A Rant Over Faith

STOP RIGHT HERE.  If you are a devout believer in religion, this is probably going to infuriate you.  I’m ranting now over an event this evening, and I am COMPLETELY unapologetic.  Skip over this unless you’re willing to debate in a logical fashion. 

I WAS going to write about a time with me strapped on a roof in a typhoon to impress a certain girl … and I will get back to that story, but I just experienced a phone call from someone I respect in most things of life.  He had basically accused me of poor taste based on his personal interpretation that I just attacked Christianity.  I just had to answer.

I pretty much made my own statements on what I believe in my blog post, A Matter of Faith. I’ve turned away not only from Catholicism, but from ALL organized religion altogether.  While I do believe that people are entitled to believe as they will and quite a few of my friends like to promote that belief, I also believe I am equally entitled to state my own personal belief, or lack of belief that is.

Today, I had posted a joke on my Facebook about religion.  I found it quite funny, and did a routine share.  Here it is (mind telling me where the hell it says Christianity?):

Image

Haven’t you ever been pestered about statements of overt faith?  Whether it be the person at the door with the pamphlets, the politician stating that a school shooting was because there wasn’t daily prayer in the classrooms, or the person who accuses you of being a traitor or an infidel because your belief contrasts his or hers, we’ve all been bombarded with religious statements of one way or another.  Every single person who tries to push their religious beliefs into our secular institutions just drives me insane.

Nevertheless, out of respect to him, I’ve removed it from Facebook, but I will NOT be silent.  I am simply furious with him for imposing his knee jerk interpretation on me.  I am simply furious with MYSELF for giving in this once.

Ever since I’ve declared myself Atheist, I’ve been attacked or judged by others (well over a dozen or so) as being very much as being a member of Satan’s crew.  Funny thing is that, I have a ton of Jewish and Muslim friends as well, and not a SINGLE one has ever been overtly judgmental.  If anything, I’ve actually had some interesting debates about their religion and atheism, but always with mutual respect.  (By the by, a lack of belief in god also means a total lack of belief in Satan as well.. so hell and all that.. why do you believe that hell scares me?  If anything, I’d probably rather go there since most of the atheists also include the very best mankind has ever had to offer.)

atheisthell

But Christians… Christians…. Why has it always been the Christian ones who attack, without even considering other points of views out of a self-important belief that their view is, and will always be the right one.  And to anyone of those who has attacked in the past, don’t you dare even begin to give me the bullshit excuse that that’s not true.  Remember, at one time, I was one of you, and even more devout and fanatic than most.

So I simply put this to you…. why?  If you’re content with your religion, why do you feel so threatened by my own beliefs on things based on actual proven observable fact? You don’t have to read anything I write.  You know I’m not likely to blow up a building or punch you out.  Just ignore me, as I try to ignore you if there’s something you choose to post that I don’t like.  If you know me, I would respect your point of view in general unless it’s something deliberately promoting hatred and harm.

For the Christians for example, I personally find it totally insane to base your belief on:
– a book like the King James Bible that is an English interpretation of ancient hebraic scrolls;
– translated to an “acceptable” level for approval by the King of England;
– based on a cherry picked pile of scrolls (for example, why only those 4 books of the apostles? Why no mention of the book of Mary Magdelene?);
– that were themselves copies of scrolls written down hundred of years from the original scrolls in 400AD;
– which were written and passed on solely through oral history for the first 400 years.
That’s lunacy. Ever played the game “Broken Telephone” as a kid? Ever hear how the story changed from start to end? Now imagine that with over 100,000 people in the middle of the line!

Hell, those same people who are so certain that there are no morals unless there is one based in religion, I counter that if the only thing keeping Christians, Jews and Muslims from turning into serial killers and arsonists is a belief of a being created by pre-Bronze age people trying to explain why it rains, non-believers has far more to be afraid of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Yes I attack religion as a whole, and very often the Catholic Church, but never once out of context.  If Rabbis or Imams were going around raping children world-wide, I would have GLADLY done the same with the same strength of conviction.  I refuse to have anything to do with any organization whose leadership voted in a Nazi to lead them, and openly condoned and protected thousands of child and women rapists world-wide over decades. I refuse to be a part of a religion that subjugate and strikes down women, because a bunch of guys decided to, despite that their own savior had never put such a restriction (such as in the case of Mary Magdalene).  Don’t even get me started on the Vatican attack on nuns on the front line, who are actually doing “God’s” work by feeding and helping the homeless, instead of say picketing over birth control.  I am truly ashamed of ever being a Catholic, and had long formally demanded to be removed from all rolls in the Vatican, Calgary and Montreal. And in fact, I state this here and now, I do NOT now, or EVER want to be buried or interred in Catholic or Christian grounds.

But I also reject the barbaric actions of the Muslim faith interpreted by conservative extremists.  Is lopping off the hands of thieves because supposedly their own god told them to be the right thing?  Jihad is supposed to be a revolution of the mind and spirit to a belief of love, and instead has been re-interpreted by men to mean violent struggle and massacres.

I’ve attacked religion as I believe in logic and simple compassion for your fellow man far more. For example, why isn’t giving your time or money or whatever because it’s simply the right thing to do is actually not the right thing, but it is right if it’s based on religious reasons out of fear for hell?  It strikes me as dead wrong.  That belittles all of us as little more than blackmailed children, and I’m not alone in that line of thought.

Those who declare themselves to be religious dropped to 60% in North America.  Those who declare themselves to be atheist, agnostic or humanist has risen to 16% of the population.  The numbers in many countries in Europe have plummeted to single digits for those declared religious.  I find this to be hopeful, as I personally see this as a maturing of society.  We are socially still so much to be a people not unlike children, who needed the spectre of a deity saying no-no or else you go to hell.  Now we’re slowly changing to be a people who realize that they should say no-no simply because it is the right thing.

So really in the end, it comes down to this.  I removed the so-called offensive post on Facebook, but only due to the nature of my relationship with this person.  But I learned long ago the saying, all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to remain silent, is correct.  This applies to protest.  It applies to life.  And it very much applies to culture… because where would we be if we stopped everything we found offensive based on our religious beliefs.  Everyone finds one thing or another thing offensive, but if you want to dispute something I’ve said or done, do it because there’s a valid reason or argument.  If you want me to respect your belief, give me a reason that makes sense.

That’s enough of a rant for today.  Back to something normal tomorrow.

Just Some Thoughts … Unintended Consequences of The Days

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” – Forrest Gump

“The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.” – Rob Norton on Unintended Consequences in Economics

I know I haven’t posted anything in a week, but after writing “The Days” and the subsequent events that followed as a direct result, I was a bit emotionally drained.  As you can tell, I tend to put a lot of myself in my writing, so I had to take a little break to recharge.

There’s definately going to be more to come with an upcoming reunion in just over 2 months, and so on.  The kids, as you read in the next expansion of this ongoing tale, The New Frontiers, have read the blog and just saw literally a huge chunk of their lives completely redefined at the core.  They’re… well… definately in shock, and I’m giving them some time to process it all.  I don’t foresee a new post on the Frontiers until after the reunion, but there’s been quite a bit of little things here and there in the background, so here’s to answer the questions I’ve gotten the most in the past month since I started the Days.

Why did you really write this?

I tried to explain why in the Epilogue, and the main reason was to give the kids the full background on their mom and me and how the whole mess came to be.  More importantly, this really was a tale that just had to be told.  I’m seeing them soon, and if you know me, I’m a decent storyteller, but I know my writing has always been better than my spoken word. 

But more importantly, it was the anniversary of her passing, and these were things that very few of even my closest friends knew about. Because of the strange irregular nature of our relationship, and the different schools, distance and more, everyone I know had a piece of the story, but no one had it all.

Are Terry & Georgia going to be in your life from here on?

I really don’t know. It’s still new to me to have them back, but not as the small children I remember.  They’re coming into adulthood now, but they know so little of their mom except of what their dad and grandparents have told them and of course childhood memories.  After the reunion to come, this whole relationship could expand and grow, or come to a crashing halt. 

As for my own feelings on the matter, I really do care for them and I’d love for them to be in my life, and that of my new friends and family here in Calgary.  But (and yes, there’s always the but) I’m getting the impression that I might have to consider keeping my distance or even leaving again if it’s for the better good.

Leave again?

This is where the quote I put above, the Law of Unintended Consequences, comes into play.  I can’t believe how I, a trained economist, completely disregarded this.  It’s a canon practically for us, as a good economist is supposed to be able to foresee the possible consequences for any action.  I really didn’t see this coming, though in hindsight it’s so obvious.

I started a war.  Yes, I knew going into this that I considered the possibility of their father and I might get into some sort of conflict.  What I DIDN’T see was that I might have possibly split their family apart into armed camps.  Terry isn’t even talking to his father now.  Georgia, thank heavens, is trying to work out a truce, but it’s not easy as she’s angry herself.  There has been so many stories told about me over the years, as it looks like my old friend and the grandparents still blame me for HER accidental death.  Now the truth is out, and the kids are … I’m not sure. 

All I do know is, I don’t want to be the one that could split a family as well, or more importantly, her family. 

How did the Kids find you?

Heh.  This is an interesting thing.  They didn’t find me a few months ago.  They found me almost 2 YEARS ago on Facebook and other social media sites.

They’ve been watching me all of this time to gauge if the stories they’ve been told are true.  What they’ve found is a guy who loves his friends, his family and great food…. lots and lots of food.  I’ve been told that the story of their decision to contact me is something epic as well, and I can’t wait to hear.

What now?

I’m talking to them.  That’s all that can be done.  I’m here to give them advice and my love.  

I’ve been asked by a local filmmaker to consider making a draft screenplay.  Yes?  No? I’m not ready right now in my mind, and I don’t have the time to commit anyways.  But if anything I’ve learned from this whole mess, never say never.

Anything to note?

My wife has gone way beyond the call of duty on this one.  I can’t imagine it was fun watching your husband write about another woman.  She’s also the one who’s been advising me to take it a little more carefully with the kids.  She’s going to stay at arms’ length for now and see where it goes before she gets directly involved. I can’t thank her enough for her advice, and most importantly, her patience and understanding.

Heh, and also, when I told my mom about the upcoming reunion, her first words to me weren’t “That’s great” or “How wonderful”.  They were, “Are you being sued (by her family)?”  Such a Mom thing to say.  Thanks Mom for the giggle, and love you.

So that’s enough for now.  I’ve got a few interesting tales from London, England (as a 14 yr old), a few Spy cases to tell from recent years, and how my horrific mandarin in Taiwan made a situation really, really weird.

And more importantly, take a look at www.YYCBurgerweek.com.  I’m one of the founders, and it’s burgers for a great cause.

See you in the funny papers.

New Frontiers … A Start

03-31-2014, I accidentally sent the link to this post and not the post intended for this week. Click here to read the intended post

A warning, but this is from my personal view and that as a writer.  As you know, “The Days” was a telling of both mine and her story over 29 yrs.  I’m proud of it and I poured as much of my spirit, and channeled as much of hers to convey to you how much we cared for one another, as my gift to Terry and Georgia, and as a cautionary tale in where a simple pure love can evolve into something twisted and unusual.  I truly believe as is, this chapter of my life could not possibly end more eloquently, if melancholy, with the reunion to come.  

But, it’s a tale that’s ongoing and evolving now into uncharted territory.  As such, The Days will continue, but as “New Frontiers” where I begin to explore my future with having T&G hopefully in my life.  This could suddenly end in June, or may well follow me for another 29 years, but in this, I am daunted yet excited to see where this could unfold in the tomorrows to come.  As it will progress with real-time, entries will probably be quarterly or even annually at best.  More so, to protect the feelings and trust of T&G, please understand that from here on, I probably won’t have the liberty to be as open and free with my words and experiences as I was with The Days.

Speaking again as a writer, I believe that a sequel is rarely as good as the original, so if you decide to preserve the purity and raw experience of The Days in your minds and opt out, it’s perfectly fine.  Nevertheless, if you’ve decided to follow, close your eyes.  Take my hand and take that first step with me.  Come.  Follow me down that rabbit hole to Wonderland.

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“Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” – Margo Channing / Bette Davis, All About Eve

“Too many couples break up without understanding the consequences for their families.” – Iain Duncan Smith

I don’t regret writing The Days Before Tomorrow these last few weeks.  I’ve had a few days to think about it the entire tale, and despite many doubts and some regrets in being so open with certain details, in the end I believe I’ve done our story justice.

Many of those ghosts I had are still there, but maybe a little quieter for once.  The reunion to come has brought me a sense of hope, though fear as well.  I’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest apparently in the lives of T & G, as so much they believed was their very existence has been shaken to the core.  In other words, I’ve opened Pandora’s Box, and there’s never any returning again to those innocent days.

I’m trying to imagine how I would feel if I just found out who the heart of your mother always belonged to, or that they were to be the children of their godfather after sudden loss.  I can’t imagine how it would feel, as my own parents have been together for 45 years and thankfully as much in love with each other as they were from the start.  Despite the headaches, the arguments and the strife that comes with such longevity, they are very much the model of what I see is a loving marriage, and I take inspiration from that.  In so many ways, no matter how much they might drive me crazy from time to time, they are still very much my heroes and I can’t imagine life without them in my skies.  But T & G were virtually orphaned at a young age, with a father who rejected custody out of some unknown reason, and a mother who was taken from them by a capricious whim of fate.

I have so many doubts right now on whether to continue writing.  I’ve tossed a grenade into the relationship with their true father, and placed doubts in their bond with their grandparents.  My talk with Georgia after she read “The Days” was illuminating to say the least.  There’s been so many lies and tales behind my disappearance, as apparently my sudden refusal to take the children was because I was in prison or something so mundane.  The kids always knew that I was close to their mom, but now know that I was so much more.  They had no idea about the restraining order, or that the sudden move to Montreal was inspired by the faint hope that She and I would finally get it right.   And now, they understand as well why their mom shared with them one little thing that comforted her, and myself, over the years…. our mutual love of lightning and thunder in the night.

The kids are adults now, and despite my doubts, they deserve now to know the hidden truths from all of these years.  But it’s a lot to take in… and I will speak with them again very soon.  They’re quite upset, and I want them to take a few days, weeks, months, or whatever time they need to absorb and process it all before we speak again.  Such an influx of truth can never be easy, and for that, I am so truly sorry to them.  But, as I told them, and it’s in the hope that my once friend will read this as well, as he is still their FATHER.  He was there when they took their first steps. When they said their first words.  The school plays and the soccer games.  I can’t fault him for a moment of weakness, and only feel gratitude for having the patience of Job.  It couldn’t have been easy to raise the kids, no matter how amazing they are, who were named after another man.  It definitely couldn’t have been easy to allow her decision to inexplicably raise the children Catholic, or have a reminder of past sorrows by naming me Godfather.  From what little I know right now, the kids have been loved, and cared for, and cherished as a loving father would.  I’m not the kids’ father.  I wasn’t there when it mattered, and I did the very same by not fighting for them when my time to step up had come regardless of legalities and battles.  I’m at best the distant uncle, but now he might well have to cope with my return.  I am grateful, and I hope we can settle on a truce for the sake of family.  I’ve known him for over 35 years, and we’ve both loved and suffered by these games of the heart.

One story is ending, but a new one has begun.  Welcome to the New Frontiers.

——————————
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

My (Left) Flank Steak, as inspired by Alberta politics

I’m a political junkie, and I’m proud of it.  I’m a small c conservative who loves the banter, the arguments, the manipulations and the games played in the seats of power.  I always followed the Canadian and the American political scene intensely with glee and utter fascination.

But admittedly, I never did follow Alberta politics until the last election when Ralph Klein left, making one of the most interesting contests ever in recent memory.  Just like every other Albertan, I was engrossed with the personalities involved, such as PC Leader (now Premier) Alison Redford, the energetic if political neophyte Danielle Smith, the ever determined Raj Sherman of the Liberals, and the one who piqued my interest despite a losing cause, Brian Mason of the NDP.

When considering that the NDP probably will be elected in Alberta maybe sometime in my great grandchildren’s lifetime (when oil has turned to god knows what), I have to admit that Brian Mason, has been doing an especially good job campaigning and fighting in the opposition for someone who is representing a party that is perpetually perceived as an underdog.

When he spoke, he came across as knowledgeable, feisty, a little hot tempered, and forceful to me, all good qualities for a leader.  I do applaud his work and, last year, before the election vote, I was inspired to make a dish based on what I saw in him for my Kingsland Farmer’s Market blog in 2012.

I asked among my friends for their take on him.  Fortunately for me, quite a few of those friends are as equally passionate about food as they are about politics.  With that in mind, I took a small poll.  First and foremost, I needed some sort of protein to represent Mr. Mason.  I automatically disqualified chicken, turkey and lamb.  Chicken and turkey definitely didn’t suit Mr. Mason’s style and was too much a bad joke as well.  Pork?  Nope, Mr. Mason was not piggish whatsoever.  And then, my left-leaning foodie friend Tracey metaphysically slapped me across the head with a spiritual trout, and reminded me that only Canadian, particularly Alberta BEEF will do (hey take a look at their site for some awesome ideas! http://www.beefinfo.org).

Ok, that was that, but then what?  Was there a particular cut that would be right?  He just didn’t strike me as a Prime Rib kinda guy.  Ribs was a possibility, because as the leader of the 4th place party, I’m sure he had to have taken some political punches to the chest.  But   then it struck me, only FLANK steak will do.  Tough on the outside (before cooked of course), yet when treated well, becomes tender as well.  And in strategic terms, I like the notion that a leader, who debates from the left, maybe even the left FLANK (?), would be well represented.

Ok, now the cut was chosen.  How to pick the rest…. and with memories of the hot, passionate debates of the late NDP leader Jack Layton and the party colours, I decided that the orange Habanero pepper would be perfect.  But, I can’t have it TOO hot, or else I would roast those who would dare this recipe alive.  And with that, and also to complement the orange Habanero with the something sweet that would proudly show the NDP colours, roasted Orange bell peppers.  Perfect… and without further ado… may I introduce to you all, and to Mr. Brian Mason, honorable leader of the Alberta NDP, my homage dish to him.  The Brian Mason Hot Left-Flank Steak with a Grilled Orange Pepper Mix and White Rice.  To all of you Lefties, Righties, and hopefully the fun people at the http://www.eatwriteretreat.com will get a chance to enjoy it!

What you would need:

Serves about 3-4, takes about 12 min or so to prep, but at least 9 hours to prepare.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼  red onion, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 SMALL habanero chili pepper and dice it as best you can
  • 1 tbls fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup diced cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbls honey
  • ½ olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin)
  • 1 ¼ pounds flank steak (Hoven Meats have a wonderful flank steak btw, hint hint)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The night before, grab the Flank steak, and with a hammer or heavy flat object (I use my heavy iron frying pan, “Mr. Softee” personally because the larger surface can get all of the meat evenly) and pound it a few times on both sides.  Don’t do it TOO many times, because you just want to tenderize the meat, not break it apart, not unlike a coalition government.

Add the garlic, onion, lime juice, jalapeno, thyme, cilantro, oil, and honey and blend it in a bowl or a blender until everything is well mixed together, just like the left wing of the opposition.

Marinate the flank steak with 1/2 of the puree in a resealable plastic bag at least 9-10 in the refrigerator. Reserve the rest of the puree to use later as a sauce.  This MUST be done.  Not only will the meat absorb the flavor, but most importantly, the marinate will tenderize the steak even more.  Here’s some great tips on how to grill a marinated steak from Canadian Beef!


When ready to cook, take the steak out onto a plate, and let it rest an hour before serving.

Preheat a grill to a medium fire and cut the orange bell peppers into slices.

Just before you’re about to toss the steak into the fire, add some sea salt, and normally cook the flank to medium-rare.  I find that cooking this cut to well-done will pretty much turn the flank steak into a well marinated piece of leather.   A rule of thumb?  4 minutes per side is about right.  Add the bell peppers as well on the side (or wherever on your grill that you have enough space)

Let the meat rest for a few min just to let the juices flow.  Grill the peppers until it starts to char a little.  This will release the natural sugars in the peppers, and make them sweeter than just plain ol’ peppers.

Once all the blood has stopped, start to slice the steak against the grain into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices, and brush or pour the remaining marinade over the meat.

The Days Before Tomorrow … An Afterword

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” -Richard Bach

My deepest thanks to all who took the time to read the tale of the mess my first love and I made of the last 29 years.  I’m glad that I seem to have touched quite a few of you with the events of Her, and the coming meeting with my son and daughter, in spirit if not biologically.  And yes (and this is how I knew that I would touch someone with my words), the last 2 entries were probably the hardest pieces I ever had to write in my life, and there’s been a few tears on my own as my wife, WK can attest to.

Last night, Georgia texted me.  She had read it all and I think she’s probably a little shell shocked right now.  Through my words, she has just found out the bitter circumstances to my sudden departure and the reality that in a different world, they were supposed to be my kids.  Being an 18 yr old girl, I’m not quite sure how she will digest all this, or Terry for that matter.

We’re going to talk tomorrow night. What will happen after, I leave it to them with my blessing and advice if desired.  WK is definately worried for me, as these circumstances are in deep uncharted territory that we can’t guess on what can or will happen.  She’s wise beyond her years, but in this, she’s speechless.

And yes, I am afraid to lose them again.  Terrified actually. So this is what a taste of parenthood is like.

Fortes Fortuna Juvat.  Fortune Favours the Bold.

———————-
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow … Epilogue and Answers

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” – Unknown

“Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” – Dylan Thomas

“Together forever, never apart. Maybe in distance, but never in heart.” – Unknown

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” – Charles R. Swindoll

You’ve read my tale, of first love, loss and so much more. She was the first girl I ever truly loved, and she has made so many fundamental changes to my outlook on life.

I’m writing this entry to answer a few questions that I never really answered well to myself. Questions like, why didn’t I leave with her all those years ago. Why didn’t I rejoin her when the chance came back. Why didn’t I fight for her legacy harder. I can’t answer really. But it was in those questions that I found that She taught me a lot in so many ways.

Never take love for granted. Never take the time you spend with the ones you love lightly. Be careful with what you might say to those you care for. Approach life with flair when you can, for fortune does favor the bold. And the one precious gift she gave me that I hold most dearly, how to savor the thunder and the lightning, in it’s purest form in the night skies.

In the here and now, I’m happy with my wife, and I love her dearly. But she notices the ghosts behind my eyes from time to time, and the profound sadness and wondering that envelops my heart and mind in this matter. There are other answers to those questions… answers that might make the ghosts fade. But as She is gone now 9 years, and with what you’ve read, I’ve never had my chance to properly mourn her. Those ghosts will always be there in one way or another. And in all honesty, I’ve lived with them for so long that I don’t know if I can ever conceive of a time without. But there’s hope now… for the first time in almost a decade, there’s hope.

Very soon, I’m going to be back in Vancouver, for the first time since the restraining order had expired. T is 21 now. G is 18. I have not been a part of their lives for over 9 years, 11 years or so if you add the time that I hadn’t seen them in person and had only sent gifts and calls of love and encouragement.

In all of these years, I have not had the chance to tell them about my memories of their beautiful mom, and how I have to keep quiet on how much I wanted to be their father. When they last saw me, they saw me from the eyes of children, and now they’re almost as old as she and I were when this tale became something twisted and strange.

Last Christmas, they found me. We spoke, and talked, as they did haltingly and rushed and confused and filled with millions of questions and with no answers to call from. It was quick, it wasn’t much, and we haven’t spoken much since. They were calling from their dad’s place, and in a few brief moments, years of walls came crashing down. Years of stories, and myths and questions of smoke and mirrors, all brought to a crashing halt in the discovery of a few letters. There’s probably a few shadows still in place, as there will always be some secrets of Her’s and mine that I will carry to my grave.

Once, long ago, I found my dear friend Karen E. once again through a friend of hers who found the newspaper ads I placed all over Cleveland. You can read that tale, Serendipity and Valentine’s Day, as it was the first entry of this blog. But, that would have never happened , if I hadn’t learned the value of being bold from my 1st love. And just as Serendipity and Fate had played with my life then, it seems that Fate has decided to intervene again.

Not long ago, G found the notes I wrote her mom in high school. G was graduating, and she went through her mom’s storage to wear something to keep close to her heart. She found my ring, my Loyola High class ring, attached to a selection of notes I wrote.

G told me how much both her and her brother had missed me, but were too young to understand why I left them so cruelly after their mom died. I don’t know the full extent of the stories told about me, but I’m getting the impression they weren’t flattering. But more importantly, she shared to T my many letters of love, and they both understand how it was supposed to be, but not how the reality came to be. It’s in writing this, this story of love and anger, obsession, passion and hatred, of deep loss and sorrow, and most importantly through it all, how I loved her as she did me despite it all.

