9th Annual Overdose Vigil, Gloucester
This last Monday, Christian and I, accompanied by friends and family attended the 9th annual Overdose Vigil in Gloucester. This event is held on the boulevard each August in honor to remember all the loved ones we have lost to their addiction. I couldn’t even guess the amount of people that were there, mostly because I am just very bad at estimation, but 100 people? maybe 200? To say it was an emotional experience is an understatement. Every person that was there that night has lost someone they loved, whether it was their mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, son, daughter, girlfriend, wife, and many others. Everyone was encouraged to write names and tributes on white bags that are then filled with a small sandbag and glow stick. The luminaries were then lined along the boulevard so that when it got dark they would “light up the night” with love. And that is just what it did.
Throughout the night there was music and guest speakers. Each person had lost a love one to addiction and used their grief to help others. A couple that we met briefly was Gordon and Colleen Bullard. They had lost their son Cory in 2017 to addiction and have since started the CCB Foundation in his memory. We love their mission. They are a non profit raising funds to help support addicts in recovery after they get back in to the real world and focus on helping them get jobs, education and training to get into the workforce. More info can be found on their website https://ccbfoundation.com/
The first speaker was Franklin Cooke from Unified Community solutions and the SADOD (Support After Death by OverDose) project. He is a grief counselor that specializes in grief support for sudden deaths from either suicide or an overdose.
She second speaker was Elaine Hoctor-De Vos, a mother from Wakefield who spoke about the loss of her daughter, Amandee, in December 2018. In May 2019 she held a Cut-a-thon hair cutting event to raise money for many different addiction related charities/foundations in memory of Amandee.
The third speaker was Lindsay, a volunteer with the vigil who has spoken in the past about her experiences with family members addiction. Her speech was told from her best friends point of view that she met through their shared tragic experiences of losing a sibling.
We were invited to speak as the fourth speakers and spoke about Jill and the sunrise fund. It was very tough, as it was only 4 days after the 1 year mark of Jill being gone, but we got through it.
The last part of the night was the reading of all of those we have lost. The list of names seemed like it went on forever. If I had to guess I would say around 500 names were read. Although it was a very sad event, it is put on each year to let people know that we are not alone in this fight. This disease has literally touched everyone. That amount of names is not okay, it's mind blowing. Talk about addiction to your kids. Talk about your loved ones who have died. Let's raise money and get these people the help they need.
Thank you to everyone that came to the vigil.
Thanks for reading,