Being born into and growing up in a loveless home was difficult for me. Being the middle child of three with an older brother and a younger sister, I always felt as though I needed to work extra harder to seek any type of approval; whether it was for affection, attention or just to be heard.  After speaking to many middle children, I know I am not alone in the way I was/am feeling. 

I remember receiving spankings because I was unhappy, sad, or simply crying and being told “if you want to cry, I’ll give you a reason to cry,” then remembering a leather belt being ripped from my father’s belt loops, being grabbed by one arm and spanked repeatedly with the other. This would go on for 10+ whacks, sometime more. I was lucky if I only gotten 10 whacks with a belt prior to bed.

As an adolescent, the rough behaviours did not subside, not only was I getting abused by one parent, but I would get abused by both and no one ever thought about saying something, or stopping the abuse, and if they did, I am sure that they would have felt ostracized for thinking or asking why two fully grown adults are abusing their children.  After all, today is nothing like it used to be. Today, people would go to jail or have their children taken away. Years ago, we did not have the supports or people looking out for children like in today’s world.

My beautiful grandmother seen, and I’m sure told my mother on a daily basis to treat me better, not be so rough and to stop beating on me, but that obviously did not happen. All my adolescent and teen years, I had been treated horribly, been tormented, teased, called horrible, despicable names and often punched by my mother for no apparent reason, other than she wanted to.  These actions were caused by the one person who was supposed to protect and me nurture me, be there for me when I needed her, someone I called “mother.”  Growing up with the live I had was like growing up in an earthquake.

I quickly became a nannie’s boy, my grandmother was the only person, I could count on, the only one who would protect me from the pain. Every opportunity to escape to my grandmother’s place, I took it. I looked forward to the escape, the freedom and not needing to put up with the bullying, even if it was a short while. Every school break, I visited with my grandmother. My parents liked this, I am sure, because it was an opportunity and perhaps an excuse to get rid of a child, especially the one they could care less for. One less mouth to feed, one less person to think and care about.

Being so close to my grandmother, she would buy me things, school clothing, school supplies and pretty much anything that I wanted or needed, this was not the same for my brother or sister.  They did not cherish her like I did, they did not have the same relationship we did.  However, when I would come home with new things, everyone would get mad, jealous or upset. Being a child myself, I never understood this, I did not know why…  My family would call me names, beat me up, treat me like a second-class citizen sometimes, it would be even worse, if you can imagine how, one would treat a second-class citizen… 

I visited my grandmother's house in the city from every break from school starting in elementary school all the way through high school, until my grandmother moved closer to us, then, I moved in with her.  I could not wait for her to move to the same area, so I could escape. I immediately decided to move out of my family home and move in with her, no more walking on eggshells, no more being called horrible names, no more worrying whether or not my mother would punch me in the face because of something I did or said wrong, or for simply wanting to escape the wrath of her, before, and after, or on my way out the door in the morning to go to school. I was called names, I remembered there was a period of time I ended up with an ingrown toenail.  Instead of taking me to the doctor, she would tramp on my ingrown toenail to make my foot bleed, and then as it was bleeding, she would stomp even harder applying all of her weigh on my foot because she liked seeing me hurt, cry and then get angry.  Yes, you read that right, I was in high school and was still being bullied by my “mother,” there were many times, I would call my grandmother, talk to my aunts and still nothing would happen, other than be tormented and beat up more than I already was when they did say something about our conversation or my telephone call. 

Not knowing what to do, or how to approach it, I did nothing. My family did not protect me, they did nothing... I'm hopeful that they thought about doing something, perhaps they themselves did not know how to go about it? - who knows.  All I know that the behaviours I endured back then, would never pass in today's world.  

Not long after I moved out, my parents’ house, their marriage fell apart, this of course had nothing to do with the absence of me, but everything to do with my mother and father not being in a monogamous marriage. I had always thought that they were unfaithful to one another, but I recall many incidences where my mother would be fondling my sister’s boyfriends, or boys she would bring home. She loved to flirt with anyone who paid her attention. In fact, her current boyfriend of 20-some years is a guy my sister was seeing and would come to our house all the time and more so on the weekends as my parents always drank on the weekends. I found out many years later that this was a common occurrence. However, I digress…

Throughout my entire life, my parents drank heavily every weekend, 40 oz’ers of booze, lots of parties and always a house full of people, and believe me when I say, “every weekend, I mean every weekend.” All though I was the child that neither parent wanted, needed, or cared for, I was the only mature one out of the three of us, and known as Cinderfella (like Cinderella, but for a boy). I was the only one of the three of us told, not asked to clean the house, vacuum the floors, and wash the dishes daily, however, I was never allowed to touch the washing machine.  The one thing I wanted to do; I was not allowed to touch.  There were some weeks, I would not see the same piece of clothing more than twice or so a month.  If I did not do what was demanded of me, again, I was punched, or slapped upside the head, hit, and or chased to my room or told to get "outside." Outside was my mother’s favorite thing to tell us to do, apart from grabbing anything she could get her hands on and smacking us, with it until it broke. Then saying, “see what you made me brake?” then yelling at us for it. Like we had a choice in any of it. My brother and I were always chased outside to “blow the stink off of our asses,” as they used to love to say. Being chased outside and not allowed to come back inside until dark or the streetlights came on was a regular occurrence, regardless of when you were chased outside. My sister on the other hand, never asked to do anything, no chores, not being chased outside, nothing, would swear at everyone, or accuse my brother and I of lies, and we’d get grounded, or in trouble in some way for it.  She was the sweet angel (angel with horns, more like it, she seen how she could manipulate any situation, and she went for it, all the time. This too, was a regular occurrence.  When she was born, my mother so ecstatic that she had a baby girl, she immediately started calling me sister "honey" and a honey she is... (That comment of course sarcasm), she is now a 40+ year old dead beat, nothing going for her except for the lovely relationship she has with the one and only friend, her mother, and a boyfriend who she and social services supports.  Speaking of boyfriend… I mention this because there was a time that he had a lot to say about me on social media about my parenting style, for someone not even knowing, or ever meeting me, he had an awful lot to say.  I am told that he is a “character,” and “a huge drug addict.” It’s funny how he went on and on about my parenting but it’s my understanding that he has a son, who has absolutely nothing to do with him due to the drugs, and I’m sure other things. So, if I had one thing to say to you, it would be “those who live in glass houses should not be casting stones.” 

