Eric 'Sam' Astika
My Dad was an addict as long as I knew him. My mom left him when I was 6 for the safety of our family, and that was the beginning of his downward slide. We lived in Edmonton at the time, and he soon moved to Vancouver where he became a full time heroin junkie.
I loved my Dad so much, and he was always so good to my brother and me when we visited him in Vancouver; I used to cry for days when we had to leave him. I missed him so much. By the time I turned 16 he rarely called as he was so ashamed of what he had become, and I resented him for this.
He died when I was 18 years old, of a major overdose in a motel room on East Hastings in Vancouver, and he was alone. I did not understand at the time that drug addiction is a disease, and in some ways I think that I still have not come to terms with his death. He was 40 years old; only 9 years older than I am now, and I am sad he did not get to meet my brother and I as adults.
Not one day goes by that I don't think about him in one way or another. My number one wish in life is that I could tell him how much I love him, and that I understand now that he had a disease he could not overcome.
My best memories are walking the streets of Vancouver hand in hand with him, dancing in the living room to Rod Stewart songs with him and so many more. I try to keep the good times in my heart at all times; but sometimes I miss him so much it hurts. Sam Astika was a great man and I am proud that I was able to call him Dad.
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