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The Day The Music Died

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The Day The Music Died

Part 1 of ...

Music has always been a part of me. It is in my soul, so to speak. From as far back as I can remember I have been around it. My father was a musician who played the trumpet and saxophone. My mother played the piano. We were the kind of family that when we got together you could be sure a guitar would come out, then another, then maybe the sax, the piano, or any other instrument around at the time and we would play. We would sing. We would rejoice.

I have only ever truly been in love twice. I have found that the very music that runs through my veins would inevitably follow me wherever I went. When I was happy I would write happy songs, when sad, of course sad songs. When I found myself feeling funny or silly you could be sure a funny or silly song could be laid down and shared with those close to me. When I was in love then by all means as you could well imagine I would be pouring out some sappy, maybe tender love song, ballad. I have been writing songs from the time I was 9 years old. You may even have heard a few of them. In fact, I am sure most of you have heard at least one of them.

The first time I was ever truly in love when I was 23 years old. I had met up with one of those rare people that when you first see them, exchange wondering glances, you know you are meant to be together. Her name was Lori, she was beautiful and gentle, and we were both going to school. It wasn’t long before we were dating, before we had moved in together, and before we were starting out on a course of planning our life as one. From the first week I met her I began writing the music that she stirred in me. Sometimes when she would come home from a late evening class I would surprise her with some new song I had just finished. Everywhere I went and everything I saw inspired me to write. The music played on.

As relationships sometimes have their troubles, so did ours. After being and living together for 3 years we had had a falling out. Lori had moved in with a friend to sort some things out in her personal life. She hadn’t had much experience with relationships before we had met, and I suspected she needed some space to be sure our union was meant for her, was meant for us. After 3 months of being separated we realized that we truly did love each other. We also realized we needed to be together and nothing was going to stop us. She explained to me about experimenting when we were apart, being with a couple of different men. I didn’t care. I told her that I had had a brief affair during that time, and likewise, she didn’t care. We were both just happy to be back together and now realized that there wasn’t really anyone or anything else out there for us. We believed we could weather any storm. I played some of the sad songs I had written for her when she was away and we both hugged and we cried. And the music played on.

About 3 months after that our phone rang one day. I picked it up and was surprised to hear the voice on the other end. It was from the girl whom I had the affair with when Lori and I were apart, and she asked if we could meet later that night to talk. I knew right then what the call was about. I had known this woman for a few years already and I also knew she understood that Lori and I were together, that nothing she could say or do would change that. We were always physically attracted, and that is where it stopped for me. Her feelings for me ran deeper, but yet she understood and respected where I was at with things. I knew it could only be one thing, and I wasn’t wrong.

I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t bring myself to telling her. Things were going so well for Lori and I and now there was this secret. She would talk to me in the following months about one day having children and all the wonderful things we would do, while the knot in my stomach began to grow and ache. How do you tell someone who dreams about having your child that someone is already in the process of doing so? I wanted to tell her what was going on, just get it off my chest, but I was afraid of losing her. I started drinking heavily and it soon became obvious to her and to those around me that something was seriously wrong.

Finally one day as she was again talking, planning out how we would make a perfect family, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Knowing full well I was risking losing everything that was important to me, I told her. She of course was very numb at first. She seemed to take it well. The other woman was now living in another city and was by now 5 or 6 months pregnant. After taking some time for her emotions to kick in she gave me an ultimatum. She could live with this, only if I promised to not ever be a part in that child’s life. I believe it was too much for her to have to spend a lifetime looking into the eyes of a child that should have been hers, and she realized this. I couldn’t do that. I would do most anything for her. I loved her. I couldn’t do that. Somehow I knew I had to at least let this child know who their father was. I couldn’t just pretend they didn’t exist. And so we parted.

For the next 5 months I threw myself into my music. I threw myself into school. I threw myself into bottle after bottle and tried to drown the hurt. I had just lost the greatest love in my life, and now some little part of my life was about to be born in another city. I climbed inside the bottle with reckless abandon, and as the letters arrived from the woman in the other city soon to give life to my child, the music still played on.

(to be continued...)

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Part 2 of ...

By now I had finished school and was working in a local hospital, playing my music and songs in the bars at night. Usually playing for not much more then an evening of free drinks. By now the letters were arriving from the woman in the other city once a week. In each letter was an invitation to come and see this child, to just meet her. Finally one day a letter arrived with a picture in it. When I opened it and saw this 5-month-old beautiful baby girl smiling at me, looking back at me with what appeared to be my own eyes, I took a long look around the city I was in, and never before in my life had I felt so empty, alone and incomplete. I had to go.

By the next week I found myself on a train headed for this city. As we rode I could feel the tracks below clattering along. I stared out the window and watched the little towns and crossways passing me by, wondering exactly where I was heading. Every once in a while I would pull out the picture of this beautiful baby girl and look at it. I had no idea for sure what I was doing. I had my suitcase and my guitar, a picture of a child I had never met, and was going to a city I had never been to.

As I arrived at the station I saw her standing on the arrival platform. She was possibly one of the most attractive women I had ever seen. When I got off the train the first thing she did was smile and give me a big long hug. I hugged her back and her grasp on me was different then I had remembered it. I could tell by the way she was holding me that she didn’t want to let go, but somehow as good as it felt, I knew I didn’t share the same urges and longing of it’s embrace. She told me that our daughter was back at her house, that she had a friend there watching her while she picked me up. I was very nervous. I didn’t know what I would think or feel once I saw this child. I just knew that I had to.

As we drove I told her that I had enough money to rent a motel room for a while. She told me there was no need, she had already put a room together for me in her basement and that I could stay there. She said it would be ridiculous to spend the money, and also it would give me more time to visit with our daughter. As we arrived at the house I met her friend at the door. She gave me a brief hug, said she had heard a lot about me, and said ‘what a beautiful girl you have there’. As I looked past her I saw a child sitting in a play crib murmuring away. I just stood there for a few minutes staring at her. I felt so awkward, I mean, what was I supposed to do. Part of me wanted to run over and pick her up and hold her, while another part of me was afraid. She was so beautiful, fragile, delicate.

What I thought was going to be a four or five day stay turned into weeks. I would spend my days playing and singing for this wonderful child when this woman was at work. I began to have powerful, overwhelming feelings as I carefully watched the child. This child that had my olive skin, my hazel eyes, and looked back at me adorningly. During the nights the woman and I would sit and talk. It wasn’t long before I wasn’t sleeping in the bedroom downstairs, but we were sharing a room. I knew in my heart that I didn’t love her, but yet, I believed that I could learn. I knew I could be a good provider, I knew I wanted to be a father.

One night as I was laying my baby girl down in her crib for the night I stood staring at her as she drifted off. I couldn’t pull myself away. It was as if I was afraid to let her out of my sight, if even just to sleep. I knew from that moment I had to do everything to protect her, forever. And as I stood there a sad thought occurred to me. I started to remember a scene from my earlier years, a time when I watched my uncle lose what he most treasured.

My uncle was a man who loved his children dearly. His youngest child was his daughter who was then 20 years old. Although he would never have admitted it, there was something special between the two of them that the other children didn’t share. He used to play the guitar and write songs also. She used to play the piano and as he sat beside her you could just tell there was something very special there. She was the same age as I, and had just been married to a young man she was completely in love with. One night as she was driving her sister in-law home from a family gathering, fate stepped in and took her young life as she crossed a highway on her way back. It was a sad day for our family, and a devastating day for my aunt and uncle. The night of her wake we were all back at his house, doing what families do in times like this, consoling, hugging, and remembering the good things. As this went on I watched my uncle quietly slip out to his front deck. I followed him out and sat in a chair on the deck and watched him staring up into the sky, both of us silent. All of sudden he turned to me and said, “Did you see that!” I didn’t really know what he meant but I just nodded my head. “I asked God to give me a sign that she was okay” he went on, “And there it was, a huge falling star.”

To the best of my knowledge my uncle has never since picked up his guitar. Has never sat down at the piano. I believe the piano was sold. The guitar is maybe still in an attic somewhere fading like the essence of my cousin, or maybe just got sold. I don’t really know. I just know that somehow for him the music stopped that fateful day. And now as I stood staring down into my baby’s crib, I knew a bit more of what it was he had felt as a father. When I finally did pull myself away, I figured I would write a song for him, as I imagined he would have wrote it if he could. I wrote it in the style I know he would have used. I have never shared it with anyone…nor will I ever with my family.

Keep Her Okay

When it came to the end of the day

And deep in her crib she would lay,

The Sandman would come

And he’d take her away,

And all I could do

Was to say,


And I’d Sing,

Good night my baby,

Good night.

Sleep tight my baby,

Sleep tight.

When the stars come I’ll pray

That he keeps you okay,

And I’d sing goodnight my baby,


The time seemed to slip right away

For soon came the big wedding day,

And a young man

A good man,

He took her away…

But sometimes I’d call

Just to say,


And I’d sing,

Goodnight my baby,


Sleep tight my baby,

Sleep tight.

When the stars come I’ll pray

That he keeps you okay,

And I’d sing Goodnight my baby,


(music retards….tempo slowed)

I remember that cold fourth of May,

On some highway up north they do say,

That’s where the Lord

He took my baby away…

And all I could do

Was to say,

(tempo slowly picks up)


And I sang,

Goodnight my baby,


Sleep tight my baby,

Sleep tight.

When the stars come I’ll pray

That he keeps you okay,

And I sang good night my baby,

Good night.

(Music stops…vocals only)

And sometimes still today

To those stars I do pray,

Singing, goodnight my baby,


I decided I was never going to let this child out of my sight for long. Although I didn’t love this woman I was sure going to try. I had taken a job in the local hospital, and had met up with some musicians from the area. It wasn’t long before I was writing children’s music and poetry and was gathering a reputation for being a decent writer. In a short time I was meeting with people who were producing children’s television shows, writing music for them, was playing in a local band and things seemed to be going quite well.

My daughter was beginning to walk by now. I was comfortable with my life. The woman and I got along well. And although I never truly loved her, I decided I was going to dedicate my life to her and to my child, and so the music played on.

(to be continued…)

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Part 3 ...

As my daughter grew past one year of age we began to stabilize financially. The money I was bringing in from my job and my now wife’s job had us considering the purchase of a house. Money was beginning to roll in from the music also and it afforded us a few extra self-indulgent niceties. When I would bring up the subject of it though, a house, there seemed to be some reluctance on her part. Finally one day she just told me, she didn’t really want to live in this area. She didn’t have much family and the family she did have weren’t much of one. I certainly couldn’t argue that. She grew in a house where her mother placed her kids second to every man she had ever lived with, and there were a lot of them.

She first met my family about 1 week after I told my parents they were grandparents. Though shocked at first, they arrived from 500 miles away with armloads of gifts and bushels of love. She didn’t quite know how to deal with it at first. When we visited my hometown and she met my family and they all gathered and out would come the guitars, and the music would play, for her, she would just sit there and cry. She had never known it. So when I pushed on the topic of owning a house, she one day said she didn’t want her child to grown up here. She wanted her to grow up with my family. Although things were just getting good financially for us, our financial and my musical roots were not deep enough to suggest anything other. Within 3 months we had packed up everything we owned into a rented moving truck and off we went. I carried the music with me as we drove down the highway, our daughter between us, and she was now carrying the second of our children.

There wasn’t a lot of extra money floating around, but it was a great to be back in my families midst, to have my daughter and wife there. It didn’t take long to get hooked up with some old friends and form a band, and I stayed in contact with my agent from down south. I was still writing the children’s songs and selling one here and there, and now there were a few head-lining bands looking at some of the songs I had written. As time moved on and her belly grew with our soon to be son, I couldn’t imagine things being much better, as a job at the hospital soon opened up also.

The day my son was born was an emotionally powerful one. I wasn’t there to see my daughter born, so was ill equipped for it. Seeing as my daughter was born easily we were given a very comfortable birthing room. It didn’t go smoothly. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and had apparently been so for a while. He was born with an emergency C- section and his little heart and body were severely stressed. Over the next few days he remained in NICU to monitor his heart, as a severe murmur was also present. Finally after 3 days it gained a normal rhythm and we were given the good news. He was going to be fine. During my three-day stay by his bedside in the NICU I watched the parents in there who had children born severely premature, others with severe defects, and who no doubt had to watch child after child leave safely with relieved parents. As I was exiting the NICU after receiving the good news, I met a man at the scrub sink who asked how my son was. He had by far the sickest child in that room, had spent much time carefully tending to his child’s bedside, knowing full well his child wouldn’t live. I had watched him and his wife during my time there, and could tell they were kind, decent people. I could see the sadness in his eyes as he asked, and sensed the longing to know such news as I just received. When I left that room I went down and sat off a pier by the river behind the hospital and cried harder then I ever have in my life. I cried for the joy of my son, and I cried for the sadness in this man.

In the weeks that followed my sons arrival home my wife had began to show signs of depression. It is not uncommon for woman to experience some mild form of this, so I watched it closely. I was now working in the mental health wing of our hospital and had training in such matters. I knew what to watch for. She didn’t have the energy to do much and most of the chores, feedings, changing my son, tending to my daughter and other things were up to me. When I was at work my mother came and helped. It became evident that this wasn’t just a touch of normal depression, but most likely more severe postpartum dep. setting in. When she wasn’t sleeping, she barely had the energy to cry, and she was crying a lot.

By the end of the second week I finally convinced her that we had to take some action, get her some help. After a trip to our doctor she started on a course of anti-depressants that quickly kicked in much faster then designed to. I watched as her behavior took a critical shift. She went from having no energy to have more energy then anyone I had ever seen. Her focus wasn’t much on the children, in fact she was hardly noticing them. After a week of watching this behavior and realizing it wasn’t a good sign, I tried to again talk her into going to see our doctor. She told me she hadn’t been taking the medication and she wasn’t going to go see no doctor. I knew something was drastically wrong and had my suspicions as to what.

Meanwhile my son was now gaining weight and getting healthier, while my wife was beginning to get very ill. Her focus was shifting to bizarre tasks around the house as all of us, including the children, began to disappear from her sight. When I would try to talk to her she would only get angry, "You just don't understand" she would say. I saw the psychosis in her begin to grow and knew we were in for trouble. I wanted to help her, and tried having other members of my family come to try to talk to her into coming to the hospital. All they could say to me was, “There is something really wrong here.”

There is only so much a person can do when a loved one becomes grossly psychotic. You cannot force them to get help unless they are a physical threat to others or themselves. They largely won’t accept any help for most of them do not realize they are sick. This was our case, and my wife began to deteriorate rapidly in the next weeks. Finally I tried to trick her into seeing her doctor one day, and not being a stupid woman saw right through me. Things were immediately flying all over the house. All I could do was try to cover as it was happening. Finally a knife came out and the wrestling began. As she ran out the door I called the police and told them what had happened, that she was sick, it wasn’t her fault. For the next week all of my family and the police looked for her. She had cleared out our bank account and had our credit cards. Finally after a week I received a call from a US Sheriff Deputy that they had her in custody. She was arrested in their district and he knew she was ‘messed up’ as he put it. Arrangements were made for bail for her and a meeting at the border for her transport back to Canada. She was signed into the very mental health ward I worked at. I was moved to another area of the hospital as part of protocol.

As I had suspected she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Upon her release from the hospital she sank again into a deep depression, and in the following weeks attempted a suicide. Again she was admitted. The next time she was released it was another psychotic break, and again violence ensued. For the next year and a half she refused to accept any part of her illness or help. Seeing as her particular bi-polar was rapid cycling, each time she was manic the violence grew worse. Her rationale got worse. The depression grew deeper and there were more suicide attempts. Every effort I used to try and help her was seen as an attempt to blame her for things. It's such an awful illness, and it takes prisoners. In the course of that time I was hit by a hammer, bitten, spit on, poisoned, punched, kicked and called every name known to man. Our house had been torn up in every conceivable way it could. My son was too young to understand what was going on around him, but I use to have to hold my daughter and feel her shake until she drifted asleep after each time the police had to come and take her mom back to the mental health ward.

My family helped out a lot, and finally after every effort to help my wife was thwarted by her illness, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I went to my lawyer and started the proceedings. Over the course of the next year a court battle ensued, and seeing as her lawyer was being paid by the province, he milked it for every cent it was worth. It nearly broke me in every way. I borrowed money from the bank and sold things I owned for my lawyer, and borrowed emotional help and support from my family. She didn’t even want the children or was capable, but yet fought I believe to just still fight, her illness still lashing out. I never blamed her for all that has happened. I hated her illness though, more then I ever hated anything. And unfortunately, it was now a part of her.

The whole thing changed me. I never looked at people the same again for some time. I was honestly one of those individuals who just saw the good in people when they spoke. Now all I saw were their glaring defects. I was still writing poems and music but it was changing also, getting darker.

One night as I rocked my son to sleep in my arms after receiving a threatening phone call from my now ex, I heard a song playing on the radio. It was a song that I had sold some time ago to a band through my agent. I had written it during our stay in her hometown, and it spoke of learning how to love.

As it played I looked down to my son now asleep in my arms, and as I reflected on the years that just passed us by, I couldn’t help but wonder why. And yet, the music played on…

(to be continued…)

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Part 4 ...

For the next several years things were, well, very busy. Raising two children by oneself is no small task. Needless to say I had a lot of support from family. The children’s mom was still often very sick but I was getting a lot better at damage control. They didn’t have to witness much more violence and although it made me sad at times that they didn’t really have a mother figure in their lives, one does the best they can with what they are dealt. Thanks to family though there was still a lot of appropriate female influence with them. The kids were doing really well.