My sister and mother were always best friends, except for the time she stole her boyfriend, cheated on her father and broke up her happy home. I remember her asking to come live with her mother when she and her boyfriend started living together and that did not happen.  After she moved out of our family home, not one of her children had anything to do with her, except for this dummy.  The other two were angry, heart broken and did not talk to her for a very long time. I on the other hand, seen an in, I guess and was the only child that had anything to do with her.  I seen the damage, the destruction and cheating, the endless drinking and partying, not to mention the abuse.  Abuse for me, the abuse for one another. Their marriage, our childhood was a fucking horror show.  They just did what they did – and we had to… take it. 

I recall vividly, being in a mood or not wanting to put up with my families shit one day, and swore at my mother, she swung at me, I fled her flailing fists, not sure how I got passed her and escaped to the outside, well she chased after me, I told her “I was calling nan," and due to all the calling I did to my nan and never having any money (because an allowance was never given to us), my nan gave me a calling card to use at a payphone.  Wow, remember when payphones were a thing?  Sounds crazy saying and writing such a thing.  Well, she did not like me telling her I was calling nan “again,” she got into her car and chased me up the hill to the main road trying to stop me from calling and telling my grandmother what was going on and how I was being treated – daily.  She turned off the dirt road where we lived at the time and swerved to hit me, I was walking on the side of the road, not a sidewalk, but side of the road.  She swerved several times nudging me a time or two.  She kept yelling to me through the car window “get the fuck in this car.” Me yelling “No, I have had enough of the bulling.” this time, she pressed on the gas petal, I could hear the engine revving, I thought this time she was going to hit me, so I jumped into the ditch to protect myself.  However, I knew that once I went home that any punishment, I had coming to me would get even harder, than anticipated as she loved to inflict pain on me.

Another sequence of events I can recall, was we ended up moving from the house we were living into a smaller house about 10 or so minutes away.  My mother at this time, hated me, why?  Great question, I have no idea, just seemed to be a constant.  Regardless of what I did or didn’t do, did or didn’t eat, we could always get into arguments and fist fights.  One morning, I was getting ready for school and had a few minutes prior to the school bus coming, she started bulling me, like every other morning, I don’t know whether or not, I was fed up, cranky, or just didn’t want to deal with the bullshit this day.  We had a small entry way that housed a standalone stereo and stand on one side of the room, a wood fireplace on the nearby wall, and a deep freezer opposite of the stereo and stand.  She hauled off to punch me, and in a quick reaction phase to block her, I pushed her – she ended up falling backward and landing on top the stereo, I knew at this point it was my opportunity to flee and make my way to the school bus.  These types of actions happened regularly, too regularly if you asked me. I am not sure how or why I never thought of, or attempted suicide. It would definitely been an easier way to escape. 

Fast forward a few years, I was the only one from my immediate family to graduate high school. I would have to say that being in my brother’s shadow in school was challenging most times. The upside of being in school, was escaping my mother and sister, but my older brother was usually in my class (whether it was a split class or the fact he was held back.) Escaping my older brother at times was difficult for me, he too was a bully and had a lot of friends, most who I wanted to associate and be friends with, but he would not allow me most times - then it was those who my brother was friends with who he would have make fun of me and then laugh in my face. He would have all my friends call me "gay, or fag" or other type of derogatory names, and/or act things out to hurt my feelings.  You would think that with all the bullshit I had to endure at home, I would have tougher feelings, or none at all?! 

Going into high school, my brother dropped out, school was not for him, he did not do the work, and most times did not understand it.  After not having him at my school, my classroom, my space and not surrounded by his friends, I was able to feel relieved. Because, overall, I enjoyed school, majority of my teachers, my friends, and the activities and foolishness we would get up to in class - I was always up for a laugh and act silly! I guess, this was my escape from my daily routine, my everyday life, and I did not want to have to compete for this at school like I did at home. 

Being from a small town, there was not always a lot to do, most of the stores were closed or closing, so after graduating high school, I decided to escape, move to the city of Halifax, this was a time in my life when I could be free, get away, be myself, be who I wanted to be, no judgement, no ridicule, no bullying, no one making fun of me, no more abuse.  I moved to Halifax to attend college. For the first time in my live, I felt liberated. In college and later in university, I met some great friends while attending both institutions. In fact, one of my friends from college moved in with me and I had my very first roommate - we had a great time.  We had a great time, and many laughs as roommates and school classmates!

While at college, I studied computer science, it was not a course that I understood and not a class I enjoyed studying. A few months into my first year, I decided that computer science was not for me. I withdrew from college and instead enrolled and attended university and studied and received a bachelor’s degree in business.  I knew that this was ultimately the right choice for me.

Throughout the next few years, like most adults, I dated off and on and thought that marriage and children were in my future – but that never happened. However, years later an opportunity presented itself to become a parent and I jumped on it. 

During this timeframe, my adult sister, still no responsibilities, no job, sleeping around with different guys, still being a bully in my hometown to passer-byers and to those she calls friends, got pregnant with twins. My sister and her then boyfriend gave birth to a baby boy and a baby girl. Every parent’s dream, twins, a boy and a girl. But two weeks after they were born, their baby girl passed away to what they believed was Sudden Infant Syndrome (SIDS.) This being a devastating loss, she and her then boyfriend broke up, which now leaves her caring for a two-week-old boy alone and not knowing how to cope with the loss of her daughter. Friends and family members told me that she wished that the baby boy passed instead of the baby girl, I was told that “she had a deeper connection with the baby girl not the baby boy.”  However, to get back to the previous story, as my nephew grows up in an abusive household, he endured this for nearly five years. I was told that is being ignored, abandoned, locked into his room as his mother does not want to get out of bed, sleeping all day, parting all night. My nephew had no time to connect or bond with his mother as she has checked out, no longer wanting him, not wanting to be a parent. She takes her frustrations and anger out of her infant son.  She abuses, shakes, and constantly swears at and to him.  This time, a family members decide to get involved, seeing how he is being treated triggers them, these actions look all too familiar, to some family members, they could no longer stand it and called the Department of Social Services (DCS) to report what is happening to this little boy, not just once but multiple times. DCS starts investigations and over a period of a year or so, remove my nephew from his home several times however, he is typically placed back in her care, although as things get worse at home Social Services are now removing him for the last and final time.  Can you remember the days of MSN messenger and ICQ, I mention these platforms, as this is how I found out that this situation was happening. Keep in mind, I was never very close to my sister. I moved away and liked it like that, we talked when we seen each other, but I did not go out of my way to have a relationship with her. Not having much exposure to her, my niece or nephew, this information was brought to light from an extended family member. I was beyond shocked and very inquisitive as to what was happening, I decided to reach out my sister. Even though in my earlier years, I did not like, or care for my family, I kept in touch with them periodically, you know – this is what family is supposed to do…  I guess, I did love my family in my own way, from afar.

She had told “me that she could no longer care for her son, as she believed that there was something behavioral and mentality wrong with him." During our telephone conversation we chatted about whether or not she knew what she was doing, what she was going to do, and what was going to happen - what was the big picture?! All she could talk about was no longer wanting to care for her son. I told her that I would not want to see anything happen to him or would hate to see him go to a foster family or get separated from the family and at that exact moment, I selfishly told her that I would take him. Immediately, I thought what am I getting myself into? What did I just say, what am I about to do? She explained that no one was able or willing to care for him in the immediately or extended family and because of that she was going to give parental rights away to DCS.  Again, not knowing what I was getting myself into, my mind started wondering and racing, I immediately started thinking of him and what was to happen to this poor little boy.  All I knew at that moment was that I could not allow her to give up on this toddler and send him to some foster family, or worse a detention home, I had the ability to look after and care for him, give him a better life that he would get otherwise. I told my sister, that "I would raise and adopt him." I also mentioned to her that if I took care of this little boy, she was not getting him back, there was going to be no remorse, no pulling on this little boy's heart strings, she agreed.  That Monday morning, I called DCS and set up a meeting to meet with the case worker for the next available date available, to see if I would be able and eligible to become this little boy's caretaker.  The case worker told “me that they needed to remove him from his mother's place immediately due to a fear something was going to happen to him," and that "they did not want to place him into a foster family, just to try to place him with other families over and over again should something ever happen." Within the next few minutes of our telephone conversation, I had an appointment for Wednesday morning, two days after my call. Not understanding the fact that I could become an instant father, I met with DCS two days later and after a few hours into my meeting, I was approved to become my nephew's legal guardian. In said meeting, I was told that in the interim of our initial telephone call and our meeting, my nephew was placed with my father and his fiancé indefinitely. Following my meeting with DCS, I drove to my father's place to gather my nephew and his belongings, later that day he came home to live with me.  I became a single parent within 72 hours. I was super excited and nervous all at the same time. 

The next few years were hard and painful. Raising a child as a single parent who did not live near any family, nor have a lot of friends who were able to help with day-to-day things was very difficult. There were a lot of restrictions I placed on myself, not realizing what I was in for, how to care for a complex toddler and his situation in advance. All I was thinking about during our initial telephone conversation was helping this little boy, I did not want what happened to me when I was younger to happen to him. I knew I needed to break the vicious cycle.

The next few weeks were difficult, working and trying to raise a toddler alone. I placed my now son, into daycare near my work, however, doing this was a grave mistake. The daycare instructed me that he was a bully and that he was no longer welcome. Not knowing what I should be doing, I thought that maybe if I bonded with this little boy things would become better, easier for us both, he could feel stable, loved. Plus, in my mind, I knew in a few months he was starting grade primary for the first time. I needed him to feel secure, welcomed, loved.  Maybe this would help?!   

I decided to leave my place of employment and took six months off from work to bond with my new son. I did not know what he went through other than what I heard through gossip and secondhand information. All I knew is he had gone through many changes in a very short period of time, being removed from his mother, his grandfather and coming to live with someone he barely knew, at this time, I have only seen him a small handful of times.  We needed to bond, get to know one another, have him trust me, we ended up doing a lot of fun things and laughed a lot, however, this was not enough.

Fall was now upon us, and school was about to start, I needed to get back to work, however there were many hiccups. The hiccups were very prominent through the first day of school, the following week, and months following. School was painful for him, the environment, all the children that were being bullied by him. The administration staff were concerned about his tantrums, his behaviours, his actions when it came to not getting his way or trying to socialize with his peers. This appeared to be a constant issue, the principal had advised “me unless I got him tested for autism, turrets, and fetal alcoholism syndromes, he would no longer be able or allowed to attend that school."  I was devastated to hear this, what do I do? My son was removed from school for a period of time until he was seen by health care professionals, I consulted with a family lawyer - how is it fair that an infant child does not get to be educated and taught by a public school system because of what his principal thinks? The principal believed that there were underlining conditions and that he needed to be medicated. Of course, there were underlining conditions, the poor kid was abused, neglected by his mother, she no longer wanted to care for him, or want him. By this time, and by the conversations we were having, I knew cognitively he was old enough to know and remember was happening to him, and the toll it was taking on how he was treated. I am sure this poor child was scared for his life.  I decided with all the new information I had to contact DCS for assistance, we were referred to the IWK Hospital and seen many specialists.  We met with several medical professionals, including a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a therapist and respite services to help this toddler to try to cope with life.  The next few years of school were a nightmare.  One-on-one his behaviours were great, however, placed in a group environment such as school, daycare, after school programs or with a sitter with more than one child, things became very unsettling, and escalated very quickly.  Once seeing the specialists, the principal and administrative staff welcomed him back with the assistance him with a IPP (they created an Individual Program Plan) for him, even with the IPP, a teacher's assistant and other supports in place, I was still back and forth to his school which seemed like a daily/weekly occurrence over the next few years. Being called to the principal’s office on a daily/weekly basis made my career difficult to manage. However, over the years, having the right people and supports in place, I was able to somewhat balance being a single parent and work life. I was finally able to start to breath. After elementary school, my son was starting to find his own balance, his behaviours and actions became less and less severe, I noticed he started liking school, meeting new friends, liking his teachers, etc. I am very proud to say that he graduated from high school at the age of 17. 

Throughout our lives together, we had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of falling outs, we both have very strong personalities, one head strong and never wanting to give in, and the other always fighting and swearing as if he knew what those words meant.  Sometimes, the swearing came from on both ends. If I were to say I had any regrets, I would say I have a huge one – I should never have allowed my “predator to be present in my home.” especially with my underaged child. The predator, enjoys/enjoyed the company of minors, (I am not sure it’s because he’s a pedophile, or that he thinks like a child), but nevertheless have I thought that things would have turned out the way they have…  

My ex-friend, for the purpose of this story, let’s refer to him as “predator,” who was in his 40's at the time, started treating and behaving as if my now teen son, who was his crush. Mentally, I think he thought that if they were not together, that perhaps one day they would be, if he treated him nice and bought him all kinds of things. The predator at the time, had feelings for anyone who would pay him any time of attention. He ended up having a lot of under aged partners throughout the years that I knew him.  I explicitly remember telling the predator “If he wanted to remain in my son’s life, he was to do it as a “parental figure”, not a as a friend, a lover or anything else." He agreed, however, that too went sideways. The predator got my son into video games as a way for them to always be connected in one form or another, they would be constantly playing online or games with each other, but gaming is not all that took place when they were playing games.  The predator wanted to be involved with my teen son as much as he could, he always wanted to take him shopping, to buy him whatever he wanted (regardless of what he wanted). Keep the child happy was his mantra.  Being a single parent, I guess I did not see it at first, because I had two businesses on the go, and was always working, to have someone available for my son, made me feel less stressed, I thought I could count on the ex-friend to be available for me, for us both. 

Personally, I feel and still do this day think it was a bizarre dynamic.  The predator always told my son to do the opposite of what I instructed, regardless of if it benefited him or not. He became very clingy. I remember one day, after having a meltdown with my son, and an argument with the predator, I knew that the two of them were always plotting and doing things unbeknownst to me, so I took my son’s mobile phone and pretended to be him, and said “Oh my god, dads at it again, he told me that I cannot have any communication with you.” His response was “well, you don’t need to tell him that we are chatting, if you delete the text messages, he will never know.” Right then and there, I suspected and now knew that he was being a bad influence on my son, and I needed to separate the two. As much as I tried to keep them apart, to keep the predator out of our lives, tell him he was not welcomed or to come around. The harder he tried to be involved and come around.  The more I tried to separate the two, the closer they became. You know how the old story goes, try to keep them apart, they want to be come closer, I guess this also applies to everyone!

One evening, my son and I got into a fight because the predator, again, as again and unbeknownst to me, the predator got my son a job at the IT firm where he was employed, and not sure how long, but discussions were had, and plans were made to have him work there.  The only indicator which I had of this event was when I asked the predator to leave my house one night, he said to my son, “I will pick you up in the morning.” I asked “why, what’s going on in the morning that I am not aware of,” my son replied, “I am going to start working with his office.”  I replied, “No, you cannot do that and why is this the first I am hearing of this?” I tried to explain in order to have a job, you need to have a social insurance number first, neither of them got that. My son flew off the handle thought I was being a “dick” yet again, I am sure he would say "as usual" he started fist fighting with me. Losing his temper, he first picked up something from the coffee table and whipped it at my head, seeing it coming I ducked, I did not know that my puppy was directly behind me on the back of the sofa, whatever he had in his hand, hit her and I immediately got up and said to him that he needs to watch what he is doing. Fist fighting or being aggressive was a regular occurrence, it was not the first time, it would be the last. I tried to talk to him, but the more I said the more he didn’t want to hear it, as I am talking his arms and fists are flailing, I attempted to restrain him and try to get him to calm down, to see reason, he ended up scratching my arm and punching me in the face.  Trying to have an actual conversation with him after the predator was gone was always challenging, they would always be planning and being sneaky about it. But flying off the handle and becoming frustrated was a constant for him, if he did not get his way, he became very erratic, off the wall (so to speak).  However, during this incidence, I needed him to understand that until a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card was requested, and, in his hand, he was not legally able to work – it was against the law. He went into the nearby washroom very distraught and agitated and started punching himself in the face. I could hear the punches through the door even at 10+ feet away and there were a lot of them. He loved to self-harm as this was good for attention. I tried to open the washroom door multiple times, however, in between punches to himself he was holding the doorknob, so I could not get into the bathroom to see what he was doing. After about 40+ punches to his face, I was able to get him out of the washroom, I was able to get him to calm down and he sat on the sofa and watched TV with me as if nothing even happened. All while plotting his next move. He sat and watched TV with me and our puppy, we made small talk, had snacks, then shortly thereafter it was his “bedtime.” After all was calm and I had a moment, I sent his homeroom teacher an email explaining what just transpired, what my son was doing to himself and that there is a 99.9% chance that in the morning he was not going to have a good day at school. I needed him to know this may be what’s going to happen because essentially, I knew I would be receiving a call from his homeroom teacher asking what happened, or if I knew what was happening with him.

The following day, he got up and got ready for school, as if nothing happened the evening before. Only difference this time, was he never came home after school. After him not arriving home like usual, I called him on his mobile phone and did not get an answer, I thought something was going on, so I called the predator to ask where my son was and advised that I wanted to speak to him, I was told “no, he does not want to speak to you.”  I immediately called the police department, because now I have had enough of their foolishness. I thought that I knew where my son was located, the police constable went to the predator’s place, but he was not there, the police constable had been advised they were staying with the predator’s boss, and now my son's current boss because he already started working there that day after school. I could not believe that a grown man owing a company let an underaged child without a SIN card to work for his company. Later, I was told that my son was staying at his new boss’s house, because the predator thought I would come looking for him at his house and being the loser that he is, he did not want an altercation with me. He also knew I did not know where their boss lived. 

The one thing I find extremely funny was that the police constable told me I was in care and control over my teen aged son, but he could not force him to come home because he was over the age of 16. How does someone become in “care and control” over someone when they have no contact with as they are no longer living at home or wishing to talk to you?  I never quite figured this one out!  

During the same telephone conversation, the police constable indicated “that no one wanted to press charges at this time,” I asked why would anyone want to press charges?  The predator and my son have been scheming for a while and this was their end result.  I later found out that my teen aged son, had been telling people around him, including family members that - the evening in question prior to him moving, that I beat him, punched him in the face multiple times, which is the reason why he had bruises on his face. 

After not coming home for days, my son decided to have police constable call me and ask if he can come to collect some of his belongings and that I should know that he wanted to be escorted because he was “afraid of me." I told the constable of course he can come home anytime he wanted to.  The police constable planned to “pop-by” later that afternoon when school commenced to get some of his belongings. He came into the house, then went directly to his bedroom, grabbed a few clothes and his computer, keyboard, headset, no medication, no x-box, no x-box games, and no personal effects and left everything else behind. As he was on his way out the door with the police constable, I said to him, if you don’ t plan on being here, then I want my housekeys back. You will not be coming and going as you please. He took the house key and the mail key off of his key ring, passed them to the police constable, she placed them on the foyer table then they left. The day he left the house was the last time I had seen him in years.

The same police constable who called to indicate she was escorting him home, was the same police constable I had spoken to numerous times before as she was the police constable who patrolled the high school that he attended, she was aware of who he was, his behaviours, actions, and demeanors as she saw him daily and was involved with him a lot due to his actions at school.  She told me that “she was fearful for my son’s life when I comes to the predator.” She knew stories and seen him at the school a lot, she was wondering why a 40+ man would be hanging around a teen aged boy and interacting with him as much as he does. I told her “I was attempting to separate the two.” She then asked, “if she could call me with updates,” I said “Absolutely, of course. I would love that!” We kept in touch until the school year commenced. 

A few months later, his grade 12 school year ended, and graduation was coming about. I am sure due to the predator manipulating him, was the reason, I did not go to, or get invited to his high school graduation. I did not want to go and have him upset.  I missed one of joyous occasions all because of some bullshit, manipulation and people who had “lots to say behind my back.”  Not once have I heard from anyone with any questions as to what happened.  You know that every story has three sides. Yours, mine, and the actual facts.
Fast forward three years - I was visiting the area, my son had seen me and politely waived, I waived back from a distance. Later he came to find me and asked me “why I was visiting, and if we could talk.” – I have to admit that the encounter was very awkward for me, I was nervous to see and talk to him. Why was he chatting to me now? I told him “Of course.” We made small talk for a few moments, then he walked away, I thought that was the extent to our pleasantries, however later that night we seen one-another again, he asked "if I could give him a drive home," I drove him home, but prior to doing so, I asked if he wanted to go for a drive and chat, he said “yes,” and we had a long drive and an even longer chat, he told me that he was no longer talking to the "predator" and that he was “sorry for the situations we went through years ago that he played a part in.”  I have to admit that it was nice chatting with him after so much time had passed – we both ended up apologizing to each other for what happened and for the things that was said and done. I told him “I knew that the actions he took was not of his own doing, and that I was never upset with him for what transpired.” He told me “He knew he was a difficult child to raise, and he was sorry,” then said, “that he loved me.” After everything that happened, even though I did not fully understand what transpired years ago and why I was completely cut off, I was happy to see he was okay and to hear that he was thinking of, or still loved me. I told him “That I loved him, and if he ever needed anything, he could always call me or reach out, I would be there for him.”

Prior to my son moving out of our family home, I was periodically still talking to my mother, giving her updates as to what was happening with my son, at that time she did not appear to be judging me, however, I should have known better.  When she would refer to him, she would call my nephew/now my son, her daughter’s son, even when she knew that she did not want him, care for him, or had anything to do with him. My nephew was five when he came to reside with me, and at 17 when he moved. His mother had nothing to do with him, not one telephone call, only one visit when he was six or seven years old, no further visits happened. All of which her mother knew. But knowing it annoyed me, she constantly called her daughter my son’s mother. We all know giving birth to someone does not qualify you to be a parent, especially if you are not in your child’s life. 

I kept my mother at an arm’s reach after the fact. We talked not a lot but when we did, it would be to tell her or ask her to do something for my grandmother, as my grandmother did not like to ask for things, so if it was urgent or something that could not wait until my visit, I would call and ask my mother to be involved with her mother as she needed something. My grandmother end up having a few medical appointments and not doing well, and my mother at the time was the sole person I could get information from when it came to my grandmother, especially since I was so far away. 

