Making sense of tragedy

Rob Gibson

Even as a parent, it's impossible to relate to Tom Budd's tragic story.

A well known Kelowna philanthropist, Budd is telling his story as Canadians from coast to coast to coast put the focus on mental health for Bell Let's Talk Day.

Over the course of just a few years, Budd discovered the bodies of both of his sons, victims of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, in his home.

Both suffered from depression.

"I didn't care whether I lived or died for about six months," Budd told Castanet. "Miraculously, I came out of that. I did what I was supposed to do to get through grief. Eventually, I got some traction."

Now, Budd tells his story to anyone who will listen.

He bares his soul, shares his pain and his tears in hopes others can heal, or find a better path.

Last year on this day, and just months removed from his oldest son's suicide, Budd related his emotional story on Soft 103.9.

"Four people said I saved their life because they were suicidal," he said. 

"One person in particular heard this show and he was suicidal and he was thinking of killing himself until he saw Tom Budd, this investment banker crying and being vulnerable."

He said the man confessed to his wife and got counselling.

The road, he says, is not an easy one. He still lives with the vision of his two dead sons in his head.

"I'm very careful. I know when I'm really sad, or I'm really in pain for a number of days, I make sure people are around me so I don't slip further."

But, he says he now has purpose and a way to get through life with peace and joy.

"My purpose is to show people you can get through tragedy. My purpose is to tell people life is worth living no matter what. My purpose is to help reduce the stigma of mental health so people actually can enjoy their life and shed their pain."

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