Saturday, 20 September 2008
Halfway House Honeymoon.
It was Saturday October 6th, 1984, our wedding ceremony and reception had gone well. My wife and I could be very proud of our accomplishment. Our ceremony had been a bittersweet occasion. Amazing the emotional ripple effect that can be caused by the outrageous inhumanity of one sad little man. For this sad little man, a man who could manipulate the vulnerable, a man who posed as my wife's father, received no invite. Through all the sad confusion and ongoing mind games, my wife's mother and one sister felt obliged not to attend. How sad. How very painful.
Undaunted and strong in our unity, we were determined that this would be a celebration of our resilient love for each other. This lady who had gone through so much horror and emotional torment in her life was now my wife. A memorable wedding for all the right and wrong reasons, was drawing to a conclusion.
We got into our car and drove off, passing by St. Andrew's church (pictured), Fort Langley, British Columbia, where only a few short hours before, we had exchanged vows and told the world of our love. We were not alone in our car. For her two other sisters were passengers in a car that was heading towards a destination that would mark all our lives forever.
So on that night, the night of our new beginning, we headed to her sister's new temporary home. Two confused, deeply traumatised teenagers were being driven to a secret location. Soon we arrived at the 'halfway house' (safe house). Over the next two weeks this would be their home. A place where children who had been mistreated, abused, undermined and neglected could discover some form of sanctuary. A place of hope for children in what must have seemed a hopeless world.
In the early hours of the next day, my wife and I said our goodbyes. We had experienced such poignant moments of deep sadness and resilient determination. These children and her two sisters were significant inspiration in my life. As we headed off to our hotel, I made a commitment that I would be a supportive and loving brother-in-law to my wife's little sisters.
By the time we got to our hotel, it was almost time to head off to Vancouver airport. Exhausted, we boarded the plane that would to take us to Los Angeles, California. After a brief stay in Los Angeles, we continued on to our honeymoon destination. For the next two weeks we took in the sights, the sounds, the culture of Cancun, Mexico. We made the most of our honeymoon. I know, despite all the thoughts of what we were going back too, we were determined to experience the wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula. The ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, set on cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, has been strongly etched into my memory. A most memorable honeymoon, with so many extremes, had drawn to a conclusion.
Upon returning to Vancouver, we went to the halfway house and took her two sisters away to our beautiful home in Langley, British Columbia. This would be the beginning of a fresh start for them and hopefully for all of us. For not only was I now their brother-in-law, I was now their foster father. I tried so hard to be a good brother-in-law and a kind, respectful foster father. I like to think that, somehow, I have helped them to have a better, happier life.
The ripple effect of one man had defined the lives of many. The anguish and despair perpetrated by one man, by an evil monster, has, even after so many years, left emotional scars on those of us directly involved.
I am divorced now. What had once united us, destroyed us. Why did it have to be this way? I am confused and deeply saddened over the events from the past. Somehow, I know that I must move on. Yes my heart is broken, I wish I could tell her that I always cared. This blog is the beginning of my closure of a painful chapter in my life.