I was still writing the children’s songs and poems. It was a bit of an escape. I wasn’t writing much of the serious music any more. There just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I would still get together with the guys in the band and play whenever I could find the time, but that was getting increasingly more difficult. Eventually I would have to give up my place as I couldn’t make the gigs any more and they deserved someone who could. They were still playing a lot of my music though.

During this time I hardly dated at all. There were plenty of opportunities but I just felt soured by everything that had happened up to this stage. I would usually decline any invitations, and somehow I couldn’t see any promise for it with anyone I met. There were some wonderful women who would have made great partners, but it is something you have to be ready for. I clearly wasn’t.

One Saturday afternoon I took my kids down to the park for a picnic. As we sat I watched as my daughter wandered off a ways then stop and talk to a woman sitting on a blanket under a tree, having a picnic of her own. They talked for some time. The woman looked familiar from a distance. When my daughter came back she grabbed me by the hand and said, “Dad, come on, I want you to come meet someone. Her name is Christine and she is really nice.” I didn’t really want to go over, I found it awkward. I was becoming increasingly awkward around any women these days. But my daughter just kept tugging on my arm saying, “Come on dad, come on!”

When we got there, my daughter still pulling away on my arm, my son trailing behind, I saw she was beautiful. She was wearing one of those loose-fitting summer dresses, a set of hippie type sandals kicked off beside her blanket. As we got closer she was smiling at me, maybe laughing, I’m not sure. I AM sure we were quite a sight as my girl yanked me across the field, while my son trailed way behind looking for worms and bugs in the grass as we went. Her hair was long and blonde, her eyes were blue and she had little flowers in her hair. She was just a tiny thing sitting there, and my god, she was beautiful. She kept smiling as we approached and the closer I got the more I was afraid to open my mouth, knowing full well something ridiculous was going to come out of it.

“That’s quite a girl you have there”, she said smiling, as I stood there kind of dumbfounded. Then she patted the quilted blanket she was sitting on with her tiny hand, “Grab a seat.” She offered, looking up at me still smiling. I don’t remember anything I said, although I can still recall near every word of hers. As we talked I learned she had just moved back to the city from the coast where she worked in a teaching hospital. I knew the hospital. She was here opening up and running the new crisis intervention extension of the hospital I worked at. I knew she looked familiar, but I must have only seen her from a distance. Kind of ironic huh, she was heading a crisis intervention unit, and I had been living in a state of it for years. When my son came over and she said hello to him, he just smiled in his sweet way and gave her a hug. That’s just what he does. There wasn’t much she could do, just do what anyone does when he does that, look at me and say, “Awwww.”

She opened up her basket and offered my son and daughter some tarts she said she had made earlier. Then she offered one to me and said that I had better have one also, again smiling that beautiful smile, because it didn’t look like my picnic was going to survive, motioning from where we had come. The seagulls were all over it, but hell, it was a crappy picnic anyway, and I was now understanding there was no other place I would rather be sitting, and with no other person.

We talked for almost 2 hours as the kids ran and played all around. She was 2 years older then I, and never married. She had traveled all over the world working for various medical related jobs. As she spoke and we talked and learned a bit about each other I watched her mannerisms, the little possessions she had around her, the sandals, and the flowers in her hair. She was a genuine hippie through and through. Did I mention she was beautiful? Before we parted that afternoon she said to me that she didn’t have too many friends in the city anymore, and gave me her number in case I wanted to go out some time. On the ride back home I felt something inside of me that I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time.

“So are you going to see her again dad?” asked my daughter as we drove. I said that I wasn’t sure, I didn’t know if she would want to. She laughed at me and said, “Didn’t you see how she was looking at you?” I honestly didn’t, I was too busy being consumed by her beauty and trying to slow my heart from racing to notice.

It took all the strength I could muster not to call her number the second we got home. I told myself, give it 4 days, then call. The next day I must have picked up the phone 40 times, even going so far as to dial 6 numbers before hanging it up. I had it bad. Finally Monday night I couldn’t take it any more and I called her. It was brief and we decided we were going to go next Saturday and have a picnic beyond the cliffs where Lake Superior ends. It is a picturesque spot, and a nice hike.

The afternoon went great, and we talked about going out again. It was nice to be there without the kids, it gave me a chance to relax a bit more, and it was a gorgeous day that went as well as could be expected. The whole time I wanted to just grab her and kiss her, and not because I was some hormone driven maniac, but because she was just simply that beautiful. Yet any time during that day she would casually brush against me, or her hand would touch my arm, I would positively seize up. I knew what I was feeling was powerful, and I was also a bit afraid of it.

Christine was all I thought about in every minute of every single day. On Tuesday my phone rang and it was Christine, and she asked if maybe we could meet for a coffee and that she wanted to talk to me. Sure I said. When I hung up the phone I thought, well crap, here it comes. Here comes the speech about how nice she thinks I am, but friends is all we can be. Or maybe, she just got the calling to run off to some far away colony and heal the lepers. Or maybe, or maybe… Whatever it was going to be I figured I might as well just go there and get it over with.

When we met we grabbed a couple of ice cappuccinos and she asked if it was okay if we could walk down to the boardwalk and talk there. Sure, I thought, slaughter me there, as fitting a place as any. We grabbed a bench along the riverfront and she began to explain. She said she hoped this wouldn’t frighten me, but that she was taking a risk and wanted to let me know she was having strong feelings for me. That she hoped we could start seeing each other, regularly. I managed to not blow any cappuccino out my nose, but just barely. I shared with her that I might be having a few feelings for her also. We walked along the boardwalk that night holding hands, and when I kissed her at the end of the night, I knew I was quite possibly the luckiest man alive.

I am very protective of my kids so we didn’t do much interacting with them involved at first. She understood this. I didn’t want them to get their hopes up and then get let down. They had seen too much of that already. I wanted to take it slow. I was sort of sneaking around behind their backs when we went out and it felt kind of cool. Before long we had crossed the line and she invited us all to supper at her house. It went really well. Her house was filled with little trinkets from all around the world, carefully gathered like any beautiful wandering female hippie would, and the kids were fascinated by them, and by her.

