Memorial in Powell River aims to raise awareness and end stigma surrounding substance use

Sara Donnelly / Powell River Peak, DECEMBER 12, 2018

The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone grieving a loss. For those who have lost loved ones to overdose, it can be even harder to navigate.

A tree in Town Centre Mall highlights overdose awareness and serves as a way for people to honour those who have died as a result of it.

“I’m trying to find ways to help reduce stigma and help others who are grieving,” said Darlana Treloar, who lost her son Sean to overdose in May 2016. “This tree is very meaningful to people who have lost someone in this way. It helps us in our grief and gives us a feeling of peace to do something in their memory.”

Located across from Coles bookstore, the white tree is covered with purple and silver decorations, including ornaments featuring the pictures and details of people lost to substance use disorder.

“To read the ornaments, the names of the people, the ages, the years they lived is a really hard thing to do,” said Maureen Christensen, who lost her son Anton Christensen Lemieux. “It gives meaning to these people. They’re not alive anymore, but they were alive and they did matter.”

Memorial in Powell River aims to raise awareness and end stigma surrounding substance use