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Regel

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And the seasons they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We're captive on the carousel of time

We can't return we can only look

Behind from where we came

And go round and round and round

In the circle game

 

One of my favourite artists of all time, a young woman from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan wrote those lyrics in 1970. The full impact of those words struck home to me the other day. Yet another winter seems to be loosening its grip and another spring campaign truly begins. It seems like on any journey people take they want to be able to review and look back. They absolutely need to look back. They have and use certain landmarks that will help them recall specific details. Souvenirs perhaps are the physical manifestation of that need. Events of significance like a graduation require mementos. Diplomas and photos to mark the event, perhaps a ring or bracelet. These items often end up cluttering drawers and filling boxes that are under the bed for years, not unlike undated photos yet to be placed in a photo album. This Saturday morning it's just me and my cat Sassy having a lazy morning in front of the fireplace. Sassy curled up in a ball on the head cushions of the couch and me having a coffee laced with sugar and cinnamon recalling old Joni Mitchell songs.

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It has been a strange few months. Summer's last hurrah will soon be here in the form of the Labour Day long weekend. The three day weekend is usually when I close the pool but the summerlike weather will continue during the day time but the cool nights and the falling leaves makes keeping the pool all work and no play. The lawn mower was waiting on me and so was the yard work. The list of small tasks around the house started as a list but has cascading into a small novella. Had I really been too busy or have I been to lethargic? Probably a little of both I am sure. Cardboard and plastic cluttered the veranda, the left overs from our recent purchase of new living room furniture. The leather sofa loveseat and match arm chair was delivered late Thursday night.The grass took 30 minutes and the clutter on the porch another 40 minutes to square away. I trimmed the hedges and thought about the pool. I had been in it once this year. Where did the summer go? It does seem like the calander and the clock have been telling falsehoods. I took the trash to the curb and looked at the old couch and loveseat sitting there. Apparently pink furniture was not as popluar as it once was. I was slowly crossing off chores and the list (or small novella) was down five with fifty things left to do. On the seventh day God having completed his work rested. I wish I could but my work isn't.

Edited by Regel

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"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

 

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

 

 

 

 

My youngest son and I read this together out loud at the Lincoln Memorial. The marbled temple an shrine was one of the highlights of my Washinton DC visit. The power of those words and their eloquence moved me. I am not an American but a Canadian Citizen that was visiting my American cousins. It had been an all day affair that included many of the sights on the National Mall. including the near by Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veteran Memorial, and National World War II Memorial. We had already visited the Arlington National Cemetary. Our guide was my cousin Roger and we saw where both his father's gravesite and his younger brother's were. How utterly beautiful this final resting place was, and how horrific that we could walk these grounds and see just how many crosses, how many have fallen defending these words. I let my son wander off to view the rest of the momument as I discreetly wiped my nose and eyes. Dam allergies.

Edited by Regel

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November muse

 

 

 

 

 

Ever wonder why when we injure ourselves a scar is formed? Mother Nature's reminder of all the injuries we have ever sustained. I have many scars. Those that you can see and those you can't but I carry them all just the same. Many of them are too small to be conspicuous, some too large to be missed. All of them tell a story and carry a strong memory when we revisit them. Some of those stories make us laugh, but not all of them. There might come a time when medical science may give us the option to remove the scar. I am sure there would be many that would avail themselves of that service and perhaps in its removal we might forget the injury all together. Somehow I rather doubt that would happen to me for the largest and the deepest of my scars have never been visible but I'll carry their stories to my grave.

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It's been exactly a year since my mother-in-law passed away. The first Mother's day came and went without her. So many birthdays have come and gone without her. Our first Christmas came and went without her and a New Year came in to being without her. So many adjustments have been made so many plans changed so many people stuck and unable to move on. It has changed us in so many different ways.

 

They say "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I know what the meaning of that saying meant but I also know it isn't always true. A loss like this didn't kill me but it sure as hell didn't make any of us stronger.

