I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted this blog to go when I started it.
I envisioned this blog ( beeshive.ca ) as being separate from ( cfbnamao.ca ). And it will be.
My other blog, cfbnamao.ca , is more about the trauma and abuse I went through as a child living on a Canadian Armed Forces base that was gripped by the Captain Father Angus McRae child sexual abuse scandal that the Canadian Armed Forces buried out of fear of the public humiliation that would have resulted had the Canadian public found out that an officer of the regular force had sexually abused children on a secure defence establishment for just short of two years.
The other blog, cfbnamao.ca , is also where I go through the flaws in the National Defence Act which allow DND to hide and bury pre-1998 incidents of child sexual abuse.
This blog is intended to deal with the day to day or week to week goings on in my life.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to post in this blog or how personal I wanted to get.
There are things I will talk about on this blog, and there are things I won’t talk about on this blog. The ones I won’t talk about are more to do with how boring they actually are.
I’ve been told by one of my counsellors before that I should write a book about my life. The problem is that I’m not a writer. I can type, and I can write blogs. So I figured that I would at least get my story out. It will be in blog form, and it will probably jump around from topic to topic a lot. Sure, I won’t make any money from this, but at least it gets my story out and allows me to tell my side of things.
Some of the issues that I write about will make a lot of people very uncomfortable. And that’s fine. It’s been a really weird life, and I’ve got a lot of issues and a lot of demons.
For a brief refresher, I was a military dependent as a child. My father served in the Canadian Armed Forces. I lived on military bases in military housing from birth until age 16. My father was an alcoholic with anger issues, he had depression and he also suffered no doubt from PTSD due to a naval incident that happened in 1969. He self medicated with alcohol and was quick to anger. Everyone minded their own business in the military housing on base and lots of people, including the military police would just turn a blind eye. My mother left when I was 5. She couldn’t take my father’s drinking or physical abuse. My father brought his own mother, a survivor of the Indian Residential Schools, into the house to raise my brother and I as my father was frequently absent. It is because of my grandmother’s heavy drinking that my younger brother and I ended up being sexually abused by the base chaplain and his 14 year old altar boy for just over 1-1/2 years. In the fallout of the CFB Namao scandal, I spent 2-1/2 years in the care of the military social worker receiving conversion therapy. A couple of years later, I would end up being sexually abused by a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces who was working as a commissionaire at the armouries where I was in cadets. There’s a lot more dysfunction in my life, but that’s a basic run down.
In 2011 I obtained my foster care records, which I never knew existed. Turns out that in the aftermath of the CFB Namao matter, I was so depressed, so anxious, and so emotionally disturbed that I was supposed to have been institutionalized. That never happened though because the Canadian Forces needed to keep the Captain McRae matter under the rug and out of the public eye. In fact, my father was posted out of the jurisdiction of Alberta in order to ensure that I was taken out of the jurisdiction of Alberta Social Services so that my apprehension would never occur.
So, I suffered with diagnosed but untreated mental illness for 42 years.
Mental illness that various doctors were noting was getting more and more out of hand.
And for the most part I think I got everything “under control” and “hidden”. You learn quickly in life how to hide mental illness and depression and anxiety.
Things have popped up in the past, but you can only keep the lid on a boiling pot for so long before the roiling bubbles lift the lid.
I’ve had an interesting career trajectory.
Most employers that I’ve work for hired me because they could see that I was very technically skilled and that I had a very obvious ability to deal with technical issues. But, the one thing that most employers had remarked is that I lacked the personal skills required for advancement.
In 2011, after the Canadian Forces military police let slip to me that my babysitter had been involved with the base chaplain and that the base chaplain had been kicked out of the military for molesting children, I started to see a counsellor.
I started going over my history with this counsellor. I started discussing all of the paperwork I had uncovered. All of my personal records that I had found. The lawsuit between my babysitter and the Minister of National Defence in 2001. The out of court settlement in November of 2008.
My counsellor said to me that I reminded him of a character in a series of books that he had read, and he wanted to know if I had ever heard about “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. I had actually. I had already read the books and had already seen the films. My counsellor said that the parallels between my life and the life of Lisbeth Salander were remarkable. We were both very damaged people, but we were both very smart, very tech savvy, and able to put the puzzle pieces together.
And yeah, that’s pretty true. I have no interpersonal skills. I can relate with people on technical issues and in technical discussions, but outside of that I’m lost. I don’t make small talk. I’m not interested in discussing family life. Wanna talk about work, sure, I’m your man. Wanna talk about your sister’s wedding, or what happened in the sportsball game last night? Nope, not interested in the least.
Due to the “conversion therapy” I received from the military social worker I have no honest idea of what my gender is or what my orientation is. And sex is kinda a moot point anyways as (a) I really don’t like being touched, (b) I really don’t like being touched in a sexual manner, (c) I find sex to be repulsive, (d) I honestly don’t know if I’m GLBTQ. And it probably doesn’t help that my years of untreated and unmanaged depression and anxiety mean that I don’t like getting personal with people. I have honestly had very few partners of either gender in my life.
So, for the record I am the Chief Engineer at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC. This is a position that I’ve held since May of 2020. Prior to that I was the Acting Chief Engineer while we reclassified the power plant. Prior to being Acting Chief Engineer I was the Assistant Chief Engineer since about 2017. Prior to that I was a maintenance power engineer for about 11 years.
Power engineering was recommended to me back in 2002. It was a pathway to a decent paying job for a person who didn’t have the funds or the support to take a trade course.
St. Paul’s Hospital is being relocated to the False Creek Flats. Construction of the new hospital should be completed in about 7 years. I’ve had involvement with the planning and design of the new hospital. The old St. Paul’s Hospital will probably continue to operate for at least one or two years after the new hospital is open in order to ensure that all of the programs and clinics transfer from one site to the other without any disruption.
St. Paul’s hospital on Burrard will more than likely be my final place of employment. The hospital and I have been taking care of each other for the last 17 years. And we’ll take care of each other for the next few years.
Now, I will unequivocally state that the future of St. Paul’s Hospital has absolutely nothing to do with my decision to explore the possibility of Medical Assistance in Dying.
I am not looking at M.A.i.D. out of fear for my future. Even though the new St. Paul’s will have either a 2nd class power plant or a 3rd class power plant, which means that I cannot be the chief at the new hospital, there would still be ample positions for me in the power plant none the less.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that because of what I’ve done over my tenure at St. Paul’s that Senior Leadership would create a position for me if they had to.
I bring this up because I forgot that one of the Senior Leaders from Providence Health Care follows my twitter feed and saw my postings about M.A.i.D.
I am actually very proud of the work that I’ve done at St. Paul’s and the innovations that I’ve brought to the Physical Plant. I have a good team under me and I have good leaders above. The other trades and I get along very well.
In a way, being at St. Paul’s has probably allowed me to deal with my mental health issues as I could take off sick days on the days where I was completely incapable of getting out of bed in the morning.
Being at St. Paul’s has also allowed me to be as odd and weird as I want because so long as you’re doing the work required of you both HR and the union don’t care, and if they don’t care then the personal opinions of others don’t matter.
COVID last year was an absolute disaster and extremely disruptive to the physical plant. But COVID was far from the sole reason for my breakdown this past spring.
I’ve run as far and as hard as I can.
For 42 years I’ve been hauling around baggage that no person should ever have to carry.
For 42 years I’ve been denied treatment, help, and acknowledgement for issues that were far beyond my control.
The years of childhood neglect, the physical, mental and sexual abuse, the years of self loathing, self hatred, the feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, and the realization that I had been sacrificed by the Canadian Armed Forces to keep their secrets hidden finally came home to roost.
All of it is finally catching up.
I want to go to sleep.
I don’t want any memories of the past.
I don’t want to remember being caught in P.S.’s bedroom.
I don’t want to remember the sexual abuse on CFB Namao. And let’s be very clear, P.S. could be very aggressive and depraved. This was not, as Alberta Crown prosecutor Jon Werbicki opined in October 2011, “childhood curiosity and experimentation “. P.S. would vent his own anger and hatred on the kids he was abusing, so let’s not mince any words here. There was no fun enjoyed by his victims.
I don’t want to remember watching P.S. sexually abuse my younger brother.
I don’t want to remember P.S. sexually abusing the other kids.
I don’t want to remember the five distinct visits to the chapel on CFB Namao to see Captain McRae in his living quarters. Visits that always ended with a sickly sweet grape juice. One of these visits hurts the most and will always stand out in my mind. I was with my father over at the storage unit he rented for his motorcycle. My father wasn’t around a lot. He’d bugger off for weeks or months on end and leave us in the care of his mother who was living on base with us. I really wasn’t helping him work on his motorcycle, but I just wanted to be near him. P.S. came walking by and asked my father if he wanted P.S. to look after me. I looked at my father hoping that he would say no. My father told me to go with P.S. and stay with him. P.S. took me right to the chapel.
After Mcpl Christian Cyr let slip to me in May of 2011 that the base padre Captain McRae had been arrested for molesting children on the base in 1980, I broke down and told him about the five visits to the rectory and the sickly sweet grape juice. And not having any memories after the grape juice. The CFNIS spent the entire rest of the investigation trying their best to gaslight me. When I finally received the court martial transcripts and the 1980 CFSIU investigation paperwork it killed me to find out that the CFSIU in 1980 knew that Captain McRae was luring children into the chapel and would give them alcohol before sexually assaulting them. The CFNIS had these documents in their possession through the entire 2011 CFNIS investigation.
