I’m taking a break from posting for a week or so.  October is really not my month, but then, Neither is July or November.  Leave it to me to have the summer and Autumn covered.  Anyway, I’ve decided to do something, that for me takes a bit of jam as it is making me feel things I hate.  Ever the fatalist I’ll do it anyway. Some of you guys have been reading my blog for a while and therefore you are very aware of Dave.  I’m going to post a photo of him.  I feel it will be cathartic to do this, in fact I know it will.  I know this because it’s hard to do.  Most healthy things are. This photo was taken when he was thirty two and I was thirty.  We were obviously in Niagara Falls.


At the time I thought we were there to take a break and have fun.  I was wrong.   Little did I know, this beautiful guy who I adored, was planning his next suicide attempt.  He told me later in the hospital that he was thinking of going over the falls, but changed his mind instead for the beam and noose scenario.

He and I were together for so long, that when slipped into that other world, it felt as if someone had removed half my body and soul.  Perhaps they did.   October 30 would be Dave’s 49th birthday.  I used to think that when the ten year mark of his death passed that something miraculous would happen, that I would be cured of that dark black hole that swallows me twice a year.  Alas, I have only failure to report on this front and once again I’ll slip inside that darkness and skulk around until I get my bearings again and emerge into the day.

I won’t  allow him to cease to exist because I never told about him.  The likelihood of me writing his life/our life in biographical way are remote to nonexistent.  I simply can’t do it.  I don’t think I could handle that.  You all know, as writers that you live what you write and I can do Granny Destross, I can even do Wilson Park, but I can’t do this.  I will however introduce you this beautiful man, who should have lived, who mattered deeply,  at least to me and who will now matter to you too.  It’s the only way I know of making sure he is not an obscure mentally ill person who killed himself.  While that is true, so are some other things not reflected in his autopsy, death notice or funeral.

What you don’t see in this photograph is this:

His mother killed herself with a shotgun while he slept next to her in his bassinet.  He was three months old.  She had post partum depression coupled with domestic violence.  A bad combo.

His father abused him for years until he literally ran away from home with his father chasing him with a hammer.   He was fifteen.

He was an honour student with a talent for mathematics who was hoping for a career in accounting at the government level, but the bottle tokes he did everyday, combined with copious amounts of alcohol and the cap on the jar of disaster, PCP destroyed every dream he had.  He was seventeen,  and spent his graduate year in the Pshychiatric ward of the hospital.  Breakdown number one.

He wore only black or grey.

He liked dark glasses because he said he could see the real intentions of people when they couldn’t tell if he was looking at them. I laughed at the time, but now I see the wisdom in some of his insanity.

He hated his beard because it was patchy, but grew it anyway because he hated what he referred to as his ‘pretty baby face’.

He was cool in high school before it all went wrong

He ate this disgusting combination of toast, butter and parmesan cheese that smelled like baby puke.

He smoked continuously, Players light, always

He let me bum smokes endlessly

He did  kick ass Michael Landon impersonation

He drove cab for two years in Toronto until he had his second breakdown

He had a perfect sense of direction and could find his way out of any place you put him

His nickname was ‘water tank’ because when he wasn’t smoking, he was drinking water

He played the smoothest most achingly poignant blues guitar you ever heard.  He lived it, he felt it and he got lost in it. He could also play the piano, harmonica and the drums.  He read and wrote music and composed a lot.

He had a deviated septum and couldn’t breathe through his nose.

He had perfect skin but his crooked teeth unnerved him

He took a drug called Mellaril that controlled his schizophrenia.  This drug elevated his body temp and when you touched him it was like he had been sitting in front of a fire.

He played hockey as a kid and was a phenomenal skater.

He had telepathic ability and we used to talk without talking

He taught music to children and adults until the end of his life

He was gentle and kind and non violent

He was smart with money, a bit of a tightwad and cool under pressure.  He was brilliant in an emergency

He loved to fish and needed to be by the water

He used to hear his mother’s voice sometimes calling to him and it usually lead to a depression

He had an amazingly protective nature that could piss you off. For example, he always grabbed my hand like a child when we crossed the street and then walked on the outside to be chivalrous.  Really, we both knew he needed to control something and this was all he had.  I let him have that

He was born the day before halloween and claimed to be only half scary but added that as a scorpio, half scary was all he needed.

He identified with Syd Barrret, completely and absolutely.  He said every bit of music they did was about mental illness

He could swim like a fish

He had a telescope and was an amateur stargazer who was also a star trek buff

He shut his door on July 17th, took two bottles of his new meds, lay down next to our dog Cody and slept his way into a better place

He was the best friend I’ve ever had and I will never erase the pain of his leaving

He had it all, looks, talent and intellect and his childhood took it all away

He told me these things, on the eve of what he called his “Jesus year’ when he turned 33  “Walk softly and carry a big stick, always keep them guessing, Never let them see you sweat, If you care about it, don’t write it down, keep it in your head and heart and Keep writing Valda, it’s important.”

I kept them all except for the fourth one.  I will write it down, most especially because it matters, just as I’ve  done.  Happy Birthday Dave, wherever you exist…

(Roger Waters/Pink Floyd)

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”


Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

12 thoughts on “Anniversaries”

  1. We would have been friends, I think, had we met.
    That is, if he would have tolerated me:)

    The irony of it all, for me anyway, is this–that the pain in a person is often the source of the joy we find in being with them. I don’t mean that in a sadistic type of way, of course. It’s just that developing and cultivating a creative, giving soul seems to be the intention of a hurt, crushed soul when it grows up. It is exactly that struggle that feeds creativity, compassion, sincerity–the things we love. That’s one of the possibilities–the other as we know is cultivating a heart of hatred. Dave must have been one hell of a person to pull through as he did. It is so sad, so achingly, utterly sad to know he suffered as he did.

    When we lose a person like this, the whole world cries eventually.

    I wish I knew him. I’m so glad I know you. Beautiful is an overused word, but this is truly a beautiful tribute. XOXO–D

    1. Yeah, Dave would have liked you a lot Danielle. The denialist (yes, I know it’s not a word) in me wants to disagree with you, but the fatalist in me knows the truth of your statement cannot be ignored. Dave was special, for his ability to carry on as long as he did, for his gentleness and for his genius at spotting the rot in others who didn’t always show it. Old people and children loved him, of course, the most vulnerable of society. I’m so glad I know you too Danielle and in many ways, by knowing me you know a bit of Dave. He kinda rubbed off on me and I’m truly grateful he did. HUGS

    1. What can I say to that Bryan…if my heart is big, it’s because I’ve been given the privilege of loving the most wonderful souls on the planet. HUGS Bryan…you are precious indeed.

    1. Yes indeed Bindo, you surely do…with one very good exception…you are still alive. 🙂 Make sure you stay that way okay?

  2. It does matter, Val.
    It does. He does.
    You’ve just proved it.

    You’ve reassured me.
    There are good people on this earth.
    They are forever coming and going.
    You and I and we are them. Absolutely!

  3. This was a wonderful tribute to someone who you loved deeply. It is strange how the mellows comes twice a year with severe loss? Mine come in July and September and 15 years down the road – still not gone but easier . . . *hugs* thanks for sharing!

    1. Time does not make the pain go away. I want it to, but it won’t. HUGS Jessie I wish neither of us felt that shit, ever.

    1. Annmarie, I’ve read your comment several times since you left it. the last eight words specifically. You are so correct, it is the only way. That’s why we’re here doing this isn’t it my friend? HUGS

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