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…….