 

What kills me on this one year anniversary is that it coincides with the twentieth anniversary of my own father's death. I survived it didn't I?

 

I don't think the person I was did.

 

 

 

I wasn't just shaken a very important part of me died as well. How is it possible to partially die? Optimism, hope, naiveté, and happiness they all died that day and while I was suffering my family and friends rallied around to support me. A year ago I was the outsider that had to be strong and support those around me that could not be strong. It occurs to me that I have never allowed myself to truly grieve, a thought that weighs heavy on me today.

 

 

 

Wallowing in self pity is not my style so once again a serious character flaw of mine (anger) reared its ugly head. I am not happy with myself but I will muddle on.

 

 

 

The very next day I will attempt to celebrate my own mothers seventy fourth birthday, a luncheon is planned and most of my family will be there. Too much there for me to go into but Sunday will be my Mother's Day. Hope I can rally to be there.

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I'm sitting here in the wireless hot zone (free I might add) at JFK airport enjoying one of the rarest of things I have ever done. I am traveling by myself to Sarasota Florida to spend a week visiting my father in law. My wife and two youngest sons are at home and the cell phone activity from home suggests that minutes of all kind now are free!

 

 

 

My drive to Buffalo was uneventful. The Niagara region was sunny and frosty unlike the day before.

 

It was a very strange contrast as the wind storm that blew through this region was both cold and brutal with wind chill factors approaching -35 C. Not sure what that feels like? Exposed skin freezes very quickly so cover it up or it will freeze and then fall off. The damaging winds and light snow fall caused utter chaos on the roads so I wisely stayed home and used the time to pack.

 

 

 

The next nine days might prove to be very interesting. The one person I would have never thought I might enjoy visiting was my father in law but I do enjoy his company and I know he will enjoy having someone around.

 

My flight lands me in Tampa approximately 8:00 pm. My father in law will be waiting I am sure after having made the one hour drive from Sarasota. He is a good man and a very generous man. That is not to say he can't be difficult! Things for Bert rarely have been anything but difficult. In the early days my father in law and I could not agree on what day it was and if I argued that the glass was half full he would defend the opposite position. Red wine at the dinner table would often bring out the debating skills from both of us. I remember my mother in law always asking me to just try and agree with Bert at the dinner table. I would always try but sooner or later I would no longer be able to remain silent and the heavy discussions would begin. I remember asking my then girlfriend “...does your father like me?"

 

She assured me that if he didn't like me he would never even talk to me.

 

 

 

I remember him asking me to come and work for his company and I have to be honest the money was way better than the job I had at the time but the idea of being an employ of my future father in law worried me. What if anything ever happened between me and my wife???

 

 

 

I would be single heart broken and unemployed all in one phone call home. :

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately my relationship with my wife was always good even when things around us were not, and as to my career working for my father in law I can honestly say I have never regretted my decision..

 

 

 

They are making the final call at Jet Blue for my connecting flight out of New York. I’ll pack it up quickly and talk to you all soon.

Edited by Regel

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February sucks. It seems to last far longer than it's usual 28 days but it particularly sucks on a leap year.

 

Recently I had a rare opportunity to do some self reflection in a warmer climate and I wondered why Febuary fails to impress me.

 

First of all it is in the dead of winter and winter in Canada sucks. Also I know that Auzzies are currently wearing shorts and bikinis and that continues to piss me off.

 

Second reason is you guessed it Feb 2nd "Ground Hog Day". Everybody knows rodents lie. They really don't care what they see when they are dragged out of their hole. They are pissed off that some body (usually wearing a Top Hat) has made them get up from a comfortable snooze and that's why they lie. "Winter is still here dam it!" They are probably thinking "Wake me up in six weeks!" Some how we construe this to mean Spring is around the corner. It is a marvel that anyone gives these toothy creatures any credibility.

