The Days Before Tomorrow. 30 Years Later and a Call to Action

It’s now 11 years and a week or so since she passed, and now 30 years since that fateful summer when we first met. That special relationship put myself and her children on a path that I never could have foreseen.

Though lovers be lost

Though lovers be lost. I never forgot this poem as it always reminded me of her.

I haven’t written much about the kids this year, especially as I’ve only seen them twice. As I’ve explained, they’re not mine through blood or law, but they are of my heart nevertheless. In every way that truly matters to me and to them, we are family, and they’ve taught me so much about how it is to be a proud father.

Terry completed his stage in Las Vegas, and then extended it, and then extended it once again. He’s on leave of absence from culinary school now, simply because he was encouraged to travel and learn under some of the best in the culinary world. He’s in England, doing a stage on a culinary level that simply stuns me. There are no words I can express to describe the heights he will achieve.

Georgia is in year 2 studying law, the very degree her own mother couldn’t complete due to the events long ago. In a moment of face palm humor and frustration, she continues to show the stubbornness, passion and brilliance that her mom possessed. You see, she introduced to me her new boyfriend, another Chinese kid who I swear resembles me a little. But this time, he seems to genuinely love her, and they met through the same law program. Of course, I warned him as a father to take good care of her or else, but he already knew better than to upset her. She’s going to be brilliant, but I admittedly look forward to see her walk the aisle in a white dress.

Every Dad's Dream

Every Dad’s Dream

But that’s not the purpose of this blog, and why I returned to the Days. The real story is why that chance meeting 30 years ago continues to guide my life even now.

As you’ve probably read, I’m running for office now. I wasn’t planning to, but I discovered that I had to. There’s the classic saying, “All it takes for Evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” But while I subscribe to such dramatic thoughts, I believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it far better:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve always tried to be a defender for others. I see that the highest aspiration of a person is to serve his or her fellow citizen and found that the problems we see in life is very often rooted in silence. I simply want to serve my city, my home and make it just a little better each day, and to speak out to hopefully inspire others to act and do the same.

Now, I have a chance to serve and make a real difference on a great scale. There are so many causes that matter to me. Education. Equality rights. The future of Calgary. Small business. My friends and family. So many and more… and to make a difference, I choose to stop being someone who spoke from the audience into someone who wants to speak truth to power. This truly unique opportunity has come up, an invitation to run for office and have a voice where it matters.

Why am I standing up for what I believe in, when others could have been content from the sidelines? It was Terry who inspired me. He took the chance and had the bravery to come out to me, telling me a truth where so many other children found themselves ostracized, beaten, abused or even banished as my friend, photographer Kelly Hofer. With this decision, he showed me what true bravery was, and why I fight now.

One summer long ago, my first love and I kissed. It was a cheeky french kiss at a time where I was helpless while pretending to demonstrate mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. It was a kiss full of mischief, joy and bold acts of young love and sweet moments. It put me on a path, through her legacy, that guided me to this moment of perfect clarity and the bravery to act.

The First Kiss

The First Kiss

To my wife, my friends, my city, the people of Calgary-Glenmore, and the bravery of a young man who I love as my own son, I dedicate myself to serve, to inspire others, and most importantly, I choose to lead. I am Terry Lo, a dreamer fighting to make a great Calgary into reality, and I want to be your MLA.  And this is a call to action to all, and I beg of you to stop being neutral or silent. Help me, be brave and stand up and act.

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The Story of the Days Before Tomorrow and the Children

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

The Days Before Tomorrow, The 10th Anniversary of Her Passing

Adventures in the Spy Biz: Reflection on the Final Days

Seven years. I’ve been involved in the Spy business for 7 years, and it comes to a relative end in 2 weeks.

Image

Always watching through the windows when you least expect it

In 7 years, I’ve been involved in at least 4-5 police investigations involving murder, assault or kidnappings. I’ve assisted in a number of child abuse cases, or at least made it possible for the parent to do the work themselves. I’ve helped prevent at least 2 child abductions, and helped family members find out if their son or daughter was into drugs, planning secret parties or being cyber-bullied. As for infidelity or other stuff, I can’t even begin to count the number of cases I’ve either directly or indirectly been involved in.

