From Accident to Homicide – My Story (part two)

I will back up a bit.

I had been attending a Christian Liberal Arts College, one that allowed me to take my first two years of my four year Bachelor’s degree mixed in with some Biblically based courses and to be on a campus with people that were also Christians.

Sadly all of late night chat and times of prayers, hugs and crying sessions were about to be tested.

It’s important to note that our dorm had a curfew and of we were to be away over a night or weekend, we needed to let our Resident Director know in advance.

In hind sight, I think this is the structure that i had craved all my life and the sense of family and belonging that I had longed for.

Immediately following my mother telling me that Jamie had been killed and that i couldn’t stay with the rest of the family, she did one of the cruelest things a parent could do and it was not the first such thing she had done it to me. Just a couple of years prior, Jamie had been in a freak accident at work that had everyone bone in face shattered and put him in a coma and she had asked me to tell my dad. Now she was telling me to be the one to tell my dad that his own son was dead!!

As I arrived back at the dorm to gather my things, I thought that first i had to tell my RD i wouldn’t be back for a couple of nights so I knocked on her door. As she answered it, o found myself just staring at her and try as I might, nothing came out of my mouth. I do recall eventually reaching behind to brace myself against the hallway wall and sliding down in sobs and finally uttering that I wouldn’t be sleeping there tonight because my brother was dead.

She said “ok,” That was it!and she just kept staring. She did not walk toward me to hug me, to see if I needed anything, invite me in, nothing. Just “ok.” I realized in that moment that my emotions, my real emotions needed to stay on lockdown.

As I walk through the hallway upstairs from my room to the bathroom to gather my belongings, girls that would normally interact with me suddenly were looking at the ground, shutting their doors or just plain ignoring me. I was a pariah. This group of grinds mean to support, uplift, encourage, suddenly didn’t have anything to say. I used the communal phone to make that heartbreaKing call to my dad and got in my car and screamed at the top of my lungs!!!!


The naked truth.

I have an amazing smile!

This I am not proud of.

It is a cover for the fact that I feel completely  worthless.

I am a dichotomy.

I feel like I am good person – kind, honest, trustworthy, loyal, moral.

(How I obtained this, I will never know, because it was not something that was modelled for me in any way in my home.)

But at the same time, I feel like there is no purpose for me.

I have to bite my tongue frequently because it wants to utter the words,  “why?,” or “but.”

I can’t take a compliment, or encouragement, or any sort of affirmation without questioning the motive of the person offering it; without picking it apart and finding holes in the person’s statements, and ending right back to why they are wrong. I feel this way about everything from my appearance to my intelligence.

I really don’t like myself. I went from thriving (in my denial for nearly 40 years) to barely surviving.

I have fully taken over from my parents and am using their narrative. I was not worth their time; not worth their love or nurturing; not worth their celebration of my life, of my successes or even consoling in my time of failure.

I don’t know how to stop it. People have so many suggestions, from standing in front of a mirror and giving daily affirmations, to trying to meditate, to writing sticky notes of encouragement all over my home. What I need is to rewire my brain to stop the loop of telling myself that I am a failure and not worth the space I take up on this earth and start looking at what I have to offer, whatever the hell that may be, now that everything I worked for has been ripped away from me, thanks to that thing they call CPTSD.

If the flashbacks would stop. If the nightmares would give me a break, maybe, just maybe I could focus on trying to break this constant loop going on in my head.

“You are an idiot,” I tell myself for making the smallest mistake. This I have inherited from my father, and I no longer need for him to say it, but it has become an automatic response. I punish myself before any need say anything, even for mistakes that no-one around me would even notice.

“Don’t let it go to your head,” anytime someone says something nice to me. Or I wait for the second part of that, the “but.” And if it doesn’t come, I create it myself. This I inherited from my mother. She was sure to make sure that anything positive in my life was immediately torn down.

“You won’t amount to anything,” I was told. Looks like that is coming to fruition, and again. I don’t need to hear it from their lips anymore because it turns out it all worked out that way; all that I worked for and achieved, gone, just gone, and here I sit purposeless.

Woman of “Strength” or Righteous Indignation?

After some gentle nudging and my ever growing desire to pull myself out of isolation, I said “yes” to an invitation to attend a women’s conference at our church. I committed to the morning only because I knew the entire day would exhaust me. The noise, the people, the chatter, the fuss, the being “on,” the sitting, the being in a place I cannot escape from easily. I have slowly been getting to know the woman who had invited me and shockingly, I find myself trusting her in small doses, allowing myself to be authentic around her and to my surprise, she has responded with patience and kindness and shared and has not given up on me.

It was meant to be a place where women gathered to hear other women share stories and speeches of motivation, wisdom, inspiration, courage, and hope. By the second hour, I was filled with dread and anger and frustration but also awe and admiration.

A panel onstage was asked what each of them had to give up to become the strong Christian leaders/women they are today. The second woman said, with her lip quivering, her voice shaking, her body tense, fists clenched, and her knee bouncing, “I gave up the right to be angry. I gave up the right to be angry at those who hurt and abused me.”

Seven hundred women cheered. Several women behind me roared out “YES!”

My jaw dropped.

This woman was a survivor of sexual and physical violence. I didn’t know what to think. But suddenly I heard ALL my counsellors I’ve seen over the past three years in my ear, telling me how I would never get past or through this until I learned how to GET angry at those who hurt me; that I wouldn’t find healing until I stopped blaming myself and started to feel righteous indignation. Yet here I was at the precipice of healing and Christianity. Why does it need to be a choice? Forgive, forget, and move on. Such a simple formula. Come on!

I may not show it or know how to bring it to the surface and process it yet but deep inside me lays a seething heap of anger; pure raw anger. On the inside, I AM all kinds of angry yet most would never guess it. I am angry that there is supposedly this God up there that allowed me to be born into a family that didn’t want me, that didn’t care about me; that made me fight for everything I had only to see it all ripped away piece by piece. I am angry that I’ve seen more personal tragedy than a room full of my peers put together. But I am mostly angry at myself for cracking, for letting the seams split and not being able to hold it all together any longer and now being in a place that is unfamiliar, isolating, and scary. I am angry at the man who pulled the trigger and took away my best friend. I am angry at the officers who did their job carelessly and allowed agility man to walk. I am angry at my brother for going to work that day. I am angry for friends who drove carelessly and are no longer here. I am angry at cancer for taking other friends away. I am angry at mental illness for the several friends I’ve lost through suicide. I am angry at the belt that hung by the back door. I am angry that I went to the trial, that I spoke at the ceremony, that I blew my knee out, that I was born, that I wasn’t the kid my parents wanted. I am angry that I am not back at work yet, that I have no relationship with my family.

On the outside, I am fearful, anxious, zoned out, or faking a smile as I fight to push down the emotions fighting to trickle out. .

I don’t want to give up the right to be angry. I need to hold on to that right. I am going to need it someday when I’m ready. Most of my other rights have been violated or compromised. But this one I need to cash in when I finally learn how to implement it.

I have a feeling that my God will understand. But if he doesn’t, I choose healing. I choose to not blindly forgive those who trespass against me; to “be sweet,” and stifle that which is stirring within the depths of my soul, so much so that it seeps out in my sleep because I deny it through the day. Someday I will stop blaming and hating myself and will wear my right to be angry as a badge of honour and stop punishing myself for what others have done but until then I will fight to get there and clear a space on my lapel.

I am sorry for that woman on stage, for I felt her unresolved. I saw her unresolved pain. But she chose to give up being angry and to be a strong woman fo God. Interesting.

From Accident to Homicide – My Story (part one)

Have you ever wondered what happens to those families that sit in courtrooms waiting for justice to be served; for the man that sits before them; the man they have already convicted; the man that all the evidence points to, to be told he is guilty?

Have you ever wondered what really happens behind the scenes in those small Canadian courtrooms?

Lies. Corruption. Deceit. Confusion. Injustice.

I was 21. My brother was 23. We were friends. Not as close as we were when we were little, when we were bonded by our need to survive a house of violence and fear. He had a wife and two children, whom I loved and spent as much time as I possibly could with. In fact, I spent nearly every weekend over there or begged to babysit.

His youngest was turning 1 that Monday but we were celebrating his birthday on the Saturday; an open house. Jamie went into work early in the morning to help his boss fix a machine but promised he’d be back by noon.

He never showed up.

After unanswered calls made to his cell and to the warehouse, my little brother decided to drive out to see if he was there. Jamie’s truck was parked outside and the warehouse was unlocked. My little brother called out Jamie’s name. Nothing. He got spooked and left.

During this time, I had left the party and returned to my dorm room across the city to work on some term papers, declining invites to go out for the evening. Something just felt off. I had decided to go for a drive. I took a drive to my mom’s house to see if she had returned from the party yet but the lights were off. I went inside and called over to Jamie’s house.