 

Finally my snow shovel has worn down. Excessive use has literally worn the dam thing out. Man that ticks me off. Why do passersby find a guy with a tan shoveling his driveway amusing? I will tell you why, we Canadians are sadists. They find it amusing because I was dumb enough to have gotten this tan and still come back! The only part of Febuary I like is Feb 29. Why you ask, well I will tell you. It is the last day of this month and that one only comes around every four years. See you all later I am off to the Canadian Tire Store (aka Newfie Speed and Sport) to by a new one. :angry:

Edited by Regel

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I was invited to a friends cottage this weekend for an all boys weekend of golfing drinking and card playing. The weather was sketchy and I had serious thoughts of missing it this year. The reason a mix of things that included bad weather, poor finances, and an overall mailase I have been experiencing lately. I decided ultimately that I would go and I traveled down to just between Colburg and Trenton just off the #401 highway.

 

This strech of the 401 was renamed the Highway of Heroes for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that is very close to CFB Trenton were all of our fallen soldiers from Afghanistan are flown in to be repatriated. The second reason is that the motorcade that leaves the bases travels down the 401 to Toronto so the young men can be autopsied before being released to their families. I must admit that while I had hear of the attack that claimed the lives of three young Canadian Soldiers and wounded five others I did not know them or their names.

 

Let it be known that I am firmly against the deployment of our young men into this area of the world and the cost far too high. Pte. Horn 21, Cpl. Grenon 23 and Cpl. Seggie 21 were killed in an ambush Wednesday while conducting a security patrol in the volatile Zhari district. Five other soldiers were wounded in the attack. This brought the total cost in death to 96 Canadian Soldiers killed.

 

 

We had finished our round of golf and many of the guys were relaxing (code for asleep in arm chairs) while the rest of us were playing cards and or a few of us perparing supper. We had needed to run out to the store to replenish our supply of ice and Candian Whiskey when I saw her. A young woman perhaps in her early thirties (obviously a local) standing on the bridge with a red T-shirt that said " We support our troops" holding a small Canadian Flag. Johnny was the driver a local guy that was either sober enough to drive or local enough to know it would not matter. I asked him what was going on? "Oh they will be repatriating those three dead soldiers today" he stated matter of factly. "It has become a tradition around here to turn out on every bridge to show the bereaved families some support and appreciation." I turned to him and said "I like to attend tonight." He smiled and said "...then we will."

 

To my surprise all of the guys visitors and locals alike decided they would turn out so at approximately 6:30 pm we turned all twelve of us. The bridge suddenly jumped up from 6 to 18 a few minutes later some of the local representatives from the Canadian Legion arrived. A few minutes later a local fire truck and two fighters arrived and stopped right in the middle of the bridge. While we waited I people watched. I was amazed at the range of people both younger and older that were there. All of them including me we affected by this enough to show up. A legionaire was walking by and offered us a poppy and I made a small donations. Later he returned with a small Candian Flag (free) which we all gladly accepted. Traffic passed below us in a constant stream as they saw us people would wave hnk their horns and we would wave back. It was getting busy on this bridge people now totaled well over sixty. I looked at a watch a woman beside me was wearing it was now 7:45pm. We had been waiting over an hour and yet the stream of traffic just kept on coming. When would they pass? It seemed no one knew for sure and I overheard conversations about supper and watched as the sunset on a mixed sky changing gray clouds into crimson and violet.

 

Then at 8:07 on a radio I heard "There on there way." The restless crowd was up as were waves and flags. Suddenly the constant stream of traffic stopped entirely for over three minutes no cars abd no trucks. Then we saw the lights on the police cars coming and the three hearst. Behind them the Limos carrying the families. The windows were down and the families were smiling at us and waving back out the windows as the passed our bridge one of many on that Highway of Heros. All of them filled with grateful proud Canadians commited to saying thank you and saluting these brave young men. Suddenly the long wait was over the deed was done and the crowd quietlly dispersed and we returned to our friends cottage. I was moved to doing a little research and read some off the newspaper accounts of the day when I got back home to Kitchener the next day. I read something that made my stubborn head rethink the whole thing, a rarity I can assure you.