To T & G, as you read this all, I truly hope you understand the choices and the decisions that has come to this moment. I’ve written this all, maybe to help exorcise some ghosts from my mind, to remind me of your mom, or even as an exercise in ego perhaps, but really, I’ve actually written this for you two. I never wanted to leave you. You were supposed to be my children, born of two who were as entwined and fundamental as lightning and thunder. Don’t be upset with your dad or your grandparents, as they were only trying to protect you both and I hold no grudge. But remember, I have always loved you both as if you were my own.

In June, I will be paddling with the Red Eyes Paddling Club in Vancouver. I will spend 2 1/2 days there in my chosen athletic passion with a group of people who I care deeply for as both friends and family.

But on that first night back to Vancouver, the first … tomorrow after so many lost and wasted days, I won’t be with them. T & G will be waiting for me at the airport for answers.

And I will be there.

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Writer’s Note 12/2013: I wrote these words in April 2013, an emotional time to say the least, with no small amount of tears between myself, Terry and Georgia when we finally reunited in June 2013. It’s an ongoing saga now under “The New Frontiers”, and I invite you all to continue on my exploration with my new family. On Christmas 2013, I will be writing a special update, of events that change everything once more.

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

The Days Before Tomorrow … Pt. 4

“I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, I can’t do anything to change events anyway.”   – Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl    

“After all, how often do we get a second chance?”  – Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

“No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.”   – Carroll Bryant

“She’s still in love with that f***** and did this to hurt him.”

“They’re divorced.”

Those words bounced around in my head as I sat there reading the divorce papers again and again.  This mad game had taken a whole new dimension, and I found myself in familiar territory once again in matters of Her, namely utterly confused and stunned once more. A few years of peace had gone by, so I shouldn’t have been particularly surprised that the past was returning to haunt me again.

A few hours later, She called me, a little afraid, a little meek.  The voice of the confident woman determined to keep me close had changed to that of a small little girl, one unsure of herself and her world.  This divorce had been in process for months, even years, and she had struggled to find the right time to tell me.  We spoke a little bit then cut it off as we both needed to process the news.  But despite it all, we avoided the elephant in the room, that for the first time since the whole mess began, the two of us were effectively single.

A few more months went by, and we spoke haltingly at best.  I really didn’t know what to think, and she was still embarrassed about her choices all of this time.  Worse, being across country, there really wasn’t too much either of us could do at the time.  She had a home with 2 kids and family on the west coast.  I had a job, and my own friends and family on the east, but realistically speaking, I could have left pretty much any time.  Why didn’t I?  I would probably say pride, or hurt or work or all of these things.  But I think the real reason was pettiness.  All of these years that she struck back again and again out of my emotional break, I didn’t have the same deep feelings as I once did… or maybe just buried those feelings out of a survival instinct.  The marriage.  The kids.  Being a godfather.  Seeing the mess unfold in front of my eyes.  Each and every act made was like a dagger to me, and they cut deep.  Could we have forgiven each other and made the right decision for once?  I personally strive every day to be a better person… even a little bit more.  But after 20 years of trying to hurt one another out of love of all things, I just didn’t know if I had it in me.  I had felt tired, and needed a change from the whole mess (plus I was deep in another one with a redhead (my weakness) I was kinda dating in Ottawa), so I took a job with a company in Ottawa.

I think the Fates must’ve been laughing their asses off that day.  At that exact same weekend when I moved into Ottawa, I got a surprise call on my cell from Her…. from MONTREAL.  While I was unsure of my feelings, she had not.  I had been essentially her one true love and had worked behind the scenes to moving back to La Belle Province.  So secretly, She took on a new job at McGill University as a researcher, and had been preparing to move back with the kids for a year try out.  She had taken a leave of absence from her work, quietly found a place and a school for the kids, set up the essentials for her family, and then once she thought she was ready, calmly made her call.

