We Are Family

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Recently a reader asked how I manage to still be positive when I have so much going on both psychologically and, definitely, physically.

I do not and can perceive myself as ‘special’. (Unless you are referring to short bus special. Lol)

I am very humbled by the numerous people who reach out to me. I am honoured, yet amazed, that I seem to have touched the lives of so many souls.

I do not post, or write, or podcast, or blog to get kudos. Nor do I seek to be some type of celebrity.

I say this from all that is ‘me’.

I do what I do because that is what we are all meant to do. We are a communal species. Tribal. Our DNA is imprinted with the desire to live as a family.

If you strip away our prejudices and our judgements, you will see that all mankind is just that, “a family.

Long story short ….

I truly appreciate every single person in my life. Family, friends, readers, followers, haters and lovers alike. I do not see race, religions or strangers. From what I have experienced in my lives I have learned we are all the same.

My past was complicated. As I am sure we all can say. Some say my life was extremely tragic. From my perspective it was merely ‘my life.’ I had many ‘Walks‘ with myself which made for a long life. I have seen and I have experienced many things in six decades plus. I walked each day with one simple goal. To gain knowledge. Simple as that.

Without a doubt my life has been long. So long it took 4 books to write my autobiography.

I have bad days, as we all do, and then I bounce back and have better days.

Cancer and the damage it does is pure Hell, but I am not the type to give in to negativity or defeatism.

I do not worry about the past because to me each new day is another chance at life. A chance everyone deserves to have.

And, most importantly, each life is worth living.

I hope that you overstand what I am saying. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to know and share life with everyone.

I am ‘Dann’ – just as I am.

Thank you for whatever walk you walk with me.

Honesty

I’m not ‘broken’.
I’m ‘Damaged’.
Broken can be fixed.
Damaged cannot.

I compensate the damage by seeking out ‘broken’ souls and doing what I may to ‘fix’ them.

I do this by being truthful to them and to myself.

A soul without honesty is no soul at all.

All of that which makes us who we ‘are’ MUST be based on truthfulness.

For, if not, you are lying to yourself and if you cannot be honest to yourself then how will you be able to be honest to anyone else?

By being totally honest, you will fall victim to those with less conscience and they will take advantage of you as often as they can.

In all honesty this will happen the majority of the time. 

Do not allow that to deter you on your path of life based on truths.

The honest soul will have far more heartache and deceit in their life. It is par for the course.

To quote Grandpa Jones, “No good deed goes unpunished”.

Eventually there will come into your life that one lost soul in need of guidance and friendship.

Base your friendship and guidance on honesty. That soul’s life will change for the best if your influence has no underlying purpose other than to truthfully assist them.

If you are truly Blessed, you will be rewarded by having the opportunity and power to change the lives of multiple souls.

Honesty is the basis of survival in the Dark storms of life.

You will become a ‘Lighthouse’ in this storm if your heart bleeds truth.

Honest.

I would not lie about living life.

GoFundMe Campaign for my Nephewson, Shane Sills

https://gofund.me/94e4696d

This has broken my heart. Shane is more than just my nephewson, he is my best friend, my brother, the man who has checked on me every single day for the last three years during my cancer battle. The man who has done so, so much for me.

And now the Beast is attacking him.

Any help you may afford would be greatly appreciated by Shane, his beautiful soul of a wife, Amber and his three gorgeous daughters, Kaylee, Kenzie and Lexi.

This ambushed him. He went to get a lump checked and next thing he knew he’s had one surgery and has just started round two of chemo, with many more rounds to come.

Overnight his life was turned upside down. Unable to work and a family to feed.

He is a strong and otherwise healthy young man and I am confident that he will beat this beast.

Please help ease his battle with whatever you can afford.

Please keep him in your Prayers.

I Shall Not Rust

As the night goes by and leaves me to sit, I ponder thoughts of sorrow and wit.
Attempting to process that in a mere few weeks, the age of sixty-five will be my greatest feat.
The mirror does not reveal a man of age, it paints a picture on a younger page.
Yet here I stand with pain unjust
If I keep dancing I shall not rust.

#Spotify_The_LightHouse_Verner
#LightHouseVerner
#TheLastCanadianCosmonaut
#BeTheChangeYouWantToSee
#LightHouseVerner

GoFundMe Campaign for my Nephewson, Shane Sills

https://gofund.me/94e4696d

This has broken my heart. Shane is more than just my nephewson, he is my best friend, my brother, the man who has checked on me every single day for the last three years during my cancer battle. The man who has done so, so much for me.

And now the Beast is attacking him.

Any help you may afford would be greatly appreciated by Shane, his beautiful soul of a wife, Amber and his three gorgeous daughters, Kaylee, Kenzie and Lexi.

This ambushed him. He went to get a lump checked and next thing he knew he’s had one surgery and has just started round two of chemo, with many more rounds to come.

Overnight his life was turned upside down. Unable to work and a family to feed.

He is a strong and otherwise healthy young man and I am confident that he will beat this beast.

Please help ease his battle with whatever you can afford.

Please keep him in your Prayers.

STOP THE DAMN VIOLENCE

Stop the insanity of violence.

Has society not learned from the past?

What is it going to take before we all realize that there is no reason whatsoever to own weapons of any sort?

Murder is final.

Unlike video games there is no “respawns”.

Time to rewrite our lax archaic legal system.

STOP THE DAMN VIOLENCE!!!!!!

Like the sand in my underwear, so are the days of my life

You can listen to this blog by clicking on the Spotify link above or via whichever podcast streaming service you use.

As the title states, like the sand in my underwear, so are the days of my life.

My life and the lifestyle I have chosen to live are by far not the normal. My life is seven years of happiness then a year of sadness, then repeat. Looking back chronologically I clearly had missed the pattern for years.

When I was a youth, 7 years old I went berserk. I was in a very nice foster home and for no particular reason I burned down the garage.

What ends to a meaning for my actions I know not.

My personality changed overnight. That was when the seeds of “Shakie Dann” were planted.

Seven years afterwards I shot my best friend with a thirty aught six bear rifle. To this day I still have nightmares and cannot get the image of the massive hole in his chest off my mind.

Fifty years of regret, remorse and guilt. Every night, every day since that fatal day. Accidental or not – a murderer I be. A murderer you see.

The other shooting we will speak of behind doors closed to sneaky ears. A ladder day tale I am yet to avail.

The difference between loving and living is as wide as the Grand Canyon. You can live without loving. Can you love without living?

I never knew of the word “love” till I was Blessed to meet my second wife. Forty years later my love for her has never faltered. I loved her before I knew her and I will love her long after time ends.

She gifted my soul with three sons. What a greater gift could any man and Father ask for?

Unfortunately, I failed my boys in certain aspects of life. I blame that directly on my lifelong affiliation with gang life and definitely my genetic desire to be a gangster.

For years that was my survival defence mechanism. My early adolescent’s body carried the learned mind of an experienced gangbanger.

(A weighed yoke of shame that I shall carry forevermore.)

How else does a child, who went nomad at 12 years old, protect himself from the Predators and Street Demons of life in the underworld?

Any who grew up on the street can tell you that you develop a series of defensive and offensive mechanisms. They become a part of your body. Rooted directly to your adrenal gland. Instantaneous reflex response to your ‘fight or flight Syndrome’.

The Ten Commandments of living in the gray area of a black and white world are best heard from the vocal chords of the late Tupac Shakur. Not recited from a cult cookbook and holy almanac.

For truly mankind has lost fear of the message written upon those twin ancient stone slabs.

The pages of the Holy Bible now lay incognito beneath the dust of family values lost and compassions mutated to lustful compassions. We coveted not our neighbours wife. We purchased a point in time with his bare breasted daughter. Thy shall not kill unless for thrill. It is not theft if you do not get caught.

It took a street minstrel, a ghetto poet, a legendary soul who saw the harsh brutality of society and modern reality, to recite ten simple rules in such a way they would reach and teach the sensible few who overstood the outlaw shit bear no good.

The title labeled these simple rules , “The Ten Crack Commandments.” I kid you not, the youth these rules they got.

The survival of the fittest Urban Viking could remain a free man if his illegal actions were ten rules bound. There would lay no evidence for dogs to find. Beware the wolves. The two legged mind.

The sorrow seen in this here tale is the loss of childhoods and innocence of youth. When from the basement to the roof danger lurks and rodents run amiss. Aye and there stands the frame of a lad, but his deep socketed eyes be that of a man so sad.

What hurts me the most is that I was that boy. Ten years old I aged three fold. By twelve years in my life was a sin. I sought out the masters of street craft and survival. I learned how to turn to my advantage the actions of many a rival.

Einstein once was heard to state, “When dealing with the insane, it is best to pretend that you, yourself, are sane.”

The necessities needed to survive the streets I mastered very young. My number one weaponized trait being my ability to convince all around me that I was harmless and a wee bit “special”. Like the foolish moth they soon burned in my deceptive fire. Oh what evil had I acquired.

I was extremely adapt at hiding in plain site. I could blend into the shadows like a chameleon on defense. You would not see me because I didn’t matter.

Like I show in my fictional book from my “Walking On Dawes Collection”, “You Can’t See Me”.

You can be the loudest person in a crowd and still be invisible. By invisible I mean “seen” but never “remembered” or “heard.” A tool I used daily. I wouldn’t be here today if not for perfecting the Art of Invisibility.

There lays little of my teen years that I hold pride of. There are many occurrences that I hold and accept blame for.

After all, I am a realist and reality is real. I did – therefore I am of guilt. Beit legally or morally. I plead guilty with an explanation.

There are explanations and there are excuses.

Excuses are the misconceptions of the human mind attempting to justify wrongful actions that were performed with blatant disregard for societal and moral laws.

Explanations are an admission of guilt with your reasoning behind your actions. A confession that explains why you chose to commit such acts.

All the thoughts I will have tomorrow will be the thoughts I had last night. Everything I learned in “high” school I mastered for they I already knew. For my Momma didn’t raise me a fool. She put me in foster care so I could learn their rules.

Catholic propaganda in a Latin voice accrue. I learned that much like Jesus, I, too, had played the fool. Prejudiced opinions set my life askew.

Graduating to “manhood” at the age of twelve, forever surviving an adolescent Hell.

Those days were many dark and tense. Yet now I wallow in a life content.

Beginning at the age of sixty my existence was plagued with tragedy after tragedy. But, were they actually tragedies?

I think not.

First it was the two cancers. Then the gall bladder removal. Followed by a third of my liver removed. Then came the huge abscess costing me a fair length of my intestines.

Top that off a severe case of septicemia which lead to yet another death requiring a resuscitation and days on life support.

And last, but not least, my spleen literally exploded causing me to bleed out and once again dying and being resuscitated once again.

Number eleven of documented deaths. Not near deaths. Actual drop dead deaths. Eleven times in eleven years.

It all took place from January till March of year one.

The years 60 – 61 went by slowly. Thirty-three and a half weeks in and out of the Princess Margaret Cancer Center. Lost my apartment and ninety percent of everything I owned.

Having been diagnosed with late stage four Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Pharyngeal Cancer meant no viable treatment. So, experimental radiation I decided, with the knowledge from my doctors, was the only route to take. And here today sits I “Shake“.

I have PTSD from the traumas I endured these past few years. Not me alone, for my family has suffered through all that I have. The various illnesses and diseases, the suicide of our son, “Jordan” and the loss of almost all my worldly possessions.

The possessions barely bothered me. Easily replaceable via friends and generous strangers who post ads for free items.

I am not one for treasuring my possessions. Often I have given away items I had just purchased. I remember one such incident whereas I had saved up to buy a new coloured tv. The whole family was excited as we drove home with our new set. The television never made it into our living room because a family member called telling me that their tv had died and they had no way of getting a replacement.

I promptly turned my truck around and delivered my new tv to their home. In another instance I had bought myself a brand new Chevy Malibu. I treasured it and was real excited to drive it. I picked it up and drove it home. I ate my supper and talked to my father-in-law on the phone. He was calling to tell us that his car had just died and it would be a while before he would be able to visit. He lived about 90 minutes away.

After supper I got in my prized car and delivered it to my father-in-law.

I could take transit, he could not. He had a 20 minute drive just to buy milk or bread.

I do not tell you this to boast or for some egotistical reason. I merely am stating facts of the way I live and how I have changed the way I make choices.

Possessions are nice to have. They are not necessary. Take a look around at all you own. I know you will see many items that you never use or rarely touch. I give those types of items to people I know will appreciate and use them.

A clutter of nick-nacks, furniture or whatever is a self portrait of one’s mind. A chaotic fumbling of thought and deeds with no set guidelines for logistics.

By no means am I saying give up all your worldly possessions. Hell no! The sixties were to me, but not that good

What I do mean to say is, if a person in need or there is someone lacking the ability to obtain items that we all take for granted, well, take an inventory of your life and materialistic holdings. Perhaps you may have what is needed and you have 2 or perhaps it has been sitting on a shelf for years.

Always pray it forward, prior to paying it forward. And, unlike myself, do not broadcast your charitable actions. A braggart need not you be. To do so is an act of pure selfishness.

I put my actions out there as a truth of my present day life. As I have put out there all the days of my life. In blogs, stories, television, magazines and my autobiography.

My brag is that I have changed my complete self.

I have Flipped the Script and I am now the ‘Yang’ of my ‘Ying.’

From the violence and dangerous days of my youth, to the hippie years, the biker era and my Adventures in Fatherhood to becoming A LightHouse and to whomever I am on this day.

As far as I can tell, I am me, Dann – just as I am I carry no yoke of religion on these ragged shoulders. I bear the weight of complete Faith

She Farted

Now the day, it has departed. And here I lay with my dog … She farted.

When come the morn and I wake anew. I will pray she farts not on you.

My eyes yet sting from fatal gases released. I swear she ate something long since deceased.

So, upon this start of a brand new day. I will walk her gently till her gas wears away.

I’ll leave you now with my heart a race . I love this dog from ass to face.

Thank You Neighborhood Link/United Way

“Click the link above to listen to this blog on Spotify”

Beautiful way to start my week.

Last week I had written a letter to Neighborhood Link/United Way thanking them and expressing my appreciation for the Blessing I have received from living in this building.

A year ago, while living in a rooming house on Dawes, I was given less than two years to live. I was constantly in and out of the hospitals. Severely depressed and only “existing”. Not “living”.

And I was definitely dying.

Now, my Squamous Cell Carcinoma is in remission,  as is the leukemia. My osteoporosis is under control.

Although I am still suffering from many other medical issues, I am feeling fantastic mentally and physically. I walk with my girls at least ten kilometers a day. Last year I couldn’t walk a block or carry groceries at all.

I did not write the letter to draw attention to myself.

I wrote to simply say thank you and show appreciation for all the staff does for me and all the residents.  Believe me,  living here is much better than being in a run of the mill Seniors residence.

So, now Neighborhood Link is sending someone out to do a photo shoot and interview for their website and for magazines. 

I am honoured to be given the opportunity to publicly thank them for all they do and to raise awareness to how their approach to senior care should certainly be a model for senior care everywhere.