Within six months we were seeing each other on a near daily basis. She was getting to know my children quite well, and they instantly grew affection for her, my son in particular. He would ask her if it was okay if he could call her mom. We would explain to him that she wasn’t his mom, but that they could do all kind of cool mom stuff together. He said he understood, but yet, he still wanted to call her mom. He was in love with her also, and my daughter was in love with the fact that I was happy and Christine was in our lives.

She was now getting to know my family and they embraced her. About a year into the relationship we were more in love then ever. We had already had a trip to Mexico together. The music in me was again alive and singing out from every pour in my body.

The first time I met her family we traveled there to spend a weekend. They were/are great people and I instantly fell in love with them. Her mother pulled me aside at one point and offered this, “Young man, that girl of mine has always had a gypsy soul. Traveling here and moving off there. I honestly never thought I would see the day she would plant her feet in any place, or with any one person. But I have been watching you two, and I think you both have something very special. I think she has changed, and I think you are responsible for it. She loves you, I can tell, and you are going to be a lucky man for that.” And I knew I was.

I was back with the band now and it had been a full year since Christine and I were together. One Saturday afternoon almost one year to the day our band was scheduled to play the band shell in the very park where we first met. I didn’t sing too many of the songs that I wrote, we had a better front man who did that, but on this day this one particular song I sang. It was a brand new song I had just written. And as I sang it I watched Christine dancing by herself in the center of the crowd, flowers in her hair, twirling and smiling, as the song played through…

Gypsy Soul Princess

Like long stormy nights, candles flickering all alone,

Long frozen winters blowing cold to the bone,

How lost wandering vagabonds

Throughout a world will roam,

My darling, that’s how I waited here for you.

Like seedlings taking root, urging to be grown,

How tiny baby boots for a brand new child are sewn,

A little bird’s first flight

Into a wondrous world when thrown,

My darling, that’s how I felt when I met you.


You’re my gypsy soul princess

With the flowers in her hair.

You’re my gypsy soul princess

Dancing gently in the square.

You’re my gypsy soul princess, la la la

You’re my gypsy soul princess, la la la

You’ll always be the princess

With the flowers in her hair.

Like loons calling out across the shadows of the night,

A million singing voices in harmony just right,

Surely how a blind man feels

When suddenly blessed with sight,

My darling, that’s how I feel when I’m with you.

As I join your gentle dance in the middle of the square,

Stare into your beautiful eyes, brush back your flowing hair,

I see how I’m a better man

Because I’m simply there,

My Darling, that’s how I’ll always feel with you.


You’re my gypsy soul princess

With the flowers in her hair.

You’re my gypsy soul princess

Dancing gently in the square.

You’re my gypsy soul princess, la la la

You’re my gypsy soul princess, la la la

You’ll always be the princess

With the flowers in her hair.

Chorus: (repeated)

Later that night I asked her to marry me, and she said yes. Could anyone be much happier? I don't think so. And oh, how the music played on.

(to be continued…)

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Part 5 of 6

(I am sorry if this is long, if anyone is reading it...just trying to work it all out)

Sometimes a person looks back at their life, and for all the bumps and rough terrain, can say, “I knew it was all for a reason.” This is how I was feeling now. Christine and I had been together for 2 years, and living together for the last year. She was great for the kids, providing a point of view for them I couldn’t offer, and she was great for me. She was great for anything she touched. Even my ex was doing better these days. There were some definite problems when Christine first moved in with us in regards to my ex, especially when she was on the high side of illness, but it eventually smoothed over. I had managed to get her in affordable housing over the last several years and it seemed to help stabilize her, and the kids were getting to know her more. Christine was responsible for a lot of this, but in the background. She wanted the kids to know their mom also and promoted that relationship. My ex eventually moved out of town to go back to school. As much I hate to admit it, we all let out a collective sigh of relief. Unfortunately she has never played much of a role in the kid’s lives, but she has managed to turn hers around. In spite of her illness she went back to school and finished her masters and got a job with the government. She is still doing well today for the most part, and still comes to visit the kids from time to time. Acceptance with this illness is crucial, and she was finally there.

I have some cottages that were left for me. About 60 years ago the government starting selling parcels of crown land. My grandfather at the time took advantage of this and rowed a boat with another man down the middle of a lake surrounded by mountains, and from it’s center picked out his spot, his bay. A sandy bay and piece of waterfront property that stretches several miles, and the lake is about 12 miles long. It is spring fed by the mountains and many other lakes around it, and it is clean and wonderful. All the little rivers flowing into it are always a treat to ride down, and many lead to waterfalls. Although there is a lot of development on the other side of the lake, our side is still very private. There are no cottages within 3 miles of either side of our property, and it is incredible property. It is the kind of place one could only dream about owning today, because this type of land is rarely ever available any more, or affordable. He left it for my father, who in turn left it for me, as I will for my children. It holds some of my fondest memories from growing up, and my kid’s memories with it are being made now.

The first I time I brought Christine there she was awe struck. It is boat only access and we use a landing on the other side to come across. I had told her that I had a few cottages, but when she arrived she said she couldn’t imagine anyone having such a splendid piece of preserved nature all to themselves. I let her know it wasn’t all for me and the kids. We shared it with a great many birds and animals, and that it was now for her also. As she began to explore the property, she started to cherish and appreciate it more then anyone I know. For years I have been making trails with a 4-wheeler, a GPS system, and maps I had gotten years earlier from the Ministry of Natural Resources. I enjoyed making the trails along the mountainsides and now had many miles of them, often leading to other lakes or spots along rivers. It is a peaceful hobby for me, and over the years countless people have since come to discover them, and now enjoy them also. I eventually linked up to the voyageur trail, so a person could essentially jump on a trail from our side of the lake and walk right across the backwoods of all of Canada if they wished.