My mom answered.

Apparently Jamie’s boss’s wife took her two neighbours to the warehouse and walked right in and found the two men, lying dead, and immediately called 911 and told dispatch that they were electrocuted. The RCMP decided NOT to follow protocol that night by sending a junior officer only who instead of doing her own investigation, took the statement by the wife and declared it an electrocution, DESPITE:

1) the blood coming from the men’s bodies

2) the machine being unplugged

3) the protests from the EMT/coroner

Protocol also states that a Sr. Officer come to the scene. In this case, he did not. As a side note, this officer, Cpl Marchand has since retired with full benefits and pension. They did not do any further investigations and left the scene in the hands of Health and Safety.

“Your brother…there’s been an accident…he’s dead”

I don’t know how much I spoke after that. I remember getting in my car and just screaming at the top of my lungs. This couldn’t be happening. I had just spoken to him a few days ago. I do recall asking if I should come over to the house, to which she told me “no,” and that it was “too full.”

I retrieved my items from the dorm and slept alone in my mom’s house on a mattress I pulled into the living room.

The other wife and her two neighbours asked to return to the warehouse the next day for some reason and the scene became contaminated. By Monday it was cleaned up.

Autopsies were performed on the men, and the cause of death was immediately clear.

As I was driving to school a couple of days later, I heard this on the radio:

“Bullets have been found in the heads of James Deiter and Tim Orydzuk. Police suspect foul play.”

I remember the term “execution style,” at some point, but I couldn’t listen anymore. What was happening.  How could this be true? Someone took a gun to Jamie’s head and just pulled the trigger? Three times? And the RCMP assumed it was an electrocution? I don’t understand!!!!!!!!

By this time, it had become anxiety provoking and overwhelming as his photo and name had already been in every newspaper, on every news channel, and our phone was ringing off the hook for statements regarding the accident. What the hell was about to come my way, I was even less prepared for.

Dear Younger Me.

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been able to write, able to put my thoughts out there for them to be staring back at me, let alone be scrutinized by others, but I’ve hit that wall, THAT wall. We all know that wall. We wish for someone to come and not necessarily rescue us but to understand us, walk beside us, hear us, advocate for us, without judgment, without us having to ask or feel guilty or whiny. But we can’t because that equates weakness. That stirs in us a place where long ago someone told us and engrained in us that it was not okay to be; in a place of want or need, or to show vulnerability. So, we are “fine.”

I heard the song the other day titled Dear Younger Me, and one of its lines that stuck with me was,

Dear younger me, it’s not your fault.

It’s a line that’s heard in many songs, poems, well-intentioned mental health posters, social media, but for me that line was not encouraging; did not invoke some sort of resolution in my soul or ability to blame the generation before me or those that brought on the traumas that have me entrapped.

Because, while I write to the younger me and try to convince her that it’s not her fault; that she did nothing to deserve the constant barrage of terror, abuse, neglect, it’s only fair that the older me understand that none of that really matters. Who dealt the blows or whose fault any of it was, at the end of the day when I’ve finally cracked during my older years, my 6-year old wisdom, while useful for survival then, is only pinning myself against myself in the adult world.

So guess what younger me, it may not have been your fault, but YOU are left to pick up the pieces, left to make sense of it, left with the financial, emotional, physical, mental, social burden of what has been done to and around you, and now, right now, those around you don’t care that it’s not your fault.

You are an adult now and you are responsible for your own actions regardless of the lack of guidance, moral compass, compassion, decency, nurturing, protection, or even love that you weren’t shown during the years that you needed it most.

Dear younger me, you did what you needed to do to protect yourself, to survive, to keep yourself alive, sometimes literally. You did what you needed to do to not let them win or see that it affected you. But dear older me, they’re winning now; its affecting you now, and your wisdom and survival skills as younger you, serve you no longer. In fact it has managed to cause everything to become so compacted that when you least expected it, it leaked out at a rate and in a way that you can’t get it back in.

Dear younger me, you didn’t choose to be born, and especially to a family that didn’t want you, to a family that would choose to torment you daily and make sure you were aware that your existence and you striving for a future were useless. You didn’t ask for your brother and best friend to killed by a stranger or to be subjected to the multiple tragedies and traumas that you have. You weren’t supposed to be exposed to violence on a daily basis. You should have been protected and loved, and made to feel wanted by your parents, and there should have been justice for the man who murdered your sibling . You should never have seen sickness or tragedies. You should have never have felt the sting of a strap, the cold steel of a gun, the hard edge of a ruler, the cold fist of a parent.