In the end, as my time here comes to an end (not 100% immediately, I’ll still do the odd case or two or assist with my successor to complete existing contracts that started in my time), I wonder what did I learn?

Well, the first thing is… unless you work for a corporation or contracted to one, it’s not exactly the most glamorous job in the world. For every interesting case involving police work, there are 10 jobs involving husbands or wives cheating. It’s not so much James Bond as it’s the cheekier side of Magnum PI. In my last entry under “Adventures”, there tended to be a lot of times that would involve long hours watching a hotel or sneaking around a place in the middle of the night to plant tracking devices, cameras and the like.

Next, you find out that Hollywood has completely misconstrued everything to be a world where there are tracking devices the size of sugar cubes that work around the world and need absolutely zero power. For example, those wireless portable cameras that Lisbeth uses in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. How the hell did those cameras operate? Battery power on wireless cameras work for a matter of HOURS, not days, not weeks as suggested. If they applied the real rules, then the cameras would have run out of power long ago and her journalist friend would have been murdered. There’s Hollywood, and the laws of physics. I would bet on those laws every day. One special note though, the tools and the gear has improved a lot though, even from when I first started my work.

Finally, there’s always an anterior motive. It doesn’t matter who and what case, there always is one. I won’t comment on the Police ones out of respect to the inspectors who have a hard enough time as it is, but there have been too many cases from other Private Investigators and the public at large to not have seen this. I’ve found that without knowing that motive, a client’s case would linger for weeks, even months. I’ve had cases go for over 5 years because I was directed to look in one direction without knowing the other. Sure they pay well, but you just want to have the closure eventually.

So, as my time comes soon to an end, I wonder, was it worth it? I know that a huge chunk of my soul has been bruised in ways that I can never describe. The look of horror of that woman when she found out how her child was being drugged. The knowledge that no matter what I do, often the client refuses to help themselves and endure unspeakable abuse. The regular disappointments by occasional clients that despite retrieving what they needed, they lack the courage to take it that last step. But in the end, I think yes. Despite what my family and friends who disapproved of the job, in the end, I can honestly say that I was in a position to help far more than most. That’ll be the thought that will follow me.

But if I’m so melancholy of the time I spent as a spy of sorts, how did I manage for so long? People in Calgary know me as a social media person, a regarded foodie and Calgary booster. That description probably fits me well, but little do people know that all of this wasn’t just me being a particularly involved with things, it was my life line. While the infidelity stuff can be funny, more often than not, it was simply tragic. It’s a world where there are legions of broken hearts, misplaced anger and residual damage in the lives any children involved. I needed the social media world, a dynamic arena of minds and spirits the world over to keep me engaged with the brighter parts of life. I needed to be a foodie, not simply because I truly enjoy good food and the passions involved with cooking, but to give me a means to brighten the horizons of others through the simple communion of a shared meal. As for being a Calgary booster, that was easy. For every one case I dealt with, there were 100 Calgarians making the lives of one another a better place. If anything, the people of Calgary bring me hope that there are happy families out there, lovers enjoying the simple joys and artists creating art and music. To this incredible city, thank you, and I promise to continue to serve.

The New Frontiers: Repeats, Reunions and Restorations…

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive. It’s pretty dense kids who haven’t figured that out by the time they’re ten…. Most kids can’t afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.”  ― Kurt Vonnegut

Before I go on, I’m still not going to post any pics for the foreseeable future.  Outside of their first names, I want the kids to still have a measure of privacy.  I am writing this with their full knowledge and permission, but I am now trying to be a little more restrained due to circumstances.

Well, it’s happened.  I’ve met my “kids”, and in all honesty, I still don’t know what to think.  The first meeting I had in mind kinda went awry, as WestJet inexplicably flew well over 90+ minutes late.  Add processing and the rest, and my late but still ok 9-something pm landing suddenly became one that happened a little before midnight.  Needless to say, by the time I I got out of the gates, the kids were absolutely exhausted.  Given that Terry had to get back for lunch and dinner service in Whistler the next day, the meeting I wanted to have with them both together pretty much was blown out of the water.  Georgia just went home, and we would find a time to later meet.

