Waterloo Region Record

Tragedy of brother’s death also brings gift of family bond

Greg Scott’s life to be celebrated Saturday, brother invites friends to exchange stories


KITCHENER — John Scott breaks down as he talks about his brother, who died last week.

There is overwhelmi­ng sadness, but also joy. “His death has given me a great gift,” John says. John is now getting to know his brother’s two adult daughters — Dielle Scott of Cambridge and Emma Grylls of Bowmanvill­e.

The father and daughters were estranged until the trio connected about five years ago. The sisters didn’t know about each other.

“For me, the remarkable experience through his death is that it has afforded me the opportunit­y to get closer to them,” John says.

“I’ve started a bond,” he says, while crying. Gregory Brian Scott died Aug. 20 of lung failure at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener. He was


He was addicted to drugs and alcohol. For about 20 years, he lived in and out of housing and shelters in Kitchener.

Last week, he was having troubling breathing and went to the hospital’s emergency department but chose not to wait to be seen by a doctor.

Two days later, he passed out while at St. John’s Kitchen. He was on life support for a few hours while his daughters came to his bedside.

On Saturday, John is holding a celebratio­n of life at his home in Paris, Ont., to honour his brother. He’s hoping Greg’s friends and social workers who knew him will come and share stories about his brother.

“I want to give this gift of knowledge to his daughters,” John says. “His life wasn’t a failure or in vain.

“He was a decent human being.”

The Scotts had a difficult and often troubled life.

Greg Scott was born at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. By age six, he and his two brothers were living in foster care in Oshawa.

Their parents were alcoholics and unable to take care of them. Accompanie­d by workers with the former Toronto Catholic Children’s Aid Society, the brothers would have supervised visits with their parents.

For the first year, Greg kept a family photo of the five of them under his pillow.

“He was broken” by the separation, recalls John.

Life with their foster family, where they lived for a decade, was harsh. The boys lived in fear.

John was more apt to to do his chores and avoid his foster father. Greg, more rebellious, paid dearly with regular beatings.

“Because of these experience­s, my brother got a little lost,” John says.

Their mother, Therese, died about 25 years ago when she slipped in the bathtub while drunk and drowned.

Alcoholism left its mark on the Scotts. Ten years ago, John was charged and convicted of impaired driving.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says. “It gave me the opportunit­y to embrace a new life.”

Their younger brother, Jason, who had fetal alcohol syndrome at birth, went into a specialize­d home as a child and still lives in Oshawa.

John left the foster family when he went to the University of Waterloo. Greg, who was then 14, left as well.

“He said, ‘No way I’m staying here without you,’ ’’ John says.

Greg would later follow his brother to Kitchener and stay.

John would see his brother on and off, and for two years he lived with him in Paris. Although Greg was never diagnosed with a mental health illness, John believes the addictions masked other undiagnose­d issues.

“He had addictions and they got him into issues and away he went,” John says.

Although Greg didn’t die of an overdose, John says he used opioids.

“He was surrounded by it. He was fighting to get help out of it.”

About five years ago, Greg’s daughter Emma reached out to John on LinkedIn. The pair met and he introduced her to her father.

John recalls warning her “to be prepared because seeing him might break your heart.”

But the young woman thanks John for the meeting every time she sees him. Meeting his daughters “renewed his life a little bit,” says John.

“He saw good in them and he recognized his limitation­s and instead of trying to engage, he let them live their lives,” John says. “He was selfless.”

The celebratio­n of life will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at 37 Long Lane in Paris. John can be reached at johnfitzge­raldscott@gmail.com.

lmonteiro@therecord.com Twitter: @MonteiroRe­cord

 ?? COURTESY OF JOHN SCOTT ?? John Scott, left, is photograph­ed with his brother Greg, who died this month in Kitchener.
COURTESY OF JOHN SCOTT John Scott, left, is photograph­ed with his brother Greg, who died this month in Kitchener.
 ?? COURTESY OF JOHN SCOTT ?? Greg Scott, right, is photograph­ed with his brothers John, left, and Jason.
COURTESY OF JOHN SCOTT Greg Scott, right, is photograph­ed with his brothers John, left, and Jason.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada