Go Boy, Breaking Chains

We all have a sad story  but I believe we also have  a story of hope if we can recognize the chains that bind us making us prisoners of our past, “sins”of our fathers, (sins in the sense that what we have learned from our parental figures(blood or not) that keep us from experiencing the grace of God(feeling Loved/Worthy).

Prisoners, Cons, Convicts, Felons, Delinquents…hard to read or say these words without a negative feeling of wanting to get away , ignore or hope that some authority figure somewhere will deal with “THEM” societys undesirables. In this blog(my first) I hope to share life experiences which may help others cope with similar experiences as well as learn from others.

I first heard the term “Go Boy” during the summer of my 16th year.It was the title of a book by Roger Caron. I was visiting my dad for two weeks during the summer of 1979 in Edmonton, Alberta. I didn’t realize at the time this book held many secrets to understanding who my father was.. “Go-Boy is a prison yell used when an inmate (or inmates) break from a work detail or crew in an attempt to escape”……..Like Roger Caron my father spent many years behind bars or in institutes……

August 1979- My father looked tired, but he was “clean”. He hadn’t used drugs or alcohol in over two years and was proud of it. I hadn’t see him in two years and before that, I cant remember.  My Dad had always been my hero. Simply put, he taught me what feeling loved unconditionally felt like.

My first memory as a child was sittting at the kitchen table watching my Dad “mixing up the medicine” He was a Heroin addict. I was facinated to see the bulging veins, the needle, spoon, lighter and the change in my Dads personality.  I was maybe 4 or 5.

My Dad was born in Northern Ontario, in the early forties. His Dad away working, wasn’t around much. I heard he was good in school and a talented baseball player.

When my dad  was 15 my Grandfather was working in the mines of BC(British Columbia). As I understand it, my Dad and the mine owners kid.  took a jeep without asking, for a joyride. It was reported. The mine owners kid walked away but my father wasn’t so lucky. He was left in the prison with the general popul;ation of grown men for well over a year. I can only imagine what they did to him.

As noted in the book “Go Boy” prison abuse in Canada was extreme and tolerated. My dad told me of abuses such as dragging him up the stairs by his hair, making him clean out the gallows among other things. Guards telling him, “ya see that boy, thats where you’ll be one day”. As I understand this is where my Dad found his escape from reality, Heroin.

As I came to understand it, my parents had split when I was 3 or so. I lived with my 2 older siblings and my Dad until I was 9.  We traveled back and forth across Canada moving frequently. My Dad kept us away from my Mum. for what ever reason, only seeing her once when I was six. We stayed on the move, attending 7 different schools by the time I was in 4th grade. At times we slept in the car, snuck back into “our house” which rent hadn’t been paid, just to sleep there at night and scoot out at dawn. Through all this, I knew he loved me.

I was happy as long as we were with Dad. When we weren’t with him (when he was in “the joint” , rehap or a hospital). we became wards of the province. Then we were either in foster care(thats another story), with my Grandma(God Bless her) or my Dad’s friend.

Over time my Dad developed drug related Paranoid Schizophrenia. one incident,  he gathered all of us up as we ran down the street, knocking on a strangers doors so he could call the police as someone was after us.  As the police arrived, it was then the police who were now after us. I was in the back seat of the police car with my sister, and dad as he yelled at my brother in the front seat to  be ready to jump out. Chaos. But through all this, I knew he loved me.

How did I know he loved me? The way he held my hand. He danced with us, He laughed with us. One time I told him I had to go to a Bday party. I wrapped up one of my toy guns as a present and brought it to school. He showed up at my class with a new gift. Most importantly, wherever we were staying, he always came back for us.  Ultimatley and I didn’t realize until later, he brought us back to our Mum.

Through all the turmoil, fogginess of substance abuse, he saw that what his kids needed was stability. It wasn’t easy adjusting to life in the U.S. New school was the norm but the structure, bedtimes, homework, and wondering…when was Dad coming to get us?

Needless to say, we never did go back to live with him. He was again in and out of jail and institutions which at times were close enough by that we could visit. It was heart wrenching leaving the jails when we would visit knowing he would have to stay there.

Although “clean” for the last two years of his life, my Dad took it to the extreme when he stopped taking his prescribed meds and two weeks after my visit in 1979, he took his own life.

During a time that people didn’t talk about their feelings and you just sucked it up, I had no idea what I carried inside had to be dealt with.

To be continued…….

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17 thoughts on “Go Boy, Breaking Chains

  1. It’s good to hear your words son…some of the things you have shared over the years and getting me to read the book helped understand your father better…I also saw the good in him…and later now that I am a substance abuse counselor and clean and sober can appreciate his battle…so glad he knew when to bring you back to me…continue to carry the message son…love as always Mum ❤

  2. Roy, what a heart-wrenching story and thank you for sharing. It is so fortunate that you were able to see the love your father had for you through all of it. God Bless!

    1. Brian, Yes I agree, Love(God) never fails. Circumstances and people can disappont. no matter who they are. including our “heroes” . Comes with beng human. Myself, my Dad, included. Bless you.

  3. Raymond, you did a great job of putting pen to paper and telling a “sad” story. I was right back there with you!!!

    I’m proud to call you my Brother, I love you so much!!

    Keep up the good work showing people there is hope!!

    Love Rain

  4. I too am looking forward to reading more… I’ve heard some stories from my mom. Heart wrenching… But now I understand how u 3 are such strong, loving, compassionate people. Love u.

  5. Wow Ray….That was probably really hard to put on paper. I admire you for so many reasons but hearing this story makes me admire you even more. You are such a strong and loving individual. Thank you for being my friend!

    1. Mary, I am honored that I could share this with you. Some pain …oh boy…is so deep…, pain becomes a part of who you are….and pain loves the dark. Lol. Yes it loves the dark..but at this time in my life, feeling safe, feeling so loved and blessed with family and friends and power of Christ, it was time to “Shine” a little love on that pain by giving thanks to those who when I was down, reached out a hand. Bless you my life long friend..RR

  6. This is such a loving, honest tribute to your father and a reminder that we are all both human and divine. Although we may not have any control over what happens to us, we can still be kind and loving.

    1. Thank you Lara. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I didnt realize the healing power of writing. Not only for me but also gor my family. Peace to You.

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