My grandmother ended up having a stroke a few months before and was found wondering around outside in her night gown at her apartment complex in a very cold and frosty month of March. The grounds keeper found her and ended up calling 9-1-1. She was then rushed to the hospital and then when released, my mother and her brother decided that she would move from her apartment where she lived for 20+ years, and in with him, so that he and his wife could care for her. It all happened so quickly, she did not want to move to her son’s place, she wanted to stay at her home. She had no say in the matter, even though her stroke was very mild, and she was okay, still talking, and coherent, they called her landlord to advise she was moving and by the end of the week, she was living with her son and his wife, and her mother. I don’t know how they came to this decision; my uncle had his wife’s mother living with them in a two-bedroom bungalow.  Moving her in with them meant that that someone would be without a bedroom. It’s my understanding that they rigged up a bedroom from what used to be their living room. Since they took over the living room space as a bedroom, this meant that my grandmother was moving into her son and daughter in law’s tiny bedroom. The room was very tiny, very tight for the furniture she had available to her. Once her bed and dresser was in the room there was barely any room for anything else, they squeezed in a TV and a stand, along with a rocking chair in the room. This was her life now. Since moving her in to her tiny new living quarters, she was mostly alone. No one engaged with her a lot, her daughter in law did for a few months. They did crafts, painting etc., then it just kind of stopped, no one ever really paid much attention to her. I would travel pretty much on a weekly basis 330 + kms to visit with her, plus we would talk 5+ nights a week on the phone. Being concerned for my grandmother, I had a conversation with my aunt, who assured me, that my grandmother was in great hands, she would be well care for and would be with them, until up to and including the time she passed. She lied to me about taking care of my grandmother until she passed, she was admitted into the hospital nearly two months before and stayed there until she passed.  Her daughter in law said, “She nor her husband, my uncle could no longer care for her,” the way I seen it, they didn’t do a lot prior to her going into the hospital either.

My grandmother and I have had many conversations about why she disliked living at her son’s place. I was shocked to know that four adults who lived under the same roof, could not interact, or involve my grandmother in household things, or sit with her to watch TV or invite her to a “movie night.”  It was like she was still living on her own and no one was visiting. She sat in her room day in and day out, she became less and less coherent. She ended up with another stroke and possible the start of dementia. My uncle and his wife decided at this time they could no longer care for a woman that they ignored for months on end. She was admitted into the hospital and stayed there for several months prior to her passing.  It's my understanding that they were waiting for a long-term care facility to have a bed available, but that never happened. After being in the hospital and bedridden for many months, my poor grandmother, decided that this was not the live she wanted and stopped eating and drinking, I’m sure there was more to the story which I am not aware of, as she may have been having mini strokes, etc. The month prior to my grandmother’s passing, I visited the hospital where she was staying and decorated her room for Christmas (as much as I was allowed), then a few weeks later, we, as a family celebrated one last Christmas together – my grandmother was happy, laughing, and enjoyed her time, then the following month, she passed away. My entire world was flipped upside down she passed away.  

The morning she passed; I received a social media message from my aunt while at work advising that “everyone was being called into the hospital for my grandmother’s last rights.” Unbeknownst to me anything was even happening, as I had been home for a few days, my last visit a few days before, nothing had been wrong. I sought out my manager, told her “I had to leave,” as I was saying these words, - a huge ball of emotions got me, and I immediately started to tear up. I packed up my office, went home and quickly packed my puppy's belongings and packed a bag of clothing for myself, including funeral clothes, as I had no idea of any plans or what was happening.

As I am on the highway traveling to the hospital where she was, I texted my mother and asked her “if she was with my grandmother, to let her know that I was on my way and to make her aware that I was on route.” She responded, “sorry honey, she passed away 15 minutes ago.” There was clearly no consideration for me, my grandmother’s favorite person in the world. I pulled off on the side of the road, to weep, I collect my thoughts and get back in my SUV and continued my travels. I get to the hospital and only one family member was with her, not my mother, not my uncle, no one. My mother lived less than 1km away and on the day of her mother passing, she was nowhere to be found. I called her, she did not sound as though she was grieving, she was still in her night gown, enjoying her morning as if nothing happened. I traveled for over 155 kms, and I got to the hospital before most people. I get there, I called my mother to ask if she was coming to the hospital, I waited nearly 15 more minutes before my mother even bothers to shows up. We made plans to walk into the hospital together, as we approached the doorway to hospital room, she immediately starts to cry, putting on the grieving sad daughter face, so that people would console her. As I walked towards my grandmother’s hospital room I seen an image of a dove on her door, I immediately froze, I became sick with emotion, I then walked through the doorway at this time my mother is crying, as I walked through the door, I consoled my sobbing mother with a hug and kiss, we both cried.  

We waited a long time for my grandmother’s other daughters to arrive.  The nursing staff said that they would allow us to say “our good-byes” prior to removing her from the room. We sat in the hospital room and forced a conversation with one another, as there was really nothing to talk about. Then I ask my mother “what was the plan that she has passed - when was the funeral,” she said “there was not going to be a funeral, nor a service, nor a wake, but instead they were having a “gathering” at my uncle and aunt’s place” - in their tiny kitchen. When I heard what was happening, I immediately asked “why” – “why was this happening?” – “Why no funeral, why no service, why?”  My mother replies “no one has a service anymore, no one goes to them.” I was immediately upset. LIKE FUCK no one goes to them. She asked if I was going to go to my uncle and aunt's place for the gathering. Shortly after the fact, my other people started arriving to say their goodbyes in the hospital.  I am not sure if anyone knew prior to their goodbye visit that there was a gathering at my uncle and aunt’s place, as I think everyone was shocked. The nurses explained that they now needed to remove the body from the room. After the visit from the nursing staff, my mother asked again, if I was heading to my uncle and aunt’s place because I did not answer previously, I was in shock I guess, I did not know what to say or how to answer at the time. I should have immediately said no, but I did go, we left the hospital and met at my uncle and aunt’s place for a sham type funeral service. 

When arriving to my uncle and aunt’s place, I was in shock to see it was a kitchen style party with over 30 people crammed in it. I guess for me, the icing on top of the cake so to speak, was when I get there, everyone was already rummaging through her belongings like they were at a flea market. All I heard was “do you want this; do you want that…” going through her photo albums photo by photo, did you want this photo, how about this one… Then as they were rummaging through her belongings like vultures, my cousin, spoke up and said she “wanted to read something for nan."  She started crying even before starting to read some dumb and forced verse that she wrote. Now when I say, “dumb and forced verse,” I mean it was the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard, she was saying things that were 100% not true, she was sobbing as if she liked my grandmother, and my grandmother liked her. My grandmother could not stand my cousin. My grandmother had a huge family, lots of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even great great grandchildren, all of which she tried to kept in contact with and would even buy them all birthday and Christmas presents on a yearly basis, however, rarely would she ever get one in return from her extended family. My uncle speaks up, “well you must have something you want to say about your grandmother, Craig, you were the closest to her,” I responded, “I do not have anything that I need to say, nor do I want any of her belongings that you guys are rummaging through, everything I need from my grandmother, I have right here.” as I point to my heart.

Being absolutely appalled by the charade that was currently happening, I turned around and left the tiny kitchen flea market. A few moments later, I received a text message from my cousin, asking “if everything was, Okay?” I responded “NO, nothing is ok, you guys are acting like you are at a flea market merely an hour after nan’s death. – Have some class!”

Later that evening, after being surrounded by close friends, I posted a photo collage and this on social media, “At 10:43 a.m., January 25, 2019, my grandmother, passed away as I was on my way to the hospital where she stayed. The world will never be the same without her in it. Heaven got a new angel, so sweet and innocent. She is forever in my heart. Rest in Peace. - March 27, 1931- January 25, 2019.”

Since that day of my grandmother’s passing, I have not spoken to my mother, or her family since. Not speaking a word to my now dead-to-me family, my mother was still following me on social media.  On January 22, 2020, (nearly a year later) - I receive this social media message from her:

“Hi, I just wondering how you’re doing. I haven't heard from you in almost a year. I was wondering if you would like to have some of Mom’s ashes, if so let me know ok! I hope to hear from you soon. I miss you, xo.”

Not only was I shocked and appalled to get this message a year later – especially after having no communication since the day of my grandmother’s death, but to get this message… really?! “ashes” – “hope to hear from you” - “miss you” - “xo” – What the fuck is happening!? Did I just enter the twilight zone?! What was I missing? These are all the questions running through my head. I did not respond to this social media message right away, nor did I know if I was going to respond, and if I did respond what was I going to say, especially after all this time. I had a few conversations with friends about the message received and they thought I should respond with how I really felt, no holds bar, so to speak.  So, on May 1st, (nearly 3+ months later) after pondering what I would say, I decided to respond: 

“I have written this letter in my head a few hundred times and on paper a few more, but I just could not find myself sending it until now. I am not sure if you are aware, but any Mental Health practitioner will tell you in order to address things that bother you, you should write it down and then burn the paper when done – as it will give you closure, however, this just never really worked. 

I want to bring your attention to our last conversation we had in August 2016, you were so rude, condescending and just didn't listen to anything I had to say, to be honest it was really the last time that I wanted to speak with you. You, along with countless others who don't need to named decided to take it upon yourself to ruin my reputation and bad mouth me to anyone who would listen. Listening to what you were saying and how you made me feel reminded me how you used to talk to me, your behavior and how you treated me as a child. You tormented me, attempted to run me over with your car making me jump in ditches to avoid being hit, fist fighting with me on a daily basis before and after-school, just to name a few... Everything just came rushing back to me. I'm not sure, what I ever did to you to deserve this treatment from my own mother? I don't think that you and I actually got along until later on in life. When you got with your boyfriend, I remembered that I was the only one there for you, not your other two children which was obviously a very emotional time in your life and for what I can remember they did not come around to you for a very long time after the fact. However, during these times, I was the one there for you, I was the one able to overlook and forgive you, but not forget how you treated me throughout the years, as the hurt was still there, just buried. You were vulnerable, you finally treated me like your child, I was happy to finally have a mother. Then fast forward many years later to when my son came to live with me in 2004, our bond became stronger, or so I thought. 

I've always told you through the years all the issues that I was having with my son and there have been a lot that I dealt with alone. I raised him to the best of my abilities, and 100% alone. Then years later he comes to you to vent (venting like we all do at times) but you all had to bad-mouth me for months on end and instead of calling and talking to me about any of these concerns/comments, it was just simply believed that I was the bad guy. My son never wanted for anything. He had the best video games, video consoles, boxes full of comic books, multiple cell phones, the best name brand sneakers, and clothing. I had provided for him, he always had whatever he wanted to eat and a very expensive roof over his head. Yes, he did chores, but he got an allowance on a weekly basis. So, when you and your no-good daughter took it upon herself to bad-mouth me yet again to my friends, I can say I’ve had enough. 

A long time had passed since our telephone conversation in 2016, and all the backstabbing done by you two since, I was willing to overlook, because, hey - we're family and overlooking things is what families do. I thought we could overcome it. However, when I was in the area and visited with you, you made me feel very awkward, again, like I didn’t belong, and I didn't feel welcomed, so I decided to stay away. Then all the stuff happened with Nan, the only person that ever gave me unconditional love and support. Since her passing, I have had no-one to confide in or console me. I felt all alone. There was even a time that Nan and I didn't speak because of all your foolishness which you were telling her about me. We did not talk for almost six weeks, then she called me when she was very sick to apologize. I didn't even know how sick she was?! I lost so much time with her because of you, which is time I wish I had back.

Then she passes away, there was no funeral, no burial, no mourning, nowhere to grieve, you took all of this away. The role you played throughout this process was horrible, you took everything away from me (I'm including the life insurance, her death certificate and the entire funeral home shit show which you orchestrated.) Then mere hours after her death there was a sham gathering in your brother’s tiny kitchen which had everyone rummaging through her belongings like they were at a flea market, telling stories as if they knew, loved and honored her. - You all broke her heart in so many ways. I could not stand there any longer and listen to this foolishness. All of you, (her children) should be ashamed of yourselves for the way that you treated her throughout the years. I hope that you all are happy with yourselves. 

The reasons listed above are reasons why I have decided to remove myself from you and your family. I no longer want to have anything to do with you or your family. These past few years have been horrible, and majority of it is due to you! That's why this will be the last time that you hear from me. 

I need a new start – and in order to get this you need to know my feelings. I have always thought my son and I had a lot in common, and we do! The largest thing is we both have really shitty mothers. 

Don't feel the need to respond to this message, as I won’t be reading. - C.”

Re-reading this message, I know the above letter was a bit harsh, I needed her to hear me and what I was saying. – I am sure she did – as months later, October to be precise, I decided to run in the municipal election as a Councillor for my area for which I did not win, and after doing social media posts, prior to the elections, she and her boyfriend seen a social media posting and decided to write a snide and cruel comments on it, and started making a mockery of my candidacy and running me down on social media. My dead-to-me sister’s moronic boyfriend told me on social media, “That I made my mother cry.” My response was “haha, that’s a funny one, only crocodile tears – for show ONLY.” Then there was more nonsense spewed by him, my dead-to-me sister and dead-to-me mother. The one thing I recall like it was yesterday was, something my dead-to-me mother posted in the bashing conversation on social media to friends of mine who were defending my honour, was “he’s a totally different person now. I bet you would not say the things to your mother that he said to me for no reason at all.” – no reason at all you say? I read this and my blood began to boil – deflect much?

Let’s dissect her comment above…
he's a totally different person, now – what did you expect? Me to just sit around and have you and your goons talk shit about me for years and for me to be ok with it, be the same person who you abused all my life?

bet you would not say the things to your mother that he said to me – you mean the truth?  Truth hurts sometimes, doesn’t it?

for no reason at all – I think I outlined at least 75% or more of the reasons in the text above from my May 1st, 2020, social media response.

Eleven plus months pass by and its now Father’s Day, I add a post to social media but scratch out both my dead-to-me mother and dead-to-me sister from the family photo and send it along to my father wishing him a Happy Father’s Day.  I know gaslighting (ha ha) – but at this point what does it really matter, right?

My dead-to-me mother is still following me on social media, she sees the Father’s Day post on social media and comments “Pretty petty that you had to crop out your sister from this photo.” I responded “I'm uncertain as to why you care what I post on my social media and better yet, why you feel the need to comment? You went 5 years without me in your life, you can continue... You care more about talking about me behind my back than you do about talking to my face - so there's that.”

“And just so you know the picture has both you and her both scratched out because frankly neither of you are my "family anymore." “Family don't do what you two did to me. If you don't want to see things from me, then block and delete my account. Commenting and talking behind people’s backs is what you and your daughter do best. So why change now?”

Then there’s more back and forth banter, which is not worth mentioning, frankly as it’s kind of useless waste of space, - she was trying to say things that she thought would hurt me, if I say so myself… so, I decided that I needed to end the conversation.  Before ending our conversation, I made one further comment, which was “You can belittle me all you want, you've been doing it my entire life, so why stop now?? Anyways, as fun as this nonsense is, I gotta run...” that was the end of the conversation. Apparently when you treat people like they treat you, they get upset, who knew?!

You know what they say, before you argue with someone ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not there is absolutely no point.  I should have heeded this advice before continuing, but hey, I was bored one night, so why not… ha ha. 

After overthinking whether or not I had done the right thing, you know how your mind constantly wonders, I decided on Christmas eve, December 24, 2021, (six months later) - feeling all nostalgic, I thought I would make amends and reach out. I opened up my mobile phone and texted my dead-to-me mother “I thought I would message to wish you are joyous holiday season. Also, if you get this message and wish to talk and if you would like to apologize and have an actual conversation, I’d be open to it. C.”

There was no response from the text message, after an hour, I then called, left a voice mail, after not talking to her for years, I had no idea if she still had the same numbers, or was just ignoring me, as I received no response from the above call or text message. On the anniversary of my grandmother’s death, January 25th, 2022, again, I reached out again, “Just wanted to circle back. Don’t say I didn’t try…” Someone responded, “who dis?” We had a short conversation about who I was looking for and whether or not this person is new to this phone number as they kept alluding/pretending this was not who I was looking for but kept messaging.  So, I played along for a few moments. Then told whoever it was “to have a great night!” All along thinking to myself, ha ha good game you're playing. (All the while knowing it was her or her boyfriend.)

It has now been six years since I have had a person who I called a mother in my life, even after all the foolishness I went through. My “mother” died in my eyes the evening of that telephone call back in 2016, I can still hear her tone, the way she spoke to me, all of my childhood memories came flooding right back to me like I was still a child, and she was bullying me all over again. I did see her a few times after-the-fact, but it was like seeing/talking to a stranger, no emotions, no connection. I do have to say I got swept up in the emotions the day of my nan’s passing, if I would have been in the right head space prior to hugging and kissing her, I would not have done it.

So now that my life story is out and about, I am hoping I can put this chapter of my life to rest and can look forward to the next chapter. Dealing with this foolishness is draining.

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