But dear older me, it’s time to get over it, the flashbacks and the nightmares, the anxiety, and the fear, and you are solely responsible for trying to find help, navigating the mental health system alone, all the while facing the scrutiny and judgement of those who don’t understand what happened to you “all of a sudden” and why you can’t “just get over it.” You are also responsible for the ever increasing debt that adds to your insomnia and anxiety. You and you only.

Dear younger me, you did not inflict these wounds. But older you is and will be paying the price to learn to heal.

Who Am I?

I used to be under the naïve impression that we were all put on this earth for a purpose, that God had forged out lives ahead for us and it was just a matter of faith; just a matter of putting our hands into our father’s and saying to Him, “I trust you with you my life. Lead me.”

I will not deny that I have done pretty great things in my short life, seen amazing sites, met incredible people. How does a girl go from poverty stricken Alberta, hiding from her drunken father at the age of three to nearly thirty years later sitting across from one of the the greatest boxers alive in his own home in Michigan nearly years later? I have been around the world more than once for work and for pleasure, have met amazing friends ands acquaintances, have served, have been served, have felt full to the brim and overflowing with love and on that same token felt my heart broken beyond recognition. I have laughed as many tears of joy as of pain and despair.

I have travelled to countries overflowing with abundance and to countries living in absolute poverty. I gave my life to God. My heart was hurting. My heart was shattered. I had nobody. I chalked it up to a gift of resiliency and continued to spend my life’s work with kids and adults alike going through difficult times of their own. “If God can bring me through the hell I’ve been through….” and “ Life sucks for real so why not have God on your side to get through it.”

I feel like a fraud. I don’t believe God even wanted me alive in the first place. I have slipped through the cracks. I shouldn’t be here. Everything I did while I was a youth pastor or a teacher or a speaker or youth worker is all for nothing because look at me now. God has left me, forgotten about me. I pray and hear silence. Even for grace… nothing. My parents never wanted me yet I was the kid that cause them no grief, got straight As I got a degree, worked through University, never drank or did drugs, never dated, worked to play sports to stay out of trouble, took care of my brother, I watched a trauma at least one per year without blinking.

I shouldn’t be here and lately the thoughts are getting stronger. The things that are happening are getting harder to push through.  I have no support left; nobody to help me navigate; the income has officially stopped and with it any hope of getting treatment will go with it . And with that, any hope of getting back to life, to the world, to myself, to work.

This is not who I was two years ago and I miss her. Everybody misses her. Nobody calls. Nobody emails. Nobody texts. Once the social convener, now the social pariah, my mouth is getting sore from the smile I’m forced to fake.

The circle of life. I hate to give my parents credit but I have given in to their assessment. I will and have failed and amounted to nothing. I will fail. Even therapy. I have failed. Trust nobody.

My parents have done nothing good for me. Nothing. They have have have belittled me, beat me, tortured me, neglected me, stolen from me, guilted me, and the list goes on but all in all, they have not been parents. I have no family. In my sane brain, when the chatter is off, I know it needs to stop, I know I need to put them to rest. But it’s not that simple. If it was, I’d flip that switch and move on. Why the bell do I feel allegiance to the people that hated me, deems me worthless from day one, strapped me, burnt me with lighters, put guns to my head, gave me silent treatments, left me for days, told me I was stupid and ugly. Why? Because they are my parents.

And it should have been me.


I guess it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, like I’ve felt like writing , like I’ve felt like it mattered, made a difference, felt like connecting to anything, to anyone, cyber or not. The world came crashing down on top of me three weeks ago in a way that you’d think I’d be prepared for by now, with all the trauma under my belt. But this one, while in the midst of trying to figure it all out, trying to figure out how to get the help I need on the minimal income I have and the help that is willing to take me on despite my case being “out of their scope” or too complicated, blindsided me.

My first instinct is to give up. My parents were right. I have become what they said I would. Useless, an idiot, hopeless, good for nothing. The circle is complete. The words in my head won’t stop. I can’t turn my parents off and i can’t take suicide off the table. I want it off the table. Forever.

But for now, I’m still here. With the new blindside, I have unfortunately had to give up many of the much needed therapies and things I’ve needed to get better so I don’t know what’s to come or what the future will bring.

Some days I wonder if 37 years ago if only I had pulled out that gun on that Winnebago from where it was stashed….