 

In a poem Cpl. Grenon wrote in November of 2006, halfway through his first tour of Afghanistan, the soldier wrote of seeing "hate, destruction and depression," but also of seeing "love, warmth, kindness and appreciation."

 

"Why do we fight?" Cpl. Grenon wrote in the poem released by his family. "Because, if we don't fight today, on THIS battlefield, then our children will be forced to face these monsters on our own battlefield. I fight because I'm a soldier. I fight because I'm ordered. I fight, so my children won't have to." These were the words I read from an article written by ALLISON JONES in the Globe and Mail.

This young mans words moved me. Idealistic honorable and fiercely proud to wear the uniform they lived in Canada and died on foreign soil.

 

 

Edited by Regel

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My heart lurches every time I hear or read we have lost another soldier. I am very proud to have been a member of the forces and I and fiercely poud of those wh choose to join and participate in helping make this world a little safer. Though sometimes what they are doing seems to be of little concequence it is not each step towards peace even though it costs us dearly is worth it, So my sons will not have to fight or my grand children when.if i eve have any have a better chance of living in a more peacfull society.

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To the proud members of the armed forces. Yours is not to question the chain of command that sends you to where ever they do. You are not where my anger is ever aimed. Your lives are to precious and those of the people you fight beside. I wonder what motivates a politician to send young men and women to foreign soil to defend what and whom from what and whom. Defending our citizens and our homes I understand but in recent years the lives and blood spilled in parts of the world where the average citizen of these places could care less that we are there or worse still despise us for being there confuses the hell out of me.

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November 28 2008

 

It's been almost a year since I posted regularly here in the pen and it has take me some time to sort things out and once again find my voice. We were a family in crisis this time last year as October rolled into November my twenty two year old sons behaviour started to become increasingly odd. He like the rest of us had had our sets backs but for Chris his grandmother's death coupled with several other set backs literally started to manifest itself the form of a psychosis. He become withdrawn and often spent an usual amount of time alone either in his room or the bathroom. One day while at work he called my wife at home and begged her to come and get him. He was having a severe anxiety attack and ask his mother to get him an appointment to see our Doctor. The next day the did and there the doctor percribed a very mild medication for anxiety. The prescription was filled the next day and as I passed the bathroom I over heard my son speaking and gesturing to himself in front of the bathroom mirror. The words were harsh and he was gesturing and waving his hands. I asked him if everything was alright. He told me it was. I pushed open the door and asked how was he talking to. He say no one. He had a strange look in his eyes, I recognized it. It was the look of fear.

Things started come apart as later that night I found him again in front of the bathroom mirror this time I listen closely behind the door that was slightly open. It was a dialogue in two parts one whispered one spoken. The whisper voice swore and berated the spoken voice this went on at some length. My son was in trouble. I didn't know what to do.

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The level of agitation was rising in my son. The anti-anxiety medication would help I thought. He took it and I got him to bed. I settled in to bed myself, but it took an hour or so for my mind to allow me to sleep. I had been sleeping lightly of late often waking several times in the night. At one point my eyes popped open and I saw a light on in our en suite bathroom. My wife chided me "Why did you leave the light on in the bathroom?" "I didn't."was my response. I got up and walked into the bathroom to shut off the light and found him crouched down in a corner with a hand full of his pills and the lid in the other. "What are you doing?!" I asked him. I did a quick count and he had not taking anymore than the ones we gave him earlier. "I need them dad, I need them." I looked at him and said "You are scaring the shit out of me, please get to bed and try to sleep." I walked him to his room, shut the door and thought to myself I really will have to see the doctor in the morning this was getting worse by the minute. I went back to bed and thought could things get any worse? I tried to stay awake but around 2:00 am I fell asleep. The sound of the telephone woke me two hours later. "What now?" I rushed downstairs to answer the only functional phone, by the time I got there the phone had stopped. Chris was not in his room, the backdoor was ajar and my heart was in my throat. Panic was settling in, my son was no where to be found in the house. Just then the phone started up again, my only thought was "It's him."

