“Love hurts, Love scars, Love wounds and marks any heart not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain…Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain. Love hurts.” Nazareth really got the pain of a broken heart! Nothing has paralyzed me more than my heart and mind breaking at the same time.
My first boyfriend had been an innocent exchange student from Nigeria in 1978/79. Sim had come to study at our renowned Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology. He was sweet, kind and far too innocent for a girl hellbent on destruction! I was drinking a lot and don’t exactly remember the break up but we recently reconnected through Facebook and have spoken a few times only to feel those beautiful panges of ‘first love’ again! But before I prevailed…
While in AA I met Russell, he was struggling with sobriety, identity and so much from having been a residential school survivor. He and his siblings had been taken from their parents at the Saugeen Reserve in Notre Dame Du Nord, PQ only to be abused emotionally, mentally and physically. Russell was a tormented soul but his charm, wisdom and sheer sexiness won me over immediately and I soon became codependently obsessed. Russell and I did fall in love (as much as two screwed up people can) and talked about marriage, going so far as to buy the rings; but, a few months later he would be killed in a car crash at his Family’s reserve in Northern Quebec September 2, 1983.
My world, my mind and I crumbled.
I tried to go on with life and went through with my plans to go to cooking school in North Bay a few months after but I was a broken person mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and I had started drinking and drugs again. But a few weeks into the school program we got a new student Harvey Cooper. WOW! We became a thing and soon I was thinking that, as terrible as losing Russell had been, there had been a reason for it…so I could meet Harvey. Harvey and I were meant to be together, he was 5′ 2″ and I like to say I’m 5′, we made each other laugh a lot, we had dreams together and we just fit each other well. Poor Harvey though, I was very troubled and would, every few months or so, melt down and try to hurt myself but I felt certain that a future with him would work out all my problems. After we graduated from chef school, I began working as a cook, since there were no chef’s to apprentice under. Harvey tried getting better paid work but after a few months of unemployment, he heard there was a boom of work in London, Ontario and he hitchhiked down to find work.
He stayed at the men’s mission and found a job the day after arriving, as a house framer, he liked the work and his boss too. A few months later he rented an apartment, in Camelot Towers, and I moved down April 1st, 1986. I was astounded as we pulled into London that day; we had left the North with 10′ high snowbanks at 6 am and arrived in London, late afternoon! The trees were in bloom, people were wearing shorts and t-shirts, and the grass was green!!! I was impressed and perhaps that is why I still call London home. Harvey liked his work and I was happy, we were happy, in love and planning for a future and got married in a small, but beautiful, ceremony August 22, 1986 and we found we both felt a stronger sense of self esteem once we had made our commitment official. I sobered up again and have stayed off the booze since December 12, 1986. Life was good. For awhile.
My Mother had been diagnosed with Lymphoma and was going to have to travel south for a doctor, so they decided on London, instead of Toronto and after a couple of hospital visits they moved here for her to seek treatment. I will expand on my mother’s life, and death in a seperate post soon. They moved on August 1 of ’87 and on the 10th, Harveys life, as he knew it, was never going to be the same and neither would mine.
The company he worked for focused on house framing but they also did some roofing too and they had been working on a cedar roof for a 3 storey house and as he did some prep work, he misstepped and went through a hole in the roof for a skylight!
Harvey’s was profoundly altered from the closed head injury he suffered. He was never the same man his personailty, cognitive abilities, and moods were all forever changed and he struggled, he knew he was changed and after 3 years of struggling, he took his own life in the summer of 1990.
My Mother had died March 2nd of 1990 and I found my self alone with my fragile mind, that lost it’s fight and I fell. I fell deep into the pit of despair, but unlike other times, I didn’t clammer to get out, I just lay there soaking it in. I believed I deserved to be there, live there and never aspire to happiness.
How I got from those depths of despair, to standing strong is the real story of my life and will be focus of this blog from now on. I won’t be chronicling my life here the same way. The focus will be on what happened to allow me to prevail.
Much thanks and love to those who read this blog and continue to support me!