Christine treasured walking them. She would go out by herself often for hours, take her camera and a book and would disappear. When she came back she always had a handful of fresh wildflowers, and of course flowers in her hair. I never really knew where it was she went, but I sure enjoyed listening to her tell me about what she had seen while away. Maybe one day it was a family of deer. Maybe another day a rabbit she had been sitting with and feeding. Or maybe just some strange or unusual plant, but none the less, off she would go and I felt blessed knowing someone appreciated this land as much as I do.

It was the 3rd week of June and the kids and I were out at the cottages. Christine was working through the week and would come on weekends. By now she had claimed one cottage as ours and would bring new shopping finds in antique stores and yard sales to decorate it. It was really nice to have her touch and tastes around. She was also picking stuff up as she went preparing for our wedding, which was to be in August. We planned to have an outdoor wedding in the little town near where the cottages are, then have some of our guests spend the weekend at the cottages as our reception. It was going to be a bit of work, but not really too much, about 30 people in all for the weekend.

When she arrived this weekend it was on Saturday morning. When I met her over at the landing when she got out of the car she had a funny smile on her face. I asked her what was up. She said, “oh nothing really”. Yea right, I know that kind of smile. It was one of those huge smiles a person gets that they just can’t remove, or even pretend that they aren’t absolutely ecstatic about something. When I bugged her on the boat ride over to tell me what was going on, she just kept smiling that giant grin and said she would talk to me about it later.

When we arrived the kids of course were happy to see her. We had some family staying in one of the other cottages and the weather was beautiful this day. The kids were playing and swimming around the raft, running all up and down the beach with some of their cousins. The adults were playing horseshoes and having drinks, or going fishing. It was a great day and every time I looked at Christine she still had that huge grin on her face. I had no idea what it was about, but admit the curiosity of it was getting to me.

Finally, later that afternoon she asked if I wanted to go for a walk with her. She had put some snacks and things together in a packsack and off we went, into the trails. I asked where we were going, and she just looked at me with that giant-sized smile and said, “You’ll see.”

As we walked we took a turn on one of the trails to go down another trail that I had started making some years ago but decided against. It eventually led I thought to an impassable part of the mountains behind the lake. As we walked down it I could tell she had been using it often. She would stop here and there and check out wildflowers, picking a few little ones and adding them to her hair, gathering a few more as we went.

“So what is up with you?” I asked as we walked. Still aching to know what that smile was about. “You win the lottery or something?” She just laughed and gave me an incredible look and replied that it was something like that.

We came to the end of this trail that she had obviously extended, and I was amazed. There was a nice little patch of grass and beautiful splendor here in the middle of nowhere, and a handmade spring she had fashioned out of stones and built by herself. The little trickles of water now forming an exquisite pool of mountain spring water. It was quite a site, “Oh, so this is where you have been sneaking off too, huh.” I offered. She said, that yes, it was one of her places.

She opened her packsack and pulled out a blanket and laid it out on the grass and asked me to sit with her. She said to me that she has been keeping a secret. I asked her if it had anything to do with the fella’ that was now cautiously sneaking up behind her. I was watching this little rabbit working its way to us behind her. She turned and saw it and let out a good laugh, then said, well yes, I have having a bit of an affair with that rabbit, but that it was none of my damn business. Then she looked at me again very seriously. She reached into her packsack and pulled a piece of paper and just handed it to me. When I looked at it I was both confused and excited. I was staring at an ultrasound picture of a tiny forming baby in a womb. “You’re not telling me you are, are you trying to say that you are…” and I think I basically just sat there staring at the picture of the ultrasound then looking at her with an incredible grin on her face. Then back to the picture, and I admit, I was most overwhelmed. “I thought you said you couldn’t , well, you know…”

She said, well yes, she had thought she couldn’t either, but apparently I was ‘Da Man’. “Oh my God!” I said, “I’m Da Man!” And again she said, ‘you da man’! “I’m Da Man!” again. I’m not sure how many times went back and forth until I finally grabbed her and kissed her and we both broke out in to tears of absolute joy.

She also at one point added, "In case you never noticed, it's a girl." radiantly smiling.

As we walked backed to the cottages later holding hands the emotions I were feeling were overwhelming. Not only had I found the most beautiful woman in the world, were the two of us both madly in love with each other, but now we were going have a baby together, our very own flesh and blood baby girl. We made jokes on the walk back. I said that as nice of a surprise this was that my parents are going to be quite disappointed in her, ya know, having sex and all before marriage. She joked about how she now needed to change her wedding dress color, and also that I could expect a visit from her dad, and that he owned a shotgun and wasn’t afraid to use it.

The next day we told the kids about our news, we phoned our family, and I have never in my life EVER been so happy.

Later that Sunday night, we gathered up some of Christine’s things and I prepared to take her back across the lake to head back to the city for the week. She hugged and kissed the kids and said goodbye. Our family waved at her from the shore as we rode off to the landing. Together we put her things in her car. I pulled her to my chest and just silently hugged her, and she hugged me back, for what seemed like a very long time. I told her how lucky I felt to have her. She said she was the lucky one. As she was opening up her car door to get in I said, “Hey Juanita (inside joke from Mexico trip), I love you babe.”

Her smiling at me after she closed her door and started the car, rolling down the window, “Hey Pedro, right back at ya’” And off she went.

As I rode back across the lake I looked at the beautiful mountains as the sun was just beginning to set, and I thought to myself, as often I had these last few years. I thought, you know, it has been a long hard road, but this is what it was all for, how it was meant to be.

(to be continued...)

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The reason I have been writing this is because for the last two years I have sunken deeper and deeper into depression and that it is getting difficult for me to even leave the house. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and PTSD. I thought I was doing pretty good for a while, until at one point I realized it had/has slowly snuck up on me, and that I had completely isolated. I have 2 beautiful children aged 11 & 13 that still live with me, count on me, and for the most part I am functional for them, but they know as well as others that I am not doing well. It is hard to admit it, for I have always been the strong one.

My shrink says I have to start talking about it. Seeing as I can’t ever seem to talk to him or anyone else, here I am, talking about it with you, anonymously...or maybe am just typing it out to no one at all really...I don't really know.

In any case, this is the end of it...

Part Six

The phone rang in the cottage at sometime just after 12:30 that Sunday night. I was half asleep as I answered it and I wasn’t sure I heard it correctly. Then I thought maybe it was some kind of sick joke.

The voice on the other end said they were the O.P.P (Ontario Provincial Police) and there had been an accident with Christine. It said I needed to let them know which landing was ours on the other side of the lake and that they had a car ready to meet me there. When I asked again what happened they just again said there had been a car accident, and an officer would be there to pick me up to drive to the hospital.

I had to run over to the other cottage and wake them up to tell them I had to go, and to please watch my kids. My kids had awaken and asked what had happened. I told them I didn’t know, that I just had to go.

When I got to the other side of the lake I could see the lights of the cruiser. The officer was waiting for me on the shore. He said he was going to bring me back to the city. I again asked what had happened and he said she had been in a car accident, and that it didn’t look too good. I don’t know that I felt anything as I asked more questions. I do know about a million thoughts ran through my head, and that I did begin to pray.

I asked him how it happened. He said it looks like a transport was trying to pass another one and somehow this is when the accident occurred. He told me where it happened. I knew that area of the road. I knew it was bad, and there was always accidents there. I immediately started thinking about how stupid I was to let her drive alone. I started thinking about how I should have tried to talk her into staying until the morning. Then I would again pray. I wasn’t sure I believed in God, but I now all of a sudden sure wanted to, and I wanted him to make her okay.

It was a one and a half hour drive to the city, and although I am sure we were driving fast, it didn’t go fast. I asked him if he thought she was okay, and he would just say that it didn’t look good. I told him she just told me yesterday she was pregnant with my baby girl. I saw him let out a sigh. I was still praying.

Just past half way there I noticed all the lights flashing up ahead. As we pulled up I saw a transport over in the ditch on its side. There were cruisers all over the place, a couple of towing trucks. As we went past I saw little pieces of car all over the road. Near the trees off the road I saw what looked like a badly smashed version of her car, but also I was praying that some how this was a mix up. It wasn’t really her car.

I was stuck somewhere between being numb, not being able to breath, and disbelief as we pulled into the city. It didn’t seem real. You just want to wake up and give a giant sigh, wipe the sweat off your brow, then write it off as a horrible nightmare.

As we arrived at the hospital I saw my mothers car in emerg. I jumped out of the car and ran in as fast as I could. As I entered emergency and I saw the faces of my mom and her brother there, I knew. She is gone they said. I started getting angry. “What do you mean, she’s gone. She can’t just be gone! Like that’s it, GONE! What the hell is that, GONE! People DON”T just GO! goodbye, GONE!”

I said I wanted to see her and they said I shouldn’t. I said I had to and I did. I now wish I didn’t. I was given a fairly large dose of diazepam and went home and fell asleep.

The next day I had to meet with her family and help to make arrangements. I couldn't help feeling somehow I had let everyone down, and was responsible. I could barely look at her mother. I still wasn’t feeling much grief, just numb and hollow. My kids were drove back from the cottages by my mother and my uncle. Later that day I had to sit down with them and talk to them, tell them what had happened. My son instantly began to cry. My daughter just ran off into her room and locked the door.

I had always wondered how people felt when overwhelmed with grief at times like this. It wasn’t what I expected. Several times in the next few days I would say to myself, ‘I think I am handling this well, in fact, I don’t really feel too badly’. Then something happens or something is said, like when my son said during her wake, “She WAS my mom, and it just isn’t fair”, and then all of a sudden it sweeps over you like a tidal wave. My daughter had just basically shut it out. Didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to hear about it.

It is one thing to have to deal with your own grief and sorrow, but it is another all together to have to watch your children. My kids had had a lot to deal with already, with the illness of their biological mom, and now there was this.

I wish I could have had the kind of faith that my uncle had when his daughter passed, looking up to God and asking him to keep her okay. I didn’t. I don’t believe he/it exists. If he does exist, well I have since thrown enough rocks into the empty skies and called him names just in case, to let him know what I think of him.

About a week after that I drove out to the spot where it happened. I saw the thick black skid marks. I looked over along the side of the road, hoping maybe to find some little thing that might be a part of her. All I found were little pieces of glass and twists of metal.

It’s been a few years now, and as for the music, well, it has simply disappeared. I smashed my guitar into pieces some time ago. Many times in the last couple of years I have tried to write it again. I was just trying to write a children’s musical with a playwright friend of mine not long ago, but I couldn’t. I could make the words, but the music is just gone, and I don’t know if it will ever come back.

I honestly don’t think I will ever love again. I don't think I am capable of it, nor will I ever be. Part of me just up and left. Part of me, I believe, just completely disappeared with Christine that day, on the day the music died.

Well, that’s it, and now I am off to get really, really drunk...thanks for letting me use your space to write this out.

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My shrink says I have to start talking about it. Seeing as I can’t ever seem to talk to him or anyone else, here I am, talking about it with you, anonymously...or maybe am just typing it out to no one at all really...I don't really know.

My dear friend,

I just want you to know that, along with all the others who have viewed your posts in this forum, I've read every word of your touching story, and I am so very sorry to learn of all that you have lost.

While none of us can take away your pain, I sincerely hope that you'll find some relief in expressing and sharing it this way, and will take some small measure of comfort in knowing that here you are not alone in your sorrow.

Your therapist has given you sound advice. To make the process of mourning a healing one you must go through it actively, which means moving through it thoughtfully and working with it deliberately. Expressed grief can be worked with and released, but suppressed grief will torment you in ways you cannot control. Healthy, normal mourning is a long and deliberate process of honestly facing the reality of your loss, coming to terms with its impact on your life, learning to access all available sources for recovery, finding meaning in your loss, and continuing to live productively in the years that follow.

It does not matter that you are talking about this with us anonymously, my friend. What matters is that you have found a way to talk about it. By telling your story in such detail here, you are beginning the important work of processing your grief: thinking it through, sorting it out, getting it outside of yourself where you can expose it to the light of day and take a closer look at it. What matters is that you have begun, and we salute you for that.

We care deeply about you, my friend, we are here for you, and we stand ready to "hear" whatever it is that you need to say. Please keep writing . . .

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Dear NeedToWrite,

Sigh....what to say? I don't even know if you'll be checking for replies, as you've done what you set out to do - just write about your life story and its seemingly senseless tragedy. But I feel a dire need to respond anyway, as I was completely transfixed with each step of your journey. While I have my own tragedies to try and make sense out of, or just cope with as best I can, I'm still sensitive to your losses...maybe one of only very few 'positive' notes that come from the harshness for too many of us from this life on earth.

Having lived with a dedicated atheist in my first marriage, I don't wish to even touch on the subject of meaning of life's challenges with you, as I know how aggravating that seems to those without some kind of belief system. So my response must be limited because I would respect your views.

And so, I can only tell you that my heart wishes, as it does for anyone who is hurting so badly, for some kind of healing for you, although I'm sure it's going to be a very long road, if you can continue to travel it at all. However, I do think you've taken the first step already, even if it doesn't feel like it to you. You are obviously a wonderfully sensitive and deep man and because of that, I'd hate to see you spiral ever downwards, forever lost to this world. I believe there aren't yet enough people with such depth to begin with, which makes the present loss of your 'spark', so to speak, feel like a tragedy and a shameful loss all by itself, to me. I won't tell you that you were lucky or fortunate to have experienced such great love at all in your life, because, although I see the benefit to it, I'm not even sure myself whether having loved and lost is indeed a better thing or not. Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, and having to live with the pain of losing great love at some seemingly arbitrary point, just leaves me thinking neither 'system' is fair.....despite having retrospectively looked back to some events years later, or sometimes only months later, and seeing what appears to be good enough reasons in the bigger picture to explain the 'why's' at the time of those events.

Death of loved ones, however, remains mostly a mystery to me, as I'm sure it does to all but the sagest of us. And at that point, all I can offer is my sincere sympathy in the sudden and terrible loss of your Christine, shining light in all of your lives that she was. I'm truly sorry....

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Dear friend,

thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry for your loss. I hope that writing about it has helped you. A lot of people have read your story - you can see by the number of views - and you shouldn't think you were writing it for nobody. Please know there are people here who care and understand, and I hope you'll come back to this site. Being here has helped me a lot. Take care!

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Thank you for yours words, people.

Acceptance and Gifts

As yet another round of birthdays pass here in our house, my daughter's the other day, my son's tomorrow, and mine the day after, I am thinking today about how valuable our years, our days, our minutes really are.

I think we often take for granted what it is we are given, this gift of life. As a person who has seen their share of sorrow throughout the years, I will be the first to tell you how many times I felt let down by it, felt how unfair it has often been to me, and how I had truly lost sight of all the splendor it actually holds. There are so many of them sitting there right under our noses, life's beautiful wonders, but unless we choose to notice them, we never do come to appreciate them.

I guess the thing which makes it difficult to see this, is that life also carries with it a great deal of hardship and loss. If a person could weather the adversities and come to learn from them, then it might be possible to still really see the beauty it has to offer. This, I believe, is where we come to understand that it isn’t always fair, it isn’t always wonderful, and it often shows its dark side when we least expect it.

The other thing I am coming to realize is, that in my time I have been given a chance to have some of its most precious gifts. I have known what it is to truly love. I have come to understand the delicate fabric of nature, the many plants and animals whose worlds symbiotically co-exist within it in a harmonious joyful song. I see this every time I walk the trails out behind my cottage. I recognize the one person I briefly had a chance to know and truly love had the opportunity to see and appreciate it also. That was/is a gift for me, as it was for her. I have been blessed with two beautiful healthy children who also in their young lives understand and know about the depths of loss, while still being able to embrace the joy and wonder of life. I guess what it is for them to still appreciate these things couldn’t have come without their ability to accept. Here, I think, is where the balance lies. For the young it is often an innate ability. From them we can learn.

Balance is often a difficult thing for many of us adults. When I watch my own children and how they naturally deal with this, it amazes me. I have watched them out at the beach at our cottage spending hours working on some masterful sand castle, sculpting its towers, carefully smoothing its bridges and walls like true artists, filled with passion. Then still watched as the wind all of a sudden changed and a rogue wave rolled in and swept it all away in a brief instant. I would have expected them to be quite disappointed with such a turn of events, even to have cursed the wretched wave. But no, they laugh and run away down the beach to find some other wonder, maybe track down some turtles to be-friend for a few hours, or collect some tadpoles to bring back to show me. Whatever it is, I see they have just loved, lost, and moved on. There is MUCH we can learn by watching our children.

I think it is one thing to be able to reflect on this and try to make sense out of it. I think it is another thing all together to use this knowledge and insight and put it to practical use. I don’t think this is something you can plan for, in a ‘yes, I think I will start doing that…next week’ kind of way. Next week may not come for you or I. Next week life may decide to show you it's darker side. We really have no say in the matter. I think what we have to do is grasp what we have under our noses right now, right today, and make some kind of decision as to whether we are going to enjoy and appreciate its gifts, or curse its sorrows.

Today I decided to pack up the children and head out for a picnic beyond the cliffs where Lake Superior ends. This was the first place Christine and I ever had a date. Since her death I have not been able to go back to this quiet and peaceful place, this place we used to frequent. I think the children appreciated the magnificence of it, for it truly is breathtaking. And as for me, well, I think it is time to understand that as much as castles do get washed away, there are also a great many wonders in this world that still await us.

Peace to you,


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Yes there are those who read your posts...I haven't been able to read lately and am now catching up...

It is good to get everything out and not hold it in. You will find in this group a whole lot of us who do care about your pain.

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