Tag Archives: Shakie Dann Verner

A Conversation With My Last Born

My Last Born.

My Pride.

My Joy.

My new life began the day I watched him come into our world.

May 30th, 2003 was a memorable day in life – one of my personally happiest milestones.

Dakota, your soul is as pure and kind as is your heart is large. You are the iconic “Gentle Giant“.

I am privileged and PROUD to be your father.

I feel that I am not too demanding a father. I always kept you boys close to my side, but at the same time gave you room to soar.

I want you to soar higher than you can imagine. Go where Miss Destiny leads.

Take those doubtful “leaps”.

Important to not leap without looking.

I left home at an age where most my peers were playing with their ‘Hot Wheels” race sets.

I have been out here 50 of my 62 years. It has not been an easy journey.

Trust me on that.

I learned early that the key to basic survival is to have a true heart, practice compassion, speak only truths, listen with intentioned desire to help and most of all, stay HUMBLE.

There is nothing that will make me happier then if you follow and practise these few “rules” or “lessons”.

As you well know I tried all my life to treat my Family, my Loved Ones, my Friends and many more with respect, charity and compassion.

If you can incorporate these into your already soulful personality your life will always be Blessed my Son, always. ….

Hold your head high, always. Be Native and Verner Family Proud.

Be Humble. Humbleness is key to happiness.

Never look down upon anyone. They may be broken from a situation unknown to you or one that they suffer within alone. “Broken ” can be repaired.

Never, under any circumstance, disguise “Deceit” as “Love”.

NEVER. Emotions are not weapons.

Love is the greatest gift the Creator allows us.


32 years with your Beautiful Mother is proof that being loyal pays.

Never stray, Son. NEVER.

Why eat cookies in shame when you have Angel Food Cake at home?

To stray is to lie about love. The worst lie of all. A lie that destroys life’s very essence.

I cannot express how strongly I feel about this.


Never give into that hormonal Darkness.

If I can look down from Valhalla and see my Last Born being the first born to become who he was meant to be and living a humble life, then I may finally smile and know that my humble life had meaning.

And that amazing Light locked within you will emerge and you will live a many faceted fantastic life.

And I shall be the proudest Father, Husband and Man ever to walk this walk.

I love you Dakota James McLean Verner.

I love you Son.
As I love your Brothers



Got Them Monday Cancer Blues

When it comes to the Cancers, it’s the constant “hurry-up and wait” game that lays responsible for fifty percent of my stress.

I despise waiting, unless for a cab or a bus.

Waiting on the Specialists, the Surgeons, the Radiologist Oncologist, the Surgical Oncologist, the General Practitioners and the various Nurse, Psych and Support Staff is extremely nerve wracking.

This is compounded by the seriousness of my current status. I am now classified as “Late Stage 4 Squamous Cell Carcinoma”. Presently, “Non-Treatable”. “Terminal” if suitable and efficient therapy is not developed.

That is “Stephen King Scary.”

In Princess Margaret Cancer Center’s defence, I must say that no singular party is the blame.

The system is well stretched to the maximum, yet the Hospital still manages to get the patients through.

Yes, we may have to wait. Not long for most procedures or test results. Usually with in hours as an in-patient and a day as an out-patient. I have many an occasion to base this on.

I am waiting because I have SURPASSED the treatment window for conventional chemo or radiation therapies.

Hence, my signing on to my previous radical radiation therapy regime of a double round of experimental rad each morning and another six hours later.

In a 20 day therapy I received 80 doses. I graduated March 1st, 2019 from a successful run.

A miracle in my books.

March 2nd, 2019 at 4 in the morning my Spleen decided to self-destruct and explodes in my belly.

If not for my living mere blocks from the Michael Garron Hospital, I would not be writing this. I bled out in the ambulance.

I have very rare blood. Hard to obtain on a good day.

4 & 1/2 hours in O.R.

By lunch time that day I had received 16 liters of rapidly infused fluids.


4 pints whole blood

2 pints red blood cell concentrate

1 liter iron sucrose

And Ringer’s Lactate and various other fluids.

I was dead (again) – Number 9.

