WATCH: The opioid crisis has taken the lives of thousands of loved ones in B.C. and a grieving Comox mother, whose son died six months ago, is giving others a space to honour them. Judith Conway’s back fence is now decked out in flags and ribbons with the names of those who have died in hopes of saving someone else.
Greg Conway beamed with pride as he straightened out the flags and ribbons his wife has decked out their Comox fence in.
“So many names,” said the Comox man while looking closely at the ribbons.
“When Judy gets into her zone you give her room.”
The fence is a memorial to all those who have died in the last year from the B.C. opioid crisis.
Greg’s pride in his wife Judy’s relentless sewing of the flags and creating a space for the community’s grief has sparked a loving smile on his face even in the family’s time of grief.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get over it,” said Greg.
Their 30-year-old son Matthew died from a fentanyl overdose on Nov. 5. The Crossfit trainer, boyfriend and loving son had become addicted to opioids after a surgery that led to the need for pain medication.
“He was very thoughtful,” said Judy. “He was a great hugger. I loved him because he always would pick me up. He was so big and strong and me being five foot. And [he] had a lot to offer life, had a lot to offer this world and now he’s gone.”
Judy said she knew she had to put her grief into action by encouraging parents to talk to their kids about the deadly drugs now on the streets of their very own community. Two weeks ago, she decided to put up the fence.
“Each little piece of yarn signifying how many people who have died in Canada in 2017,” said Judy. “And it was very emotional for me because I knew that my child was one of those pieces of yarn.”
A constant stream of people is now stopping at the fence along Guthrie Road. Some are putting up a flag for their own loved one or taking a moment to meet the Conways and hear Matthew’s story.
“I like the awareness that she’s brought out,” said Comox resident Debbie Williams.