Edited by Regel

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The phone call was from my next door neighbour. I could tell from her voice and her level of excitement something was up. "Hello Joe, Is everything alright over there?" "Yes Shelly, Why do you ask?" I wasn't being truthful but my thought was why worry and involve her. "Well" she started "Chris is over here and he has been telling us some terrible stories! Are you sure everything is ok?" "Chris! I will be right over."

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The phone call was from my next door neighbour. I could tell from her voice and her level of excitement something was up. "Hello Joe, Is everything alright over there?" "Yes Shelly, Why do you ask?" I wasn't being truthful but my thought was why worry and involve her. "Well" she started "Chris is over here and he has been telling us some terrible stories! Are you sure everything is OK?" "Chris!" I said "I will be right over."

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It's been a while since I was a regular here too but I'm still reading with interest and appreciation, Regel.

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I quickly dressed and put on my boots and jacket, while it was just next door, the snow was deep and the wind was blowing. Four thirty am was an obscene hour but I darted across the front yards and knocked on the door. " Come on in he sitting on the couch." "Chris grab your coat bud and put your shoes on we are leaving." Shelly looked at me and quietly said he didn't have his boots or a coat he just ran over rang the door bell, and stood there shivering. She had let him in and when she had asked him why he was here Chris had explained that people had broken into his house shot and killed his parents and his brother Joseph was hiding in the garage. He pleaded with her to phone the police and she had been very close to doing just that, especially after no one had answered her phone call initially. I thanked Shelly and told her I would call her in the morning. I gave Chris my coat and told him to jump on to my back, I said goodnight and I carried him back across the snowy front yard into our house. My wife was frantically waiting in the front hall. I got Chris upstairs to bed and then I came back down stairs. We look at each other and knew neither of us would be sleeping for the rest of the morning. I camped myself in the living room so I could seethe front door and the patio door, while my wife sat in the family room and watch the backdoor and the door to the garage. He would not be slipping out unnoticed, not now.

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Two years had passed and from the initial shock and horror of it all. I recall every detail of the first few days and weeks with painful clarity. Friday was the day we walked back into our family physicians office and he recommended I take him into emerg at Grand River and have him assessed. In his state they would most certainly admit him but all he keep asking for were his meds. They consisted of across the counter cures he had bought at Wal Mart, ST John's wort and a few others that he thought helped. I had by doubts then and my doctor confirmed my concern. We were looking at a dreary November afternoon and as temperatures were dropping and snow already covered the ground I put my son and I in the direction of Grand River.His conversation with himself continued in the car but he seemed to be comfortable that I was there for him so he came along willingly.

Edited by Regel

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The emergency room in my home town is not very different than most other city hospitals. No matter what time of the day or which day of the week there was always a mix of people of all ages. Infants children teenagers adults and seniors all shuffle in holding something an in need of a doctor in a bad way. My sons injuries were not visible. He wasn't cut or bleeding anywhere, he had no obvious signs of trauma, he wasn't feverish of coughing and he had no broken bones. We signed in a routine I learned from my days at Vic Hospital as a porter and sat ourselves down. I bought Chris a Gatorade and we waited for our name to be called. Scanning the room we watched as the already busy emergency department slowly went about its business. Candy stripers or volunteers helped the newcomers sign the clipboard until around 4:30pm and then left to re-join their own lives. The emergency nurse thanked the two high school students and wished them a great weekend.

 

We had been there two hours already and with the TV set on a NFL Football game I was not terribly interested in my mind began to wander. "Why are we waiting here dad?" my son asked. The question seemed to have startled me "Why? We are here because you need help." With that he quieted down for a while but I could see him fidgeting "I am hungry" I bought him a sandwich from the vending machine. " I want to go." he said to me impatiently "why are we here dad? We could get what I need at Wal-Mart." I looked at him and thought to myself "...and what aisle would that be?" Finally the Emergency Nurse a heavy set woman in her late fifties called out my son's name. We rose and walked over the interview room. The nurse interview Chris and Chris answered. It would have been difficult to explain the feelings I was going through watch this process. Chris delusional answered many of the questions in a manner that would deny there was anything wrong with him but to the trained eye his restlessness and his increasing agitation pretty much seal the deal. The nurse asked Chris to remain seated and spoke to me. “We will need to call the crisis team in to have him accessed and he will likely be admitted under a form?" More questions from me and more explanations followed. "Your son is very ill. It is likely he will be staying here for a while." My heart sank and I knew I was getting upset. This was not going to go well, I just knew it.

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They finally assessed him and admitted him later that night. As we were asked to move into the treatment area my son became increasingly aware of his restrictions. He was asked to go into a room that was a little more than a cell with a bed in it. Chris wanted no part of that room and so he asked to use the bathroom. They showed him where that was and he went in and locked the door behind him. About 5 minutes later I was knocking on the door because another patient needed to use it. Chris was frightened and I knew talking him out was going to be difficult. I also knew that the security guard would be next so I pleaded with him to come out. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to comply they used a key and opened the door by force. Chris resisted and a second security guard was radioed in. The first guard was big the second was even bigger and together they were still having a hard time controlling my son. At 5'9" and 135lbs Chris was cursing writhing around with strength brought on by fear driven adrenaline. I had had enough and moved to moderate their man handling of my son. "You don't need to hurt him just let him calm down I shouted at the first guard. A police officer had brought in what appeared to be a troubled woman and came into this scene and ask me who I was. The similarity in appearance between me and my son was obvious to anyone with two eyes. I looked at him directly in the eyes and in my calmest voice I said "I am the boy's father". They asked Chris to confirm my identity and Chris still being restrained by two guards hissed out " I don't know who that is but he is trying to hurt me. I don't want him here. Get him away from me!"

 

I was stunned and hurt by these words and the police officer a seasoned patrolman of some years turned to me and said “I am sorry sir you will have to leave" and I was escorted to the outer waiting area. 11:45 pm and my phone rang I was unable to see who it was at first because my eyes were blurry. I answered and said "Hello." It was my oldest son "Hey dad. What's going on? What has happened to Chris? Why is he in hospital? Where are you?" and finally "I am on my way."

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There is a closeness between brothers that is quite often hard to find when things are going well. When things go bad and this was definately bad the bond between brothers lays bare and as tired and emotionally beat up as I was I had to endure my older son's confusion and anger over what had just transpired. He was convinced that his brother had taken some bad drugs and that the whole thing had some how gotten off the rails. I filled him in on the anxiety attacks and the curious behaviour I had observed, I went on to explain the circumstances that led us here, He was in shock. The cold reeality was sinking in and he had yet to accept it. By the time he went to see his brother he had already missed the wrestling match that ensued between Chris two hospital security guards and a city police officer. He found him as I had left him in a locked holding cell strapped into a hospital bed. The process had drained me, I waited as he disappeared and spoke to his brother. The story he spun for his brother was half way plausible. He had indeed taken some bad drugs and that the whole thing was a bad mistake and that both Mom and Dad were in some sort of mob that was out to get him. All he needed was to get his meds and get out of this place. "Just loosen the straps and help me get out." I had already tried to prepared him for this and explained that once admitted by a Doctor anyone trying to help him leave would be charged. My oldest son realized he was in a locked room and only security guards would open the door. The city police officer he passed easily out weighed him by one hundred pounds and six inches and so even if he was considering the possiblilty of helping his heavily sedated leave the building he must of realized we would have spent that morning in jail. My eyes were starting to fold. It was 1:45 am. He would not be admitted until the morning probably around 8:30- 9:30. That information came from an emergency nurse that felt pity on me while I sat a waited. I told my oldest son that I was heading home. He insisted on staying with Chris a little longer (he stayed until 3:30 am). I headed back to the parking lot a pattern I would repeat many times in the days to come.

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