I was not looking so well when I woke up in I.C.U. – but, many professionals and family alike where awful surprised when I started speaking.

In October, 2018, I weighed in naked at 168 pounds.

By mid-March, 2019, I weighed barely 102 pounds in Hospital garb.

This decimated corpse is not laying down!!!!!!

For I am “The Original Urban Viking” and Cancer does not scare me.

Waiting does.

For, I know not what I am waiting for.

I know they must biopsy the ulcers in my throat. A very difficult task considering the obstruction of the swelling caused by necrosis laced flesh. This and my previous incubation difficulties make the simple biopsy a surgical operation under anesthesia.

Apparently, it will come with a painful recovery.

I can handle the pain.

I do extremely well with pain control once I know the source.

By knowing I can focus my Meditation, my Crystals, my Mineral & Stone Buddhist Bracelets and my Legion of Mary energies upon the Cancer directly.

Believe or not. I believe. Even the Treatment Team agree that there was no way I should have survived the Spleen rupture.

Their words, not mine:


I still get shivers even typing it.

Changed my life for evermore. My Faith and Spirituality grew stronger.

I have always had a strong spiritual belief. Brought on by my 8 previous “Life AFTER Death Experiences”.

(Long story – read my autobiographical series, ‘Walk With Dann Collection.)

Waiting scares me and I do not scare easily.

Waiting for the biopsy. Waiting, most of all, that hopefully these gifted surgeons, doctors, nurses, social workers, grief counselors and all the Team can come up with an attack plan.

Otherwise, I could and will soon ascend. This has not been hidden from me.

Yet, as scared as I am, I am equally confident.

Valhalla is not ready for my soul.

Helheim declares me, ‘Persona non Gratis’

I have a calling.

I have yet to understand what the calling is, but I feel it’s mighty presence rising from my very soul.

My time is not now. My death, (I despise that term – (I prefer ‘ascension’) – will devastate too many innocent souls.

My wife, my sons, my adopted sons, my precious Maria, my best friend for life, Terry, Candace, who has graciously opened her home and heart to me do not deserve nor can handle just now, such a dark blow.

So, I simply will not go – I refuse to ascend till I have successfully completed…..

Firstly – properly preparing all my Family and Loved Ones for my ascension.

Be it of natural cause.

Or trauma incurred with my “Do Not Resuscitate” clause.

My previous blog explains why


I invoke my “Death With Dignity” contract. Let me tell you right now that I would have to be in one superstorm of a Hell Hurricane to invoke such.

So, I sit here scared.

Secondly – as I have stated, and as numerous member of my Prayer Army can attest, I have a Calling”.

I know soon it will reveal to me exactly what I am Blessed to undertake.

As the Jewish say:



I used this term previously when I spoke of giving-up, laying down to waste away and, yes, even suicidal thoughts.

I should bow my head in shame to use such a Holy statement in such a Dark thought.

I am ready to begin my quest. I am ready to use my gift of Light and my past life lessons to tackle whatever tasks lay ahead in this, most definitely,

“Final walk with Dann”.

I will wait, still.


What choice do I have but to wait till I know my purpose?

I am scared of waiting, yet, I am waiting to be scared.

I do my best work under pressure.

I will fight this demonic cancer with determination, your Prayers, your Love and my Creator’s will.

I have believed that I may have been Rasputin in another plain of space/time continuum.

They have poisoned me, stabbed me, shot me and once tried to drown me.

To quote Elton John:

I’m still standing. Even after all these years.”

I have Faith. Not your typical, “Oh now you have cancer you pray to God?”

My Faith has always been present. For years hidden incognito within my eclectic personality.

My devotion to my Spirituality is my weapon. My fearlessness of Ascension is my Army.


The Fear of Cancer

Not often I have ‘fear‘.

I have it now. I fear that I may not beat this cancer.

I was diagnosed on October 22nd, 2018, with Pharyngeal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Stage four.

I was past the ability to be treated via chemotherapy and conventional radiation. My only three options were let nature take her course or surgery to remove my complete tongue and lymph nodes (leaving me with zero quality of life) or receive radical aggressive radiation.