Terry

Terry stayed over in Vancouver that night, and met me for a pretty early 6:30am breakfast in a Chinese café-bakery.  (By the way, highly recommend New Town Bakery on E Hastings, it was simple, inexpensive, hot and simply rocked.)  In the brief hour or so that we talked, he was simply a joy.  Obviously a child of the 00’s, his Star Wars was Anakin Skywalker and the Clone Wars.  Linkin Park was his Sting and the Police and he never even heard of The Doctors 1 thru 8.  He’s bright, analytical and determined to be a chef no matter what.  He’ll make it, I have no doubt.  But he’s also a little awkward socially.  His focus on his craft has made him appear to be a little cold, even aloof to an extent.  Still, once you do get to know him, you can’t help but respect him.

Georgia

On Saturday, I had went out to meet an old friend I had never met face to face in 15 years.  It was fun, exciting and a grand old trot down memory lane.  But as all good things, it had to end a little early as I had promised a friend to pick up some Dragon’s Beard Candy from the Richmond Night Market.  On my way there, I noticed a text from Georgia, who was already there and we agreed to meet.

Remember, until this weekend, all of my communications with the kids have been entirely on the phone or via the net.  Everyone has a persona they assume online, whether it be one that’s daring, brave, meek or silent.  But in person… ah, there’s the rub.  The cute little 8 yr old girl I remember is a very different 18 year old girl, and one that I bet her mom would have tore her hair out over.

It’s not that Georgia is a bad girl, or some wild child who drives parents to drink.  It’s that she’s so very much her mother’s daughter.  I see so much of my old love in her, and so many of the special qualities that made me so charmed and enamoured even now over 3 decades.

Georgia is smart and clever, quick witted and open.  She is a caring, loving blossoming woman who you can’t help but fall in love with from the start.  She keeps the same insane schedule that her mom did at this age, with most of her days already prescheduled weeks to months in advance.  It’s that drive that made her mom such a star to UBC, and when properly focused, will make Georgia a contender in the days to come.  The problem is that just like her mom, she wears her heart on her sleeve, and is incredibly pig headed.  Terry told me that once she’s made a decision, it takes a small miracle to make her reconsider.  Like me, she has a flair for the dramatic, and makes life changing decisions at a whim as she will follow her heart.  And more importantly, she has a sense of justice based on her own beliefs and is quite willing to defends those decisions to the death.

Unfortunately, this has led her to three decisions that I wonder how much came from me (somehow) and how much came from my old love.

– After reading “The Days” and finding out so many things about her bio dad, and my deep unusual relationship with her mom, she’s stopped talking to him now altogether.  She assures me that she came to this decision herself, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve traumatized her with the truth.  Problem is that, what choice did I really have as well?  I wasn’t about to lie to protect the false reasons why I was abandoned the kids after the death of their mom, or my complicated feelings for her even after all of these years.  Nevertheless, it’s been months since she has had more than a 3 word conversation with her dad, and I feel so horribly personally responsible for this.

– She’s about to get married in a few months, about the same age when my old love and I had once considered the future together.  Worse, it looks like her taste in men is about the same.  Her fiance was working at the Richmond Night Market (hense the timing), and he’s CHINESE.

– She’s asked ME to be the one to give her away.  She sees it as things going full circle, and that I was supposed to be her dad.  I am honored that she asked me, but it feels quite honestly wrong in a lot of ways.  I don’t deserve this pedestal.  I was with her mom in a quasi lost love relationship for over 7 years. Her real dad raised her for most of her 18 years.  He has cared for her, loved her, and sacrificed so much for her that I can never ever repay.  This is his spot, and his honour not mine.

Now let’s get back to where this mess is about to lead.  I’m not going to comment much on her fiance for now, since I really don’t know the guy at all.  All I know is that he’s from Shanghai, studied in western schools and is 24 years old. I have no idea if he’s getting his citizenship, or if he’s even a landed immigrant.  He speaks english with a bit of an british / chinese accent, and apparently works at that market on the weekends.  He seems to genuinely care for Georgia, but I can’t get over the fact that they started seeing one another only months ago…. and now marriage???

I haven’t had time to really think this all through, but this feels so wrong.  I’m trying to respect her decision, but now I think I have to be her father to try to talk sense as she’s presently lacking one right now.  She won’t talk to me at all abotu how her dad is, and what are his thoughts.  I’m actually a bit surprised that he even let Georgia move out at this age for that matter, assuming he even had a choice.

I’ve gotten advice from a few friends here and there, but I still have to think for now. I can tell already that my wife is going to have some problems with Georgia, which is another consideration I’m will have to factor in. So many lives, so intertwined in the decisions I soon will have to make, and all from a single desperate moment based on an ill-conceived haphazard plan. Wow. If there is some sort of afterlife, I can just imagine my old love just looking on in total puzzlement and disappointment.

But there is one thing for certain… I promised someone special and dear to me that I would always be there to strive to be their father, mentor and friend.  I promised her that I would always be there to try to guide them on a path that would find them their own happiness, and to avoid the mistakes that my old love and I made that will always haunt me.

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” – Margo Channing, All About Eve

The New Frontiers: Courage, Children, Comical Circumstances and Catastrophes

It’s been weeks since I touched on the aftermath events since writing the Days Before Tomorrow.  Where I left off, the kids and I had made arrangements to meet at the airport on Friday the 21st where they can finally have a chance to see their would be father, or at least what they once called cool Uncle Terry.  Weeks since I gave the kids the total story of the events that led to their mother falling in love with me, and the catastrophic reactions that has led to the very unusual circumstances we all find ourselves today.

Since then, the countdown has only become smaller.  Time has creeped up on all of us, and there’s only scant days left before I see my kids again.  And yes, I still see and believe them in so many ways to be at least partly mine.  As I learn more about them, I see so much of their mother in them, and how she must have tried to inject a bit of me into them despite genetics and distance.

T is 20 (almost 21 soon), and he’s studying to be a chef.  To put it bluntly, their mom was never a particularly good cook admittedly.  She was skilled in so many ways, such as a keen analytical mind, great dexterity on the volleyball court and a musicality on the piano and cello that had to be seen to be believed.  One of my fondest memories in fact, is when we just quietly played a musical duet with her cello and my flute in a Montreal park one night.

Their dad has a great mind for organization, but he’s not much of a cook himself.  But I’ve been a foodie and home cook every since my teens, and I’m betting that T’s own skills and goals must have been in some way influenced by their mom and me.

G is studying to go to law school.  She possesses an empathy that goes well beyond her young years, and an equally keen mind that can bring truth from shadows with laser like precision.  I’m getting close to her in many ways, as I’ve always wanted a daughter of my own, and I’ve inspired her to follow and complete the footsteps her mother started all those years ago.  My first love never did finish that law degree, and I hope that G can finish that path, or if not that one, then any path that finds her happiness and love.

But my wife was right in one thing… I should have said a bit less when I wrote the Days.  I was so concerned to give the kids the full story, that I didn’t give a proper analysis of the consequences.

Damn.   I really am rusty as an economist.  A good economist can find trends and patterns in the present and the past, and recommend a course of action.  A great economist can take that same data, recommend a course, but also predict the unknown results to the best of anyone’s ability and be ready for the consequences.  I once thought I might’ve had the basics to be a great one, but not having used those mental muscles for so long, I guess I’m just a 1/2 decent one.  Where the heck does all this past paragraph fit in?  Well….

The kids have stopped talking to their dad and their grandmother.  Those two found out that 2 of the pillars of their family life was partially built on lies, and have taken it out on their dad.  They didn’t know about the no contest over custody when their mom and dad divorced.  They didn’t know about the restraining order about me.  That and the whole story on how she and I loved and lost… and they’ve had a LOT to think about over the months.

It probably also didn’t help much that I told the both of them to take their time and try to focus on school and so on.  Both of them had this burden of truth placed upon them just before school finals and so on, which was bad timing on my part.  But now that’s all done, and we’re about to enter a new adventure.

Where am I?  Terrified really.  I’ve loved these two ever since their mom made me their godfather (despite my relatively near total lack in faith strangely enough).  What if I’m not what they envisioned me to be?  Despite the blog and calls, at the end, they still fundamentally have the mind’s image of me from the viewpoint of a 11 yr old boy and a 8 yr old girl.   Do I have a place in their lives?  Do I even have a right to even BE in their lives?  So many doubts, and so many fears and worries.  But I broke my promise to their mom once to be a part of their lives and to be like a father to them.  This is my second chance… and whether they want it or not is entirely up to them.

So with that all now mentioned, I’m going to be a bit self-indulgent and write the following directly to T&G:

Kids. I’m not your dad. I wanted to be your dad, but it just wasn’t to be.  You HAVE a dad.  He was there when you first spoke, your first steps, and your first McD Happy Meal.  Despite a lapse in judgement, he loves you both deeply and has been there and raised you where I couldn’t.  So cut the guy a break, please?  Forgive him?  Because in the end, no matter what, he’s your true family who has looked over you and protected you over your entire lives.  And I will always thank him for that.  Today of all days, FATHER’S DAY, it’s a good day to mend these fences and be a family again.  This is your cool Uncle Terry ordering you and I’ll bribe ya with sushi if it helps the process (kidding… the sushi’s mine… you can have a Japadog though). 

Remember, your mom did love him, as much as she did me.  And you two wonderful kids are the results of that love.  I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of even a moment of your growth, but it’s in large part due to him.  I love you both, and see you soon, but give him a call now or I’ll kick your asses in the airport.  Love, Terry

Ok, as for those of you following this saga… more to follow very very soon.

Fortes Fortuna Juvat.  Fortune Favours the Bold. Wish me luck.

How NOT to Hide from Your Mom in the Morning

Hi all, sorry I haven’t written in the last 2 weeks or so, but I’ve been insanely busy with YYC Burger Week!  It’s a new food event that the fabulous Sabahat Naureen thought up, and enlisted myself and her fiancé Chris, that involved 16 top grade restaurants, all locally owned and operated and dedicated to local food sourcing.  Those 16 had offered a $15 burger platter, of which $1 went to an assigned charity.  We’re still tallying up the money, but it looks like over 5000 burgers were sold, and probably over $6000 was raised for 8 great charities, and we had gotten a TON of press.  The restaurants all reported a boost in business, the charities had gotten more exposure, and the 3 of us had a chance to give back to the Calgary community.  All in all, being our first year, it was a great success!  I’ll write a blog post soon enough about the whole event, so others can see what we did to make their own event.

But in the meantime, back to the blog.  There’s more news about my “kids“, and the reunion is 1 month, 1 week away.  That’ll be the next entry of the “New Frontiers“, and then a new piece on “What To Do When Trust is Gone” based on my adventures in the spy biz.    But before I get back to those tales, here’s a fond embarrassing memory for younger days….

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I was in my 20s, and living at home at the time.  I was dating a gal I met at McGill U, Fahima E., and it was looking pretty serious.  It had been a few years since the wedding from hell and I was comfortable to be dating seriously again.

She had started to spend her nights at my house, and would sleep in the guest room in the basement.  I would usually sleep in my room, but … every so often, we would sneak to each other’s room to sleep together.  And yes, I mean sleep, as we simply liked each other’s company a lot and if you’re making any other assumptions, that’s entirely up to you. 🙂

Of course though, mom and dad, as modern western minded as they are, there were still a few conventions they would follow, or at least liked to have the illusion of following.  One of those is that if there ain’t a ring on each other’s finger, you don’t stay together in the same bedroom.   Yes, it’s a bit prudish in the modern world, but you do have to admit it’s kinda cute as well.

Well, one late night after classes, we both came up fairly late to a dark home.  Everyone was asleep, and Fahima and I went off to bed.  I quietly closed my own bedroom door, making it look like I was asleep in my room, and she and I went to the guest room (as it was a double bed).  We promptly passed out and that was that…. until the morning.

Now I’m normally a bit of a light sleeper in the AM, while Fahima was not.  The vent system in my old Montreal home only made that trait of mine worse, as I usually can hear conversations in other rooms pretty well.  This was no different, as I was slumbering, I suddenly heard my parents up and about and talking about going to some event later in the day.

My first thought… dammit, they’re up and there’s no way for me to get to my room without being seen.  Usually, this wouldn’t be a problem as they would rarely wake me up, and would go about on their business in the morning and leave the house.  But when I heard the words, “event”, my mind instantly calculated 2+2 together and came up with “freakin’ hell”.  You see, my mom has so many dresses and coats and what not, that she often stored a lot of her favorite dresses in either of the two guest room closets or a 3rd closet in the basement.  So what could I do then?  I knew that escape was impossible, as I had only seconds to act. So with escape not an option, my tiny reptile mind went into survival “hide” mode.  I leaped right into one closet, and took my chances.  There was a 33 1/3 % I would be discovered, and started looking to the gods above for salvation (ok, I wasn’t an atheist back then admittedly).

Then, as mom entered the basement and approached the guest room door, I heard her tell my father, “I need my red dress with the flower design.”  Well, I quickly looked around and voila… there it was next to me.  I started to mentally curse the gods for their sense of humour, and heard the door of the guest room door open.

Mom was a little surprised to open the door and found Fahima unconscious in bed, but then said “Oh, excuse me,” and not missing a beat, walked straight to the closet where I was hiding in.  Giving in to the inevitable, I took the dress off the rack, and when the closet doors slid open, there I was, only in my briefs, and quietly presented her with her dress.

Now the look and surprise on her face was priceless admittedly.  She was startled, but I think she had a sense of humour about the event.  She looked at me exactly the same way a mom would look disapprovingly at bad behaviour, while I was beet red, embarrassed, and looked like I had just been caught with my hand in the cookie jar all the while standing in a closet with Fruit of the Loom briefs.  Mom then took the dress, had that odd smirk, and closed the closet door on me.  She walked out, and I just stood there in the cold, dark closet stunned.

It was a lot like this...

It was a lot like this…

Now I don’t know what she may have told my dad at the time, or if she said nothing, but we never spoke of it since.  I had to admire her sense of restraint and discretion.  It was another of those Terryism moments that I’m so prone to in my soap opera life, and as I look back, it was one of those funny memories that I’ll always love about her.  Thanks mom for the giggles.

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 3

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” – William Congreve

“Hatred ever kills, love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.” – Gandhi

“I was born when you kissed me, I died when you left me, I lived a few weeks while you loved me.” – Humphrey Bogart

In all of my wildest dreams, I never saw that coming. We were close in so many ways, even though we weren’t a typical couple over the years. But, it was because we weren’t a normal couple that I had made my mistake in thinking that this was something that could be solved in a sudden dramatic fashion. To put it mildly, I was stunned, and remained so for the 2 or so hours where they both told me how they fell in love, how they both felt guilty about me, how they wanted me in their lives no matter the distance and more. To them, I was now family, like the happy go-lucky brother. In all honesty, I felt a bit like I had created a bizarre version of Frankenstein’s Monster, one that was now coming for my blood for the sin of brutal creation.

So I played the game a little further and served as their Best Man, and I think I played my part well. Should I mention about the bachelor party I hosted? The actual event at the altar where I smiled and cooed, all the while wanting to leap out of a window? How about the wedding banquet, quite modest thankfully, but still filled with those little games that everyone loves to watch. No one said if I looked upset or angry, though her parents did take me aside and told me that it was my fault that this happened and I should have been there on that altar instead. But realistically, my only thoughts were on how much I wanted this to end, and to wash my hands of everything and disappear from sight.  Little did I know that even long after the night ended and I returned to Montreal, she had other plans in motion to keep me close.

A few short months later before Xmas, I was told there was a surprise coming.  While admittedly not particularly thrilled, I had to admit I was a bit curious to see what she had in mind.  I was pretty much expecting maybe copies of the wedding photos?  A thank you gift?  Maybe a visit?  Who knew what it could be really?  I was still feeling the sting of the wedding, and I knew in my heart of hearts that this mess was entirely my fault.  I mean, I knew she would be upset with losing me, but I never in a million years thought she would rebound in such a strange and unexpected way.  Little did I know, that was just the beginning.

On Xmas Eve, they came around to my door bearing gifts.  I wasn’t surprised, as I expected something along these lines. The meeting was brief, as they had other doors to knock and people to see, but they did tell me to keep my New Years’ Eve free. I should have lied and said I had plans or something, but that would have been futile. All of those years of written notes and secret whispers had made her a human Terry lie detector for the most part (with of course the exception of when I shoved her). So I went about my daily holiday business of too much turkey, tons of family and friends and so on, but my mind remained a bit at unease knowing THE day approaching.

New Year’s Eve actually started to be fun. Being the geek I am, they surprised me with a private room and a few matches of Laser Quest of all things. It seemed to be a genuinely pleasant approach to that night that I never expected. There was of course a blind eye to the case of sparkling wine brought into the room, several pizzas and laughter between the 3 of us and their friends all around. We talked and reminisced, went over the elementary to college years, the disastrous first date ever, odd arguments about horror movies and so on, and I was honestly starting to relax and enjoy the company. Famous last thoughts I suppose.

Throughout the night, I noticed that while we were all enjoying the bubbly, she had stuck to apple juice and so on. She was never much of a drinker, but then, it was New Year’s Eve. And as the final few minutes of the year arrived, she stood up and poured a very small amount of wine into her glass and made a toast. First was a toast to her new husband, then her friends and family and then as she put it (and I so have those words burned into my brain in 24 point Helvetica type), “To Terry, the dearest friend, sweetheart and soon to be UNCLE and GODFATHER TO MY SON.” I so dearly wished right there and then for those laser pistols to be fully functional and lethal so I could shoot myself.

There was a lot of cheering and toasting that night. I felt sick and left the building, trying not to faint or throw up on the ground. It was a particularly cold night then, but I honestly didn’t even notice as both shock and a bit of fury had gripped me. I thought I was done and over with her, but now I saw that she meant every word about keeping me close. And as with stupid me and my code of chivalry, I felt obliged to say yes when I wanted to just scream. I looked back at the door to Laser Quest, composed myself, went back inside and apologized for my sudden reaction and accepted the honor. Months later, I got to meet my first godchild ever, and could you believe the coincidence? He was named Terry too.

By the way, did I happen to mention how unusual it would have been for me to be the Godfather? I was born and raised catholic, and lived across the country to boot. She was protestant, though He was catholic as well. Moreso, my belief in the Christian faith had already begun to wane back then (I’ve since become Atheist) which didn’t exactly make me a very good candidate. She didn’t care, and if He did, He didn’t tell me then. So annually, I would send gifts and notes to my godson to read when he was older, and every so often I would see them in Montreal or I would go there. A few short years later, Terry was followed by a second child, a sweet little girl named Georgia. I should have guessed, as my middle name is George. But if things were getting weird, she didn’t let me know.  (I’m a bit thankful there weren’t more kids. My full name is Terrence George Bing Nung Lo, which incorporates my chinese name as well.  Somehow I imagine in a parallel universe a kid named Bing being teased mercilessly in a playground.)

This game went on and on, and I would make my regular phone calls to the family and talk to my godkids. He had become a successful restaurant manager while the wedding and children derailed her studies in law, but still managed to get a degree in accounting somehow. I stayed in Montreal, finding new loves time and again, but somehow always watching them go up in flames in one way or another (Those tales are for another soap opera tale in the future). Still, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, as we all found our lives going their own separate paths as they should.

It was a Saturday in July that I called to wish lil’ Terry a happy birthday. But instead of the formalities of saying hi and so on, Terry passed me on to his grandma. She was expecting my call, and wanted a chance to tell me her mind. She had told me that HE had left, and moved away with another woman with kids of her own. She, my 1st, was now a single parent to the 2 kids, and that custody was entirely hers and that HE didn’t even contest it. Her mom then told me the rest of the story, of the fights and the counselling that went on in the background. The regrets she had by acting so rashly by marrying him, and the hurt and pain behind it all. How She had insisted on naming both kids after me, and that I had to be their godfather. Her mom confirmed all of my suspicions and more, and then lectured me about how it should have been me and her daughter from the start. Many more words were passed on, but the final word was from the Court of BC. I was faxed copies of the divorce papers, and besides “Irreconcilable Differences”, there it was written in HIS handwriting just under HIS signature:

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

End of Part Three

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 1
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 2
The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind
The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers
The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword