who needed more than a meal or water.
He spent hours listening and talking to people.
I know he’s proud of the work his mother Sue and Aunt Theresa are doing for the people in our community faced with these same conditions.
In his name. In his memory.
Tattoos4Trauma is held on or close to David’s birthday to celebrate his life to raise funds and promote awareness for men’s mental health as well as promote the general welfare of our community.
Suicide is a serious problem in Canada especially among our men and boys.
Recovering from trauma and addiction isn’t easy.
There simply aren’t enough services or funds available to deal with the toll suicide is taking on our communities.
Addiction is often the result of attempts to self-medicate. It come in the form of dependency on alcohol, illicit drugs, food or something else.
Addiction is often due to trauma. It is as simple as that. If it is not dealt with, the consequences are serious.
Why Trauma Often Leads to Addiction – Gateway Foundation https://www.gatewayfoundation.org/addiction-blog/trauma-and-addiction/
This year Tattoos 4 Trauma has invited professionals and trauma specialists to attend the event.
Many of whom, I understand, heard about last year’s event and want to be here this year.
This will be the largest gathering of men’s trauma resources in Northumberland ever!
All services will be available to community members after the event as well for ongoing support.
I look forward, personally, to meeting as many people as possible.
Friends old and new along with their families are encouraged to come out and share the day.
Maybe even get a tattoo.
I’m glad to be a small part of this event; not only as David’s dad, but as a man who suffers with trauma.
Men aren’t raised or encouraged to think about what is affecting them.
They aren’t allowed to be vulnerable or weak.
Acknowledging emotions or having them at all, isn’t in many men’s playbook.
Mental healthcare is healthcare.
And the sorry fact is men’s mental healthcare funding is lacking.
Solutions begin with a conversation…
Solutions begin with listening…
Solutions begin when we acknowledge there is a problem.
Please follow the link to the website for more details including how to reach Tattoos4Trauma directly. See:https://tattoos4trauma.com/
And if you are considering suicide please contact the suicide prevention hotline: 1.833.456.4566 or text 45645
Or go to the website https://talksuicide.ca/
Dave Glover is a well known cultural and political commentator in Northumberland. Thousands of listeners, both locally and worldwide, know Dave because of his “Drive Time” radio broadcast that ran for more than 8 years and his 15 years hosting political programs on a local cable channel.
Listen to/Contact Dave