I chose the latter. Receiving a double session twice per day for twenty days. The actual treatment was easy. Just lay down, strapped in a cage and a mere fifteen minutes listening to Pink Floyd as the machine’s robotic arms did their task.

I was pleased when on March the first I completed the therapy and was told it had succeeded in killing all the tumors.

What I didn’t understand at that time was the worse part comes after the therapy. As the tumors diminished the damage from the radiation and cancer surfaces. This, apparently, can go on for up to two years.

My throat swelled and on the exterior turned purple. A side affect of the radiation burn and dying tissues within.

I had a few complications during the course of treatment. I developed a huge abscess in my lower abdominal cavity, possibly from the feeding g-tube implant. It required minor surgery to remove and drain. This was followed by a major battle with septicemia. A battle I thankfully won.

I was released from the Princess Margaret Cancer Center on January 31, 2019. After being hospitalized for twenty seven days. I was glad to be home.

At four in the morning of February the 2nd my spleen exploded. I bled out and have only survived because I live blocks from the Michael Garron Hospital. I was revived. Received four pints of blood, rapid infusion of Ringers lactate, a litre of iron sucrose and twenty nine staples on my abdomen. Complete removal of my spleen.

I spent all of February and half of March in Princess Margaret. My weight dropped down to ninety seven pounds. A far cry from my average one hundred and seventy.

I look like a survivor from a Nazi Death Camp.

I was sent home mid March to complete my treatment as an out-patient.

Things were well at first. I could not swallow most food so I was dependant on six cans of condensed Isosource nutrients to feed my body. I managed to get my weight up to one hundred and twenty-two pounds.

But, a big but, the damage from the tumors and radiation was surfacing more and more. The pain of swallowing increasingly getting worse. To the point I feared swallowing even my saliva.

This I am still plagued with as I write.

My weight loss increased and depression tried to take over my logic. I feared that I would definitely die. I have that fear still, as do my caregivers.

No longer able to function properly I resigned myself to the reality of coming back into the hospital.

Presently, I am hospitalized in the magnificent Toronto General Hospital. A Blessing of living in Toronto with the world class treatment of Toronto General and the adjoined Princess Margaret Cancer Center. Two of the best hospitals worldwide.

If I lived anywhere else I am positive I would not be authoring this blog on this foggy Sunday morning.

I am not sure what is to happen to me next. Neither are my team of doctors.

I have been here a mere few days, having been admitted on the twenty four of May. So, I am awaiting the results of my MRI, CT Scan and numerous other tests.

Tomorrow I have to have minor surgery to re-implant a gastric feeding tube and biopsy of my tongue and throat.

So far my diagnosis is as follows:

1) as my body absorbed the dead tumors it left behind holes, like potholes in a road. These ‘holes‘ have developed ulcers.

2) The ulcers can be one of three types. (A) non-cancerous, (B) Cancerous but treatable and (C) Cancerous non-treatable

3) I am severely malnourished and dehydrated.

Hopefully, by tomorrow evening I will know for sure what battle lays before me.

I am a ‘realist’. Hence, I take things in stride. It is what it is and I will deal with whatever falls my way with logic over emotions.

I also trained myself to always expect the worse possible scenarios. Reason being if I am expecting the worse no matter what my diagnosis is to be it shall be better than what I expected. A small comfort in such a serious situation.

I am not being unrealistic in my expectations. I am in a serious situation.

After many discussions with all my treatment team and my beloved family, I made the difficult decision to put in place a DNR, (Do Not Resuscitate), on my medical record.

This is justified and many tears were shed coming to the decision. It is the best avenue to take considering the condition of my physical form. My bone density is very low which means that if I were to receive CPR my ribs would shatter. Greater risk is that my heart and poor physical condition makes it ninety nine percent positive I will slip into a coma – a coma I will not recover from.

I pray no one ever has to have this discussion with their family. It was/is the most heartbreaking talk I have ever imagined having to have.

Saddest part being the reaction of my family and friends. I, being the patient, fully have accepted that I am knocking on the gates of Valhalla. I did not wish to accept it, but it is what it is.

I also have refused any major surgery that will disfigure and disable me. I refuse wholeheartedly to have my love ones suffer the anguish of watching me whither away, perhaps for weeks or months. That would scar their very souls for life. It would be selfish of me to put them through such.

