British Columbia

Turning the page: father writes song in tribute to daughter, victim of overdose crisis

'When Charly passed away, this song came back to me and immediately the music came to mind'

January 04, 2018

George Wolf lost his daughter to fentanyl poisoning in 2016. He recently released the song "Missing You" in tribute to her. (George Wolf/Facebook)

It's the beginning of a new year: a time of renewal, of reinvention or new beginnings. Turning the Page is a week-long series of stories about starting over and moving forward, airing on CBC's On the Coast Jan. 2 - Jan. 5.

What would you say to your future self in a letter?


George Wolf recently confronted words and wishes he wrote to himself almost a year ago at a support group for parents who have lost children to fentanyl poisoning.

"When I opened it, my mind was blown because everything I had wished for on the list had come true over the course of the last six to eight months," Wolf told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.

His 21-year-old daughter, Charly Ann Torikka, was found unresponsive in her Maple Ridge, B.C., home in 2016 and Wolf has been working through the grief of losing her since then.

The group of about a dozen parents gathered at Valley View Funeral Home for eight weeks to share how the loss had affected their lives.

The big difference was how young Charly was compared to the other lost loved ones, most of whom had battled serious addiction for years.

"The similarities were really that all these parents had been trying really hard to get their children out of the situation and this had snuck up and taken the children away," he said.

Healing through music

Through his process of healing, Wolf channelled a lot of energy into music and discovered new meaning in the lyrics of a song he had written for a friend who lost their brother years ago.

Wolf heard the common words of comfort like "things will get better," or "you'll move on," expressed to his friend and was inspired to write the song "Missing You" in response.

"Grief doesn't work that way, grief takes its own time and you can't just turn a switch and say today everything got a little bit better. It doesn't always work that way," he said.

Labour of love

The song evolved and he pulled together a few good friends to help him produce and record it.

"I didn't have any music for it and when Charly passed away, this song came back to me and immediately the music came to mind."

"Part of my healing process was to record this song… and the song ended up being very much a labour of love."

To hear the full interview with George Wolf listen to media below:

Click to show more
Turing the page: George Wolf "Missing You"  12:01

With files from the CBC's On The Coast

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