I don’t want to remember my father threatening to kill me for fucking with his military career. When my father received his compassionate posting from CFB Summerside to CFB Namao in 1978 he ended up being attached to 447 squadron. 447 was the home of the tandem rotor heavy lift and troop transport helicopters. He arrived at that squadron when it was brand new. 447 Sqn wasn’t officially stood up until January 1979. I never knew what position my father had at 447. He would always go off on training exercises sometimes for 6 to 8 weeks at a time. The Chinooks were his escape from the responsibilities of his family. He could run off with his military buddies and leave me and my brother at home with his alcoholic mother who would hire P.S. to be our babysitter. In 2019 I learnt about my father’s death in 2017. I filed an ATI request with Library and Archives Canada for his service records. LAC complied and released a partial amount. But it was more than enough for me to understand that I really wasn’t exaggerating when I say that Richard despised me for “fucking with his military career”. Just after our arrival on CFB Namao in the summer of 1978, the Canadian Forces sent my father to Boeing-VERTOL for Maintenance Management training on the Chinook. Here he was, a kid from Fort McMurray, a kid with bugger all for formal education, and he was going to be a key player in the hierarchy of 447 Sqn. My abuse at the hands of P.S. caused us to be relocated off CFB Namao and sent down to CFB Griesbach. And then when Alberta Social Services divulged their plan to remove me from the home, the Canadian Forces arranged for my father to be posted to CFB Downsview in Ontario. Yeah, it looks as if he was right when he would often rage out that I had “fucked with his military career”. Sure, as a 50 year old man I fully understand that none of this was my fault. However when you’re 11 years old, you don’t understand this. When your father tells you that you fucked with his military career, that’s it, you fucked with his military career. You can’t undo the yelling, the screaming, the backhands, the belts. I lived through his rage, and there is no removing it from my brain.
I don’t want to remember the times my father would beat me and then beat me again for crying. Nothing would get Richard more enraged than crying. And what’s a sexually abused child with major depression and severe anxiety going to do? They tend to cry.
I don’t want to remember trying to hide under my captain’s bed to keep my father from getting hold of me. Richard could lose his temper. I learnt quickly that I could hide from Richard under my captain’s bed. Once he figured out where I was hiding he took all of the panels off the bed. I lost my safe space.
I don’t want to remember hoping and wishing all the time on CFB Griesbach that I would die in my sleep and never wake up again.
I don’t want to remember my grandmother’s alcoholism or my father’s alcoholism.
I don’t want to remember how Earl Stevens used his position of authority at the Dennison Armouries in Toronto to entrap me into providing sexual favours to him. Somehow Earl knew that I was a military dependent and that my father was in the Canadian Armed Forces and that I lived on a military base. Earl was retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he preyed upon children living on the bases that he was stationed at. He knew that if he touched me that blackmailing me would be very simple as male on male sexual assault is something that no one ever talked about on base. In fact you knew that if you got sexually abused on base the last people you ever wanted to find out were the military police or your own family.
I don’t want to remember the times my father would get angry at my school teachers for wanting to help me or to encourage me to take my hobbies seriously. This one I can’t really speak to or understand. Most parents would have died to have their child put extra effort into school. Not Richard. Just go to fucking school, stare at the fucking blackboard, and stop showing off.
I don’t want t remember being mugged in 1995 by a guy and his girlfriend only to have a Vancouver Police Officer tell me that he wasn’t going to investigate my mugging because he was certain that I was a homosexual prostitute. Even when I found a video tape that had the two suspects on it and showed the proximity to me in a line-up, this police constable refused to look at the matter.
I don’t want to remember all of the people in positions of authority who took advantage of my technical skills to make themselves look better while at the same time limiting my potential due to my lack of education.
I don’t want P.S., Captain Father Angus McRae, Captain Terry Totzke, Earl Ray Stevens, my father, or my grandmother living in my head. They all need to go.
I don’t want to remember all of the kids who beat the shit out of me as I left P.S.’s house the day I had been caught in his bedroom.
I don’t want to remember the kids at the various schools who used to beat the shit out of me for being different and not normal. Sure, I might have been odd and a bit of an asshole, but the Canadian Armed Forces decided that their secrets were worth more than my psychological well-being.
I don’t want to deal with the crushing major depressions or the severe anxiety anymore. I don’t want to wake up with night terrors, or have to have teeth removed because Ive cracked them due to excessive grinding. The anxiety is not fun. The major depression is a literal killer.
Sure, the Lexapro has brought the anxiety under control and seems to have tamed the anxiety monster, but they’re still there. I can feel their presence. I know they’re just waiting for my body to build up a tolerance to the serotonin and then they’ll come roaring back with a vengeance.
I’ve had the suicide monster lurking in my brain ever since the days of living on Canadian Forces Base Griesbach. The suicide monster is kinda easy to keep under control. But it’s there none the less. If I didn’t have a suicide monster living in my head after all that I’ve gone through then that would truly indicate that something was wrong.
There’s a lot of baggage in my skull. There’s a lot of trauma. There’s a lot of damage.
I’m tired, and I don’t want any of this anymore.
Knowing that the end is possibly within reach actually fills me with hope.
Think I’ll stop this post here.