The tragic loss of a son has left an immense hole in a mother’s life. She’s now making it her mission to educate others of the frightening effects of alcohol.

In 2019, Ronita, a resident of Halifax, NS, learned that her 35-year-old son, Lynden Daniel Lucas, had suddenly passed away. He left behind three children. The cause, unfortunately, was that of alcohol poisoning.

Pictured: Lynden Daniel Lucas

Shock, sadness, and confusion followed his passing, especially because Lynden was not known to drink large amounts of alcohol. The shock grew when Ronita found out that her son passed at his own home. He had been casually drinking one evening, and ended up passing out in his bed, where he was later found. The amount of alcohol he consumed was ultimately fatal.

The day of his passing, November 4, is also the birthday of his closest cousin, Cora. This made the passing even harder for his family, who are still coming to terms with the loss of their beloved son, father, cousin, sibling, and friend.

Lynden, a bi-racial man (born to a white mother and black father), struggled through his childhood, dealing with racism among other things, Ronita notes. Despite his tough upbringing, he went on to become wildly successful working in the oil industry. Living in Calgary, Alberta during the last years of his life, he was a health and safety officer for over 12 years. Right before his passing, he became the youngest black manager at his place of work – a massive accomplishment.

“They loved him at his work. His picture was even up on the wall. He was so proud of his job,” says Ronita. “He was a great dad. So patient, so kind.”

According to his family, Lynden was a loyal, hard-working man who took care of his children to the best of his abilities. He had custody of his eldest daughter, whom he cared for immensely just as he did his two other children, a son and daughter.

Pictured: Lynden as a child

“My whole family is destroyed by this. We all have to work through the grieving process,” says Ronita. This passing was, and still is, incredibly hard for the family to deal with – an understandable feeling for such a tragic incident.

Ronita wants people to know that her son was not an alcoholic. “My son quit drinking for an entire year. He had begun to drink again after the year passed, however he seldom drank hard liquor,” she says. “He was supposed to be safe in his own home.”

After his death, the support of Lynden’s hometown and community was truly heartwarming. “I had his funeral at the largest church in Halifax. The church was full,” says Ronita.

An incident like this is something that could have been prevented, which is the message that Ronita is passionate about getting out to the masses. Knowing the dangers of alcohol and knowing your limits as a consumer is extremely important when it comes to drinking.

One night of drinking led Lynden to a dangerous situation very quickly, and it can happen to anyone. Bringing awareness to this subject is essential for helping prevent a similar situation from happening.

Drinking in North American culture is very prominent and viewed as acceptable in almost all circles. From dinners, to gatherings, to casual evenings at home – drinking in North America is considered normal. Because of this, the dangers of this substance are often overlooked, with many thinking nothing bad will happen to them just from drinking.

It has to be made clear that even as normalized as it is, alcohol is still dangerous. Consuming more than a couple of drinks can cause irreparable damage to families such as Ronita’s.

“Liquor doesn’t process if you drink too much. My son had a very high alcohol level in his body,” says Ronita. “Never stop talking to your kids about alcohol poisoning.”

Pictured: Ronita and Lynden

To avoid any alcohol-related issues, Ronita has made it a priority to ensure alcohol is no longer welcome in her home, no matter who is visiting or living with her. Her ultimate goal is to start a campaign on alcohol poisoning to raise awareness in her community and beyond. She wants to help as many people as she can by spreading the word about her sons devastating story.

“No one can bring him back, but we can share his story and help impact those who do drink, especially teenagers. I want to look out for them,” she says.

Ronita is now taking her grief day by day; She frequently does things that bring her joy. To calm her stress, she spends time with her daughter, as well as doing things she loves, like being out in the sunshine, where she says she can feel her son’s presence around her.

“I try to live through my son. I try to get up every day and dress up to feel better – not only for me, but for him,” says Ronita. “I want to live for him now because I believe he’s shining down on me. If I can save any one life, I’ve done my job. I want to share Lynden’s love.”

To access alcohol-related support for yourself or a loved one, there are many resources available. To get a list of resources and support services in your area, please visit our Get Help web page and browse by province: 

Article by Heather Gunn