They understand. They don’t like accepting it, but, once again, it is what it is.

I am not, by far, a ‘religious’ man. I am a man of faith. I believe in a higher, supreme power. Over the past 15 years I have been brought back to life 9 times so far. I wrote about these times previously. It’s suffice to say my life has been full of numerous ups and downs. Often down. It strengthened my personality and outlook on life. To most they would say my life was tragic. I see it as just ‘my life’. Sixty-one and a half years of learning and growth.

So, as it stands today, I have a battle to win. And I shall win because I am surrounded by true caring and love. I have a large group of beautiful souls who have formed a ‘Prayer Army’ on my behalf. Believe or not, but there is a power in prayers. They don’t have to be church indoctrinated chants, but rather sincere and positive praise to whoever you perceive as your Creator.

I am anxious to get the results of the tests tomorrow. The waiting and the fear of what may be is far more disheartening than the cancers themselves. The fear of the unknown instills an anxiety that clouds judgement.

I prefer sunny days over cloudy ones.

So, I will leave you now and I will blog whatever happens next in my wonderful life as soon as I know.

Until then, I remain ‘Dann, just as I am – – – The Original Urban Viking’.


And remember to ……



Some are confused between the radiation therapy being successful on my tumors and my cancer NOT being cured

Just got to explain my situation to those who do not understand how cancer works.
1- yes, the radiation was successful. It killed the 26 tumors.

2- I am not “cancer free”

3 – my cancer is in remission

4 – before they killed the tumors my body got very damaged. Mostly in the frontal lobes of my brain. Hence, the deafness and possible blindness. It is possible that I could easily lose all bodily functions as the frontal lobes are the most important part of our body. If the pharyngeal cancer comes back it could easily make me a vegetable.

5 – I have 2 cancers – the “pharyngeal”, which is responsible for the 23 floating neck and head tumors. 3 of which are in my brain, 3 next to my heart and 17 roaming around in my neck. These tumors are outside of my esophagus. The radiation killed the existing tumors.

THEN, I have “Squamous Cell Carcinoma” – – – this is the killer – it is responsible for the huge tumor on the base of my tongue and two little ones beside the large one. It has destroyed my tongue beyond repair. I will have a large hole in my tongue for life.

6 – For now I am safe from “cancer”, BUT, if my body doesn’t absorb the benign pharyngeal tumors the doctors will have no choice but to crack open my chest to remove the tumors by my heart – open my neck to get the ones floating in it and they are hoping that they can pop out my left eye ( cause it is already very damaged from the time I was on life support for 6 weeks and I can barely see through it) and hopefully be able to get to and remove the 3 on my brain.

They wanted to do actual brain surgery but I refused to allow them because they would have to remove the existing plate in my head and there is a 95 percent chance that my body will reject the new plate. I will not EVER allow them to open my skull. (The existing plate I have had since 1972 – obtained in Montreal during the “biker wars, nuff said about that)

So, yes, I am very happy about my diagnosis of the radiation working on the tumors.

I still have cancer.

My body has to deal with the damage from the tumors.

Also, the stroke, the septicemia poisoning, the abscess and my spleen exploding damaged a lot of my organs – which some can be repaired and some not repairable

So, my dear friends …. we have cause of celebration of the successful radiation treatment. And believe you me, I am forever thanking the Lord for His mercy.

I still have a year or more of treatments ahead of me. And many possible surgeries.

And this I shall get through via the mercy of the Lord, the Prayers and love from my beautiful Prayer Army and the love and support from my truest soul mate, Maria Angelica M.

Winter Cabin Fever

I get very restless in the winter. The sitting day after day wishing I were younger than my sixty years and capable of handling the cold is taking it’s toll on me.

I try to go out. I really do. Every trip ends in pain. The cold somehow aggravates my spinal cord damage from when I shattered my neck in 1999.

I didn’t do it partying with Prince, or the guy formally known as such. It was the result of 600 volts blowing me off a twenty foot high ladder and as I was having a heart attack I slammed onto the concrete below head first.