This definately wasn’t a moment of Serendipity, or even Irony… just pure tragedy I believe.  She called my cell to my still-Montreal number, and surprised me with the news.  No, not surprise, I would say absolutely and totally shocked me.  It started with a cheery hope to meet that night, to renew, talk and reevaluate our situations, and her absolute desire to be my wife.  I was just dumbfounded, and let her talk on and on, of her regrets, her loneliness through all the years, how much she missed my words of encouragement and mutual attraction, and how we finally had a chance to make everything right.  My first real words shattered her heart once more.  I told her that I was now in Ottawa on contract, and how I didn’t have the option to return.  I told her that I still cared for her, but I had so many many doubts about us ever coming back.  I told her that I still cared for her, but I wasn’t sure if I could be her husband.  And to the sound of her tears and sorrow, I asked her to give me a little time to think about it.  We would talk many times later over other issues with the kids, and to give me time to get used to possibly being their dad by having them stay with me for a few weeks.  We talked about her dad and mom, and about her new job.  But I never could have known that one conversation was the very last one I would ever talk to her about our feelings.

In March 2004, She was killed.  It was a car accident by a drunk driver.  It was quick and sudden, stupid, senseless, and she never had a chance. 

In April 2004, I was busy looking for a summer day camp for the kids, as I had been transferred by work to Calgary of all places.  At least in Ottawa, it was close to Montreal, and I had all sorts of resources to draw upon thanks to being a true son, although Asian, of Montreal.  As such, I didn’t really know my new city all that much at the time.

I was supposed to take them in July for a few weeks, and given my work schedule at the time, I had decided on putting them through day camp so I could spend the early mornings and evenings with T & G.  I was researching amusement parks, theme parks, trips to Banff, Medicentres for emergencies, food recipes and the 1,001 little things that I needed to know to make sure the kids would be fine and have an awesome time with me.  They had never spent more than a few days at a time with me, and definately never actually lived with me, so I was trying to do my best to be ready for them.  I was still unsure of my feelings for her, but I knew that those two were in so many ways, my kids, and there was nothing I wouldn’t do for them.  What I didn’t expect was a lawyer coming into my computer shop instead.

It was bright and sunny.  A Chinook was going through the city bringing us a stunningly hot day.  The air was strong, though a bit acrid.  But overall, it was a day full of promise and light.  To me, that’s how it started, but the rest of the day was dark and forsaken.  This man entered my store, and gave me a letter explaining why his presence.  The woman I loved with all my heart was dead, and our future together was now comprised of ashes.   I didn’t even read any further until he asked me simply, when would I be ready to accept the children.

I really didn’t understand anything at all, but as she had full custody, and that I was both official godfather and appointed guardian should something happen to BOTH parents, I was to receive the kids.  As He had not contested custody at all originally but still alive and well, some legal twist had awarded me custody.  Suddenly, all of that research became even more important, as I was now their father though I really didn’t understand how if He was still alive.  I always thought that his natural parental rights superseded any legal ones I might have had.  Why’d I have to be so right?

Only 2 days later, I was proven right.  Her dad walked into my shop, calm yet you could practically feel the air aflame with his silent fury.  Since her death, her parents had stayed in Montreal to care for the kids and to settle her affairs.  They had viewed this whole mess up close over the years, and probably never forgave themselves for agreeing to my mad breakup schemes, and never forgave me for being the man their daughter wanted.   He spoke calmly, yet precise in his intentions.  The kids were to return to their custody, and eventually be reunited with their dad.  I was supposed to agree to it, as I didn’t stand a chance legally, and they would spend their last dollar to bankrupt and ruin me if I fought.  That meeting me had destroyed their daughter, and ruined all of their lives.

I listened to all of this, speechless, with only sorrow and guilt overwhelming my being in every way that mattered.  I asked for a day, to absorb all of this and to ponder.  He granted it, sure in the righteousness of his position, left and told me he’d be back the following day.  I made a few calls, to lawyers and friends to get their take on the matter.  And in the end, they all agreed with me with what I knew myself was true.  The father was still alive, of good character, with the support of his parents and her parents.  I had the help of my own friends and family, but I couldn’t in good conscience bankrupt my family in a foregone conclusion.

The following day, I met her father in a cafe.  He already had a lawyer waiting with him, and I signed away my parental rights once and forever.  I broke my last link to her, and broke my promise to always protect her kids.  And to add insult to injury, they imposed a 5 year restraining order on me.  I was to never contact the kids again or even be able to approach her grave.  In a few days, I had lost my first love, and then lost our kids as well.

End of Part Four.   Epilogue to follow.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers