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

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

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.” – Mitch Albom

“Though lovers be lost love shall not.” – Dylan Thomas

Image

Almost 30 years ago I met her. A bit over 20 years ago I broke both our hearts. 10 years and a few days, she broke mine, and those of “our” children one more time forever, when she was killed by a drunk driver.

The daughter of my heart, if not by genetics and marriage, my dear sweet Georgia will be coming to Calgary in a few days for a friend’s bachelorette party. I’ll see her for an evening, and then she’s back to Vancouver, all 3-4 months pregnant as well. But I know that while our reunion is in her mind, today of all days 10 years past is there as well, as in my son Terry’s too, as it was her death that profoundly changed things in all of our lives those days long ago.

As I think upon her, and of the path not taken, I still wonder what it would have been like to have had her in my life and to have raised the kids as my own. Would we have finally fit in the cosmic scheme of things? Would all doubts I had towards reconciliation broke us apart again? I really just don’t know.

But I do know this, and it’s something I’m simply so amazed by my wife, WK, is so understanding about. There will always be a part of me that was with her, despite the madness, the insanity of the situation and secret unspoken longings that we both shared yet never uttered to one another.

She was my muse of beauty and light, a mystery within, an enigma wrapped in a smile that could dazzle and warm the coldest of hearts. She was a lover of fine music and arts, curious of the glorious stars and galaxies above and a shield maiden to those who threatened her family. She hated high heels and the illusion of fashion, yet stood for all that was right in the world without, even if not satisfied personally within. She was that rare spirit that yearned to be free, yet was determined to be tied to the chains of love and memory. She was a warrior against fate, and saw that fate was in large part what we made of it, and fought for the chance for the both of us to reunite.

In the end…. she was as rare as lightning in a bottle and just as electric to the touch. The memory of her kiss, her skin, the deepness in her eyes, and the simple way … the way she embraced joy in the dance of thunder above still aches in me deep inside. She was my 1st love, and no matter how strange things came to be, I am thankful that she was a part of my life.

Good night my sweet these 10 years now past. While I may not believe in a heaven, if there is one, I hope you have found it and that you have found peace now and forever now that your… no… OUR children and I have been reunited after all this time.

Good night. I miss you. Terry, Georgia and I. We miss you.

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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, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

Rants on Faith: Why Are We Celebrating The Wrong Person at the End??

For any Christian family members who may read this, you may want to look away because I know I’m going to upset you.  You’ve been warned.

A week ago, I attended the funeral of a friend and co-worker of my wife. I didn’t know her very well, but she was a kind person, one who believed in her friends and family.  She was one who was overjoyed about her new baby, her civil law husband, and the community that she contributed to as a whole.  And most importantly to her, and many of her friends and family, she was a devoted catholic, almost to the point of zealous.  As I understand it, she was someone who had been looking for something that would fulfill her need in something greater than herself.

All of that is fine and well.  As those who’ve read my rants about faith in the past, I have found that faith in a higher being is something that brings happiness and comfort to a lot of people.  It’s something that I myself was once apart of, before I started to see past what I perceive and believe are simply illusions and parlour tricks.  But no matter my own feelings on the matter, if people want to still believe and follow mythology, it’s their choice.  I just refuse to support the illusion anymore, and will simply remain silence when encountered in situations where I’m surrounded by the needless ritual.

It was in this exact situation, that I found myself accompanying my wife at the funeral.  That in itself is not unusual, as this was supposed to be a celebration of her life despite disease and adversity.  Instead, I literally found myself getting angrier and angrier as each moment passed.

First, there were a number of speeches about her.  The first was a fairly straightforward retelling of the points on her life bit by bit.  A bit dull, but at least you get an idea of her history.  But then came the next speech, and a video and so on… and so my anger rose.

Each speech, the music theme for the video, the little mentions of her history and the highlights of her life, were not so much celebrated as almost ignored and even belittled.  And worse, virtually everyone in that room saw that that was absolutely natural.  You see, the event ceased to be a celebration of her life, but a great thank you to the God almighty for afflicting her with a fatal disease and to just casually take her life just after having given birth.   There wasn’t really any mention on how she was a loving mom, or a good friend, just praise be to Him for giving and taking life away for what seems to be totally arbitrary reasons ranging from “only He knows” to “what the hell, why not.”

I was reminded by my wife that this was her friend’s belief, and that of her community, and as it wasn’t my place to say anything, I just sat and remained quiet the entire time.  And as I was watching it continue, moment by moment, I just couldn’t help but look at this as a travesty and a disservice to the memory of her friend.

It’s been days since then, and as I looked back on my own life, I started to think about all of the funerals I’ve been to over the years and realized I was looking at a mirror.  Both my grandmothers’ funerals.  The odd teacher and so on… and I wonder, was I that oblivious?  And I really have only one answer… probably.  I was quite devout as a kid, and still had some modicum of belief even 3-4 years back.  But now I’m also ever more determined to reject religion altogether as well.

After a few years of being lazy, I’ve begun to rewrite my will, as well as a living will for once.  I’m also going to have to explain this to my family later this year, as they’re very much the devout Catholics.  If anything I’ve done since my rejection of religious faith is going to upset them, it’s probably going to be this…. that should there ever be a service of some sort because something’s happened to me, I don’t want a priest of any sort to get 1,000 miles of me unless he’s a personal friend.  I reject the Catholic Church, the Christian faith as a whole in life, and I see absolutely no distinction in that in death.  If there’s any service of any sort, it’s going to be a celebration of my friends and family, and bits of their interaction with me, but anyone who even thinks of praising God or Jesus instead of themselves, for the people they are for making me someone who believes in civic duty and familial love, they had better keep it to themselves.  I would honestly find that someone thanking God for me being in their lives, or for the way I believe in my family and friends as God or Jesus’ way, as a complete and total insult to myself, and to everyone I love.

Why the hell are we passing the credit to some mythical being that may or may not have ever existed?  We create the world we live in, and we are the ones who interact and love and live with one another.  Why do we want to strengthen the image of that greater being and a Church or faith of some sort, instead of giving credit where credit is really due, that is with one another.  There’s a classic saying, it takes a village to raise a child,  I find that so much in line with my own beliefs and my causes.  And at the end, it’s those people who made me the person I am who I would want celebrated, not God, Zeus, Odin or The Easter Bunny.

After all, in the end, wouldn’t you want to be remembered for the person you are, and not that you were some mindless automaton that just followed a faith blindly and that every action you’ve taken of note was of your own undertaking?  That every one of your triumphs was because you had the drive, the spirit and the guts to achieve it?  Stop giving credit to some unknown spirit of the sky,  Give the credit to whom in belongs to… yourselves.