As soon as the cold grips me my left leg disappears, my right hip ceases to function and the tremors start. Every piece of titanium and surgical steel immediately freeze.

From the plate in my head to the Semple plates and rods in my neck cascading like cold fire down to my reconstructed right hand and settling in my right hip replacement with the residue trickling down to my rebuilt and destroyed right foot.

Sitting here day after day thinking, “Lords, I have a lot of metal in my body.

Add to this the nine surgical procedures in the last year to remove part of my liver and repair my kidneys and rip out my gall bladder and then I know life is all about surviving.

Maybe I truly am the bionic Hippie!!!

My acquaintances and family alike say I am a non-human, a cyborg capable of withstanding incredible pain levels.

I find that odd. Pain is just pain. Unless you drug yourself with modern day prescription medication or street drugs, you will feel pain.

I deal with pain quietly. I’m not one to whine when experiencing it. 

I meditate. I write. I clean my residence. In warm months I walk.

But, now I’m plagued with being unable to walk most days. And this is a demon I cannot conquer as it is stronger than I.

Now I am a prisoner of the weather. A hostage of nature’s temper.

My father could barely walk the last ten years of his life. The same curse many of my relatives have experienced. 

I will NEVER give in or up to losing my legs. I will follow Bran of Vikings fame and build braces if I must. Never will my cute little ass sit on a bingo cart or ebike.

Cabin Fever has it’s good points though. For twenty years I have been ‘starting’ novels but never finishing them.

I’m finishing them now.

Because I have cabin fever.


I wrote a few times regarding my first twelve years.  My most recent being “I CRY AT NIGHT”.


Although much of my earliest memories are blurred under the blanket that protects us from the emotional scars left behind by physical or psychological trauma,  I have managed to convey my experiences as best as recollection allows. 

There where many memories I withheld  due to what their re-hashing may have brought forth. 

But, that was “Dann” or “Boo Boo” as you surely understand. 

I have decided to allow you to understand a synopsis of my “Shakie” years.  

“Judge not lest we be judged”.

I have confessed my discretions and transgressions to my Gods and I pay my penance to this very day. 

“By 1969, at the age of twelve, I had decided family life was not my cup of tea. Glue sniffing,  heroin and every other drug were fun. So were guns and violence.”

So, my newly acquainted eldest brother and I decided to leave the safety of a good home and join the wanderlust of the “Hippie” life.

I was exactly 12 years old and I had no clue of what that decision I made on that cold October the fifth, 1969 would lead to.

Nor, unfortunately, was society.

For that was the birth of “Shakie Goddamn Verner”. The darkest side of my darkest side.  

The “me” that many would fear.

The “me” I  still fear.

For with his sheepish boyhood grin, his beautiful long hair and those innocent eyes,  deception and violence was concealed. 

Even though everyone knew but took no action.

I had already been a heroin addict for two years, by then. 

My brother and his band of Woodstock soldiers decided I should be there “tester”. 

If I lived they could safely get high with no worry. 

If I collapsed,  a quick dunk in the tub of ice water and CPR always did the trick.

But, heroin was expensive and jail not an option. 

Firearms were cheap and most everyone I knew had a Mossberg shotgun or Remington Repeater rifle. I was soon armed and, with the Juvenile Delinquency Act, more or less untouchable. 

My first armed robbery was the city’s only fancy Chinese restaurant.  Bravely I marched in,  raised my sawed off double barrel and blew the chandelier off the ceiling. 

I got the day’s take and the payroll. 

It bought a week’s worth of China White for my brother and his friends.  I even got a bit for myself. 

The boys weren’t selfish. 

Just as I wasn’t their “patsy”.

After all my “brother” who I was never raised with, he “loved” me.

The monster inside me began to grow. 

I began a path in life that no youth my age ever should have strolled.  I was doomed to a lifestyle of imprisonment, deception, violence and sadness. 

I was unknowingly being used as a vessel or ‘tool’ for the group of much elder souls I claimed as my “friends”.

When in all true reality, I was merely young enough not to suffer dire consequences for my actions.  Nor, was I mentally mature enough to understand I was being used to supply a constant drug flow to all our arms.

I can tell you of many days of my youth. Too many for now, though. 

I shall tell you of the most traumatic hauntings of my “Shakie” period.

I may or may not have been involved with the explosion at a county jail. 

Rumoured to be nothing less than a feeble attempt to deliver a pizza to a solid friend

It is rumored that on that cold Halloween night a group of us may or may not have attended a local pizza parlour. 

Earlier, it was alleged that,  we had consumed large quantities of LSD, Heroin and, the grandfather of MMDA, MDA.

Suffice to say we were all imagining dragons and monsters from space. 

Hallucinogens are twisted little creatures.

We entered the restaurant a motley crew. 

A violent hippie, a man we labeled “Gigi, a man of Winter who would become a serial murderer, two groupies of female form and the man who we knew as “MadMan”.

It’s alleged that as the waiter brought forth our Italian pie and so gracefully placed it at the table’s centre, MadMan may or may not have visualized a large troll coming across the table to snatch his balls from their sac.

It’s further alleged that MadMan slew that troll with one mighty slash of his twelve inch Bowie knife.  The blood covering us all.

The waiter dropped to the floor as quickly as a hallucination disappears.

We may or may not have gathered this pizza,  compete with the serving stand, and, leaving MadMan to explain his actions,  fell back to our hideaway on Water Street to devise a drug induced plan of stupidity 

So,  they claim, next it was decided that knowing MadMan had lost his freedom, the least we could do was deliver him the pizza. The cause of the troll attack.

I am led to believe that I possibly may have knocked upon the jail door and politely demanded that MadMan have his pizza.

MadMan did not receive the pizza.

Urban legend states that next what may have taken place was a group of long haired leaping gnomes returning to the jailhouse with a quantity of CIL dynamite. 

Apparently,  one stick too many. 

They say that the resulting explosion left quite an opening where the entrance once had been. 

The main entrance to the County Jail

To best recollection of witnesses, the pizza never returned to Earth and may still to this very day be traveling through the heavens.

And MadMan never returned to society. 

Sentence upon sentence for in-house crimes secured a permanent residence at many a super maximum secure penitentiary. 

To my knowledge he resides there yet.

I miss MadMan.  I do not miss Winter’s. I mourn still for Gigi. The groupies never came back. 

I also mourn for childhood lost.

The trail of sadness and debauchery I left in the wake of “Shake” constantly travel the ruts of my mind.

The explosion awakened the monster within.

The monster never slept.  The monster was constantly getting Shake in troubles. Both with authorities and with the underworld. 

“Shakie Dann Verner” got mean fast. A survival mechanism to compensate for his petite size. 

He always carried the sawed off, except on the days he holstered his genuine German Luger. The “hand cannon”.

The police confiscated the Luger the evening he shot and killed six mannequins in the Reitman’s Department Store at Prince Edward Square.

Judge gave me thirty days observation at the Saint John Provincial Hospital for that one.

I was out a week when I was arrested for possession of one hundred and thirty-two sticks of dynamite while walking through City Hall. 

When asked if I had anything to say beforesentence was passed, I answered, “I guess I just wanted to get a bang out of life”.

Judge gave me thirty days observation at the Saint John Provincial Hospital for that one, also. 

I was out in five days.

Not often I speak of what insanity I next performed…………

A friend and I were very high and playing “cowboys and Indians”. 

He using a real bow, with actual arrows, and I my Lee Enfield WW2 rifle with armour piercing rounds.

The game ended sadly and abruptly. 

Judge Harrigan gave me ninety days observation at the Saint John Provincial Hospital for that one. 

I was released in two weeks. 

All charges squashed under the veil of insanity brought forth by drug addiction.

I should have been sentenced to life.  

An eye for an eye, so they say.

But, it was a primitive era.  The world was changing – rock had begun to roll – whites were singing the Blues – Blacks were finally “men” and Vietnam was NOT a war.

And not one Court understood drug addiction or the crimes deemed necessary to obtain such.

The severity of my crime sprees became far more violent and reckless. 

My ownership of such I never once denied.

I always pled “guilty with an explanation”.  I had mastered “explanations”.

But, for some reason no one deemed it necessary to lock me away for the harm I inflicted. I began to get an “untouchable” complex.

Judge Harrigan had a soft spot within his heart for the lonely kid from the South end of Saint John.

He did me nor you any favours. 

Life spiralled expediently and darkly upon my obtaining a free Harley Davidson Sportser motorcycle.  

The unwilling gift from some rich university student in a certain little town in Massachusetts. 

I met a young man named “Mums” and he gave me a real nice “vest”.

Now Shakie was wearing a patch. 

Drug induced and brainwashed by the “biker” movies of the day, I began my war on “the man”.

Little did I know I would not win such a war. 

Yet, I have emerged a wounded and scarred warrior veteran. 

To bring this story back on track let me say that I committed many,  many far worse and shameful crimes against humanity and your gods.

And then the evening of my eighteenth birthday it all came crashing down. 

I believed the swat team was not police doing their civil duty, but, rather a rival gang invading my home.  “OUR” clubhouse.  

And I shot and severely wounded a police officer.  

A man doing his job. A man who in no way deserved to have half his face misplaced.  

A man whom’s face, bloodied and disfigured,  is the last thing I see every evening just before my soul allows me to sleep.  

For the last fourty-two years now – every night. A constant kick in my testicles for harming a fellow man.

I had finally learned what it was to have a conscience. 

And I knew not what to do. 

Dorchester Penitentiary was a scary place. I knew so many of the elder inmates and had no worries of survival amongst the scourge of society, for I also held membership to the elite “Club”.

A week after my arrest, as my broken ribs and swollen face were still healing from the numerous beatings by various upset police officers,  one of my two common-law spouses gave birth to my first born child.

A handsome little dude named after me. 

A handsome young lad brought into this world already carrying the burden of addiction,  Downs Syndrome and heart defects.

I never once held nor laid eyes upon my first born. 

He would pass away without my knowledge – a secret held back by his mother and prison authorities. 

A dark, dark day for my heart. 

To this day I have no knowledge of when he passed or how many months or years your god allowed him to suffer.

A severe sentence with no parole passed on to me by my gods. 

A sentence I serve to this very day. 

The mother sent me pictures of a growing healthy boy for over six years.

Pictures not of my son. Pictures of a neighbours child to fool me into believing all was well. 

Her reason for doing so was her false belief that I would never exit the penitentiary. 

All who knew me expected me to die in custody either by my own hand or that of an enemy of my state. 

But, I was resilient and far too “streetwise” to become a victim to such.

My gods were to be even far more cruel, for a week before my release on Mandatory Supervision, my baby’s mother slit her own throat in fear of what “Shakie” may do to her, for her lies and deception regarding young “Daniel Jr.”.

The poor woman survived but the blood loss left her vegatated. A harsh sentence for a harsh decision. 

Sadly, I now had and have to carry this burden as yet another yoke around the neck of my soul. A heavy load for any soul  to bear.

As I had said before,  I  cry at night. Every night. 

If only she had attended the Appellant Court. For by mutual agreement it was decided I would NEVER return to the Eastern provinces – never to cross the east border of Quebec.  Never to walk the streets of my hometown. 

So, her torment was for not.  I would never have laid blame on her. I would have held her and cried and then cried more. 

I would have known the date he ascended. 

But, I do not.

I will never forget the day I arrived in Toronto.  Wearing the mismatched suit and carrying the almost empty suitcase donated to me by the Canadian Federal Penitentiary Service. 

Such an odd feeling.  I ate my final breakfast in prison and by noon I was eating my first lunch as a free man a thousand miles away.  

Jets are fast.

Ironically, it was pizza.  Not MadMan’s pizza.  Just your average pepperoni from “The Big Slice” on Yonge Street.  

And I was SCARED,  very much so. 

I had never been a “citizen” before. 

I did vow I would never return to prison. 

I finally met my older sister and I was to reside with my brother.  My brother who was many years clean and seemed to have totally forgotten about our childhood’s path. 

Maybe he agreed to my residing with him from guilt for what he done to me and the subsequent path I walked.

I also finally became acquainted with my biological mother and soon grew to love and respect her.

The first time I met her she was drinking “Green River”. A concoction of ice water and Mennen’s Skin Bracer aftershave. 

I flushed it down her toilet and walked two doors over to the Beer Store and purchased her a two-four of good old Molson Canadian.  

And Mom smiled. 

And her degenerate boyfriend stared at me with hatred and jealousy.  To much a coward to speak to me as a man.

I should have snapped his neck that day for my Mother may very well be still alive this day.

But, I didn’t and on June the thirteenth, 1981 Robert George Stevenson shoved a Butchers boning knife into Mom’s breast plate and pulled it downward to her groin. 

Distraught and jealous due to Mom throwing him out – of Mom being a working woman of society – of Mom drinking only on Friday/payday nights.

Of Mom finally having genuine reasons to smile. 

Mary Florence Gertrude McCrossin Verner suffered beyond comphrension until she ascended on August the first. 

Her dying wish and last words to me being I was never to seek revenge and allow him to return me to a prison. 

My last words to her being the solemn promise never to lay hands upon the goof.

The Judge gave him but five years of which he did fourteen months.

I served six times that for an attempted murder.

The Canadian Justice System works in mysterious ways. 

I had just married my first wife on May the fourteenth of that year. 

My Mother and my Father attended. 

They actually sat together at the reception.  All past doings put aside for the festivities. 

The day Stevenson stabbed her,  she had just returned home from my apartment after spending a lovely week with my wife and I.  

Something she never had the joy of doing with either of my siblings. 

They sent her their wedding invitations a week after their weddings.  

They had always shunned her as nothing more than a drunken disgrace to be hidden and ignored. The dirty family secret.

They knew her all her life and did little to assist her.

In the year I had to spend with her she easily became sober, obtained employment and smiled her beautiful smile.  Often.

And now I cry at night – every single night. 

I have two photographs of Mom from my wedding.  Two of my most treasured memories. 

By October the same year I would be divorced. 

To quote my new wife’s words verbatim,  “Ever since your Mom got murdered you have been acting funny and I cannot take it. “

My response was passing two subway tokens and a prompt “Goodbye Bitch”. 

Funny how I never wonder what became of her.

And I somehow found myself involved with drugs and booze a might too heavily. 

I did not return to my previous lifestyle of violence and crime. I had became “a party animal “.

And then I moved to One Vendome Place in the Flemington Park area of Toronto.  

I soon teamed up with certain people and within a few months we became the drug lords and most feared of the “Park”. 

The drug of the day was Angel Dust – PCP.  And for every gram I sold I put two up my nose. People were afraid of Shakie.

I was extremely afraid of me.

And then I met my best female friend’s daughter.  

Her mother, Aunt and neighbors, being my best friends, begged me not to date her and to stay away fore she was not a good person at that time.  

I fell deeply in love.  

She refused my advances until I was to be clean of the dust and drop my gangster ways.

A mother protecting the life of her then six month old son. The son I to this day think of as my own.  The son who has never called me “Stepdad”.

Not even now, thirty seven years later.

She gave birth to “our” son on 9/11/90.

A handsome wee boy – my spitting image.

We lived common law until we were to wed on July the sixth, 1996. 

On March fifth, 1999 I, unfortunately, had to have my C2, C3, C5 and C6 removed. Replaced by pieces of my hip and many screws and plates. 

And my life changed drastically.  

I went from earning well over a hundred thousand a year as an electrical contractor to making fourteen thousand a year as a cripple.

My wife of twenty years could not handle the trauma inflicted upon me.

Her remedy in 2002 was to run off with my pot dealer. 

I still miss ‘him’.

She came home pregnant and gave birth to her third son on May the thirtieth, 2003. 

I cut his cord and proudly assumed the responsibility of being his father and to love him as a son.

Cause as the saying goes, “Any boy can make a baby, but it takes a man to be a father”.

My three sons call me there father. 

And I call them son.

My wife, (to whom I am still legally married ), has since gone her own way.

And I,  well, I am still a father.

I shall write more of the trials and tribulations of my many lives. Be patient, for as of now I must flush these demons from my mind and hug my dogs till sleep arrives. And my nightly tears will run their path down my cheeks to pool above my heart.