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Death, Atonement, Tears. (DAT)


Tony Miles

Death, Atonement, Tears. (DAT)

REVISED EDITON


Copyright © 2017 by Tony Miles

Milestony568@gmail.com

IBSN-9781386052135


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever including Internet usage, without written permission of the author.


Book design by Maureen Cutajar www.gopublished.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS


EXCERPTS

READER’S COMMENTS

BOOK REVIEW

PROLOGUE

BOOK SUMMARY

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


DEATHS FORETOLD

MARTHA’S STORY

JESSICA’S STORY

SAMMY SPADE TELLS IT ALL

CASSANDRA’S STORY

MIRANDA’S STORY

JOHNATHAN & JACKIE

BELINDA’S STORY

EXCERPTS


CASSANDRA’S STORY

Camille’s pain and suffering for deceiving her friend.

“My life of misery continued, each time I made love to Anthony, I saw your face, wet with tears staring angrily at me.”


JACKIE AND JOHNATHON’S STORY

Jackie: on sexual-harassment at the work place.

“You must all unite like the spider’s web to hijack the Jacks and Janes from the planes of power.”


DEATH FORETOLD

My Dad’s forgiveness to the hospital’s surgical staff for carelessness regarding my Mom’s early death.

“Forgiveness is man’s way of reconciling with each other, considering it cannot be overused, there is no limit to its application.”



BELINDA’S STORY.

My heart-rending experience while interviewing Belinda.

“I succumbed to my misguided vanity, that tears and strength are not twinned and cut short the interview, like a whimpering coward, who mistook the act of displaying human sympathy towards another, for weakness, and capped that unconscionable behavior by unleashing my appetite for a couple of drinks.”



MIRANDA’S STORY

Miranda in her quest for redemption.

“I wanted to correct the wrongs committed by my parents and myself. I freed my mother’s sex slaves with her help, offered them a new life, using my ill-begotten wealth from my deceased drug dealer boyfriend Tony and monies I stole from my mother.”



TOUCHING, LINGERING, MOMENTS DURING MY INTERVIEWS

The somber look on Jackie’s face, tears, flowing from her eyes when she told me she was willing to temporarily lease her body to a stranger, although it was for only one night, on the instruction of her boss or lose her job.


My brief moments with Belinda awakened a dormant, soft, sympathetic trait in my character for another human being albeit a complete stranger, bringing me to tears at times, when her troubled, sad face, deteriorating physical appearance, reappears in my memories.


Reading Jessica’s letter from her son highlighted the hope for atonement and forgiveness on both mother and son’s part. The contents of the letter have left an indelible mark on me.


Spending hours with Sammy Spade looking at his two-hundred-pound body trapped in a wheelchair because of the negligence of a drunken driver, yet he forgave the man.


Martha who has self-inflicted pain on herself, living in remorse for years, blaming herself for her husband’s death, yet her unbelievable physical appearance showed no sign of the agony within.

READER’S COMMENTS

I must tell you your book is one of the best I have read, I finished reading it within a few days short of a week after I started reading it, even though I had to take breaks to stop the tears; “yes I'm emotional”. Upon completion I found myself feeling this great amount of love and appreciation for everyone who is a part of my life. Not only has your book inspired me but also allowed me to gain respect and adoration for Tony Miles for he perceives to be of good character and is above the bitter influences of this life.(Chantelle Brown)

BOOK REVIEW


AUTHOR TONY MILES

REVIEWED BY: DR. GLENVILLE ASHBY


“If we could spend our time correcting our discovered flaws, our life span would not allow us enough time to find fault with others.” (Tony Miles)


“Human Weakness, Forgiveness Epitomised” tugs at the con- science of a world that has lost its moral bearing. Deception, infidelity, hubris, and greed have always found a home in the bosom of man. But now and again there is a messenger who clamours for change. We need to be reminded of the Golden Rule, if only to prevent us from falling into an existential abyss. Tony Miles has assumed this role with passion. And, by virtue of his age and experience, he is more than able. He is didactic and exhortative at times, but is never at risk of losing us. He admits his inadequacies and flaws. He, too, is haunted by bad choices. And this candour is refreshing. Human Weakness is deftly produced. Surely, we can argue that the power of forgiveness is pontificated on tens of thousands of pulpits and beamed globally almost daily. So what makes this undertaking different? For starters, the written word, read multiple times, embeds itself into the unconscious, impacting us on subliminal levels. Also, there is an unmistakable authenticity to Miles’ writing. His empathy is contagious and long before the curtain drops we are moved, taken up by a sea of emotion. Indeed, we mirror the experiences of Miles’ many interviewees. We search our moral compass. Are we really sound, good-spirited, and communal- minded? Are we really compassionate? Miles goes at length to test our altruistic standing. He asks, “You are a passenger on a hijacked aircraft carrying 158 passengers and crew…would you volunteer to save the lives [of everyone if] the hijackers only have one demand: they need a volunteer to commit suicide to highlight the seriousness of their demands?”


Other probing enquiries continue: “Your friend has deceived you; your friend has engineered your demotion; your friend is having an affair with your spouse…if the friend dies it is almost a certainty that you will get the job. Are you heading to the new office or your friend’s funeral soon, or both?”


“You are travelling on public transportation [and] you pick up a suitcase that looks similar to yours … On opening [it] you see a large amount of money. Would you make the effort to return the money or would you keep it?”


And in a tale of sexual harassment, a woman must weigh sleeping with a superior (if only for a single occasion), or risk losing her financial independence. Would you?


These questions can be taxing. As the focus shifts to forgiveness some of Miles’ interviewees, victims of duplicity and inhumanity, genuinely overcame their resentment.


The case of Cassandra, duped by her best friend, Camille, stands out. Here, betrayal knows no boundaries. That the victim kept vigil and consoled her tormentor while she died gives tangible meaning to the biblical counsel: Turn the other cheek.


And so, too, does the story of the former police officer whose paralysis was due to a drunk driver. That the officer forgave and forged a meaningful relationship with this individual speaks to our capacity for mercy.


Miles’ chronicle of tragedy is tempered by redemption for the most part, but there are personal experiences that collapse under the weight of suicide, unsuspecting incest, and a withering death. Here, there are no opportunities for amends.


Throughout, though, Miles errs toward simplicity, believing that we can circumvent or transcend stubborn obstacles with sheer will. But many fail, not for want of trying. We do not possess the same defenses against life's assaults. Sometimes, our impulses are overly complex, unfathomable, seemingly delivered by providence. Failure and personal culpability do not necessarily march in lockstep. Miles should know that much.


Clearly, Human Weakness captures the consuming battles we fight. It serves as a reminder that karma is never distant. We sow what we reap, a poignant maxim that should have long led to good governance on a personal and collective level. That we are endlessly mired in a world fueled by narcissism begs the question: Will Miles’ efforts spur reflection and change? What is certain is that forgiveness liberates us from the shackles of hatred. And if a single reader truly decides to live by this principle, the author's noble mission would not be in vain.

PROLOGUE


What motivated me to write this Book?


I was the recipient of almost perfect upbringing by my parents, yet failed to implement most of it, once I entered my adult life. Inspired by their exemplary lives, feelings of guilt shadowed me throughout my latter days. Act of atonement was divinely sought, which led me to this avenue. Knowing my imperfections, I sought to blend them with other persons who have genuine intentions of telling their stories with one objective; others will benefit from their experiences. If benefit is positively derived from our efforts, the quest for redemption would have been fulfilled.


“Death, Atonement, Tears” is a collection of short stories based on life experiences. It highlights three gripping incidents of deaths foretold my mom and brother the other by a loved one who heralded the pending death of her fiancée by tears at a function six days before. In addition, the contents epitomize three classic heartwarming incidences of the forgiving spirit. Encouraging episodes of characters seeking redemption for their actions. Another, overcome by the series of hurt, both mental and physical inflicted on her, surrendered, denying herself the chance of mankind’s offer of a second chance was divinely ordained. Others, have shown faith in a supreme being when faced in difficult situations. Admittedly, the episodes take you on a unique journey, covering a variety of incidents, exposing some of mankind’s common indiscretions. Specifically chosen because of the moral outreach of the stories. Yet, your emotional barometer will climb to a new high.


As the tide of multiple, varying human behavior entrap you throughout the book, it is likely your tear duct will be activated, as your emotions will swim to reach out to some of the characters portrayed, as their experiences may mirror your own. You will be fully engaged, as a series of questions at the end of each episode is intended to heighten your interest in the characters’ experiences, giving you a chance to make a fair analysis how you would react were the roles reversed. It is the Author’s and the interviewees’ hope that a wide cross-section of readers will find within these pages, some quotation, some deed by a character, or characters, some happy or sad moment, that compels one to ask the question. Have I treated others how I wish to be treated? If you gain anything from the contents of this book, share it with others, if you haven’t, we are sorry we failed you, we hope others can do what we failed to achieve


Whenever you are given a second chance ensure the mistakes of the past are corrected.


God bless you all.


Martha

Jessica

Sammy Spades

Cassandra

Miranda

Jackie & Johnathon

Tony

BOOK SUMMARY


DEATHS FORETOLD


Hints, foretelling deaths of my mother and brother, the other like the two were heralded by tears. A clock set to alarm at 12noon forwarded the alarm time to 11:40am, exact time my brother George died. And what of Elizabeth, whose tears at a function foretold the tragic death of her boyfriend six days before it happened?

A series of bizarre coincidences that appear in doubles”, will make you think twice before dismissing any “Twin Coincidences”


Was my own pending death foretold?

While I was writing the aforementioned episode, I was not aware that my mortal galaxy was targeted, and plans are in place for a visit in the not too distant future. Recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, placing me in the most feared departure lounge. Yet, any fear of dying is almost non-existent having surpassed threescore and ten, I firmly believe in life after death, which is merely a transition from one life to the other.

My mother’s display of strength at the tender age of 49, while on her death bed, looking at her facial expression of serene happiness has indeed left a lasting impression on me, regarding my own concept of dying, despite the fact it is over five decades ago.

It is my wish that all my readers’ fear of death will be greatly diminished when it is inevitable the transition is about to take place”. Tony Miles.


MARTHA: She has been a widow for over twenty-nine-years suffering from self-pity, and slumped into remorse. Lack of communication between the couple while her husband was dying of terminal illness led to her unhappy life after his passing.


JESSICA: Deception of her husband exposed the Russian roulette-like actions, which can prove deadly and devastating. She was taken towards the precipitous cliff of an incestuous relationship with the son she didn’t even recognize. Experiencing rejection months before her second marriage forced her to take stock of her life, meanwhile her once luxurious life plummeted into penury. Could her son forgive her enough to snatch her from the gutters of ruination?


SAMMY SPADE: Took us on life’s unpredictable journey, unveiling his occupational experiences from police officer to senior manager turned pig farmer. A dramatic turn of events after being the victim of an accident caused by a drunken drive meant that his medical bills drained the family’s resources. Clutched by the jaws of financial ruin, a dream could save him. He took us to the pinnacle of forgiveness, making it crystal clear that a forgiving spirit is the clearest path to inner happiness, not only to us, but to the recipients of our forgiveness.


CASSANDRA: Betrayed by her fiancée and best friend, she took her disappointment to a new level of forgiveness when she unearthed the truth behind her girlfriend’s motive for betrayal. Caught up in the circle of deception, her own infidelity during her boyfriend’s overseas trips brought her commitment into question.


MIRANDA: Brought up in the ghetto, parented by a gangster father and a mother who operated a brothel. Between them, her parents had seventeen other children with different partners. Her life while hanging on the cliff of despair, used her strength and mental fortitude to turn it around, motivating her mother’s sex-slaves to grasp the opportunity for a better life as well


JONATHAN AND JACKIE: They thought they were able to swim out of the pool of poverty after Jackie landed a well- paid job, but then she had to face the monster of sexual harassment by her boss.


BELINDA: One of the most heart-rending episodes, about a young bright attractive young lady who became the victim of evil men, taking her into the world of drug addiction, using her as a sex machine, surrendered to death, broken mentally and physically. Unfortunately, she did not accept the life line of a second chance, as is divinely ordained, even using the butterfly as proof of that intention.

DEDICATION


This book is dedicated to MY MOM, who changed her existence over five decades ago, yet her exemplary life will be remembered until I come face to face with mortality.


My father, whose forgiving spirit reached celestial heights, when he opted not to take action against the hospital, whose carelessness caused the early end of his wife and my mom; and he could not have chosen a better mother for the ten of us; and himself a good parent.


Georgie: whose ten brief years exposed his unusual brilliance.


Jerome: a perfect example of a good brother.

Joyce: who exemplified what a good step-mother can be.


Elaine: a personification of a kind, faithful, loving and dedicated woman


Belinda: who experienced mortality at the tender age of 28 having succumbed to the influences of evil people

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would like to acknowledge all those who volunteered information for the book, including, those whose stories were not included.


Thanks to the numerous persons those who offered support and advice.

I must make mention of Victoria Strauss, founder of Writers Beware, for offering invaluable information regarding the publishing industry, putting would-be authors on the guard against scammers

To Drs. Maurice & Trudy Miles who opened the capsule to my book writing experience

Editor: Jessie Sanders: StormyNightPublishing.com

Cover Designer: Jeanine Henning: jen@jeaninehenning.com

DEATHS FORETOLD


Death, the most feared word in any language, void of bias towards any group of humanity. Despite its inevitability, human beings it would appear by divine design, fear its visitation on us and our loved ones, no doubt to maintain smooth flow of human activities. Consider mass-suicides by world leaders, airline pilots, medical personnel, and others whose mass departure would be the perfect recipe for panic and mayhem, plunging the planet into anarchy and chaos. Man’s existence on the planet has been given protection by some supreme being; in return, one’s tenure is of a temporary nature. In addition, the fear of death is an incentive toward one’s quest for longevity.


Why should I be writing on a topic that very few people want to read about? The objective is to share my experiences with you taking you on a journey where my mom, brother, Elizabeth, my ex-wife and myself visualized deaths of our loved. My mother and my brother had premonitions of their deaths and went into solitude hours after arriving at Ginger Hill. Tears flowed from my eyes while writing my mom after seeing her mere hours after. Elizabeth at a dinner party locked herself in a room for a while. After re-entering the real world there were signs that she visualized something that caused her tear-duct to appear overworked. My ten-year-old brother while being taken to the hospital after falling ill told our dad not to worry he is going home to heaven, my mother’s handling of her pending death, with courage has influenced my own views on accepting death as inevitable and has greatly diminished my fear of death.


My parents were primary school teachers, my father the headmaster and my mom a senior teacher. It was necessary that he goes to a school where there is a vacancy for my mom as well. Sometimes the choices are not consensual, but this particular place my mom and younger George hated it from the second we arrived.


On a cool Boxing Day morning 26th December we left a rural school at Porters Mountain in Westmoreland, to another rural School at Ginger Hill, bordering St James and St Elizabeth just thirty miles apart. My parents along with five siblings arrived at the gingered district after couple hours’ drive. The journey was somber, as a member of the household, one of two domestic helpers, died in her sleep the night before our schedule departure. The gloom of Tatie’s death dampened the spirit of the trip. But my young fertile mind was silently questioning my father’s decision to leave one rural district for another of equal rurality.


We arrived at midday in slightly overcast weather. The teacher’s cottage was next to the church; there was an area that was used as a play field, and at one corner was a tomb, which later became a target of much discussions. The school was a stone’s throw away. The compound was elevated about two hundred feet above the main road. The school had over two hundred students and five teachers plus my parents. The district had lush vegetation all year. Crops did well, farmers planted every type of produce, fruits, from rose-apples to Jackfruits, pineapple, ginger, a variety of mangoes, sugar cane, and livestock. It could have been one of the most fruitful places on the island. The people were open in their affection or disaffection. The first few hours of our new abode opened my eyes to seeing things before they happen. I have been closely linked to premonitory experiences as


I presume many of you have: like having a nervous bad feeling about a place, job offer, an investment, persons you meet for the first time, or even the day you got married. The reception from the residents was heartwarming: there was a mood of revelry amongst them as it was Boxing Day, a big holiday celebration. The residents were anxious to meet the new teacher, his wife, and the five children present. Our father got us together, but there were two notable absentees.


My mom and a younger brother, George. Where were they? I went in a room, saw my mom and George sitting on a bed crying. I asked my mom, “What is wrong?”


She said “I don’t know why your father took us to this place, I hate it.”


Those words stuck in my mind with heartache concern. It did not take long to discover the prophetic nature of my mom's words. As time progressed, the horror of the first day subsided as my mom continued her excellent work of being a good mother, teacher, and wife. She was settling in with staff members and the community quite nicely. Month five of the hill's sojourn was completed, and we had integrated in our new environment, making new friends, and they were many.


Month six: Its Friday the eighth of May, my brother George, ten years old, very bright for his age, two classes above his age group, and by the looks of things was heading for third class, which was where thirteen-year-old children would be. I vividly recall, when mention was made of Tatie, Georgie’s comment: “Tatie gone to Sanderland.” From a child on the fringe of ten years, naming a place he has never heard the name before is mystifying. But he also unfolded other future events. My research via Google does not locate that place as a country on planet earth. Georgie could have coined the word, which could mean in my opinion, “The place for the dead.” George took ill while trying to break open a green mango on a tomb situated east of the playfield. The news of George’s sudden illness echoed throughout the districts like wild fire, blaming the spirit of a dead woman whose body was interred in the tomb. The character of the dead person was fully dissected by many who have never, ever seen, or met the mortal being prior to transformation to the spirit world. George was rushed to the Montego Bay hospital where he was admitted, diagnosed to have suffered a brain hemorrhage. It was agonizing waiting each day for report of George’s condition. We were told that they would have to operate on his brain. At that age, I didn’t have a clue what that meant; all I knew was that it sounded very serious. Day five of my brother's diminishing days on earth, my father went to visit him for the third time, my mother having gone the day before, and looked extremely depressed. The events that are about to unfold will no doubt make you cringe in disbelief although they transpired fifty-odd-years ago, every second is graphically imprinted in my waning memory.


My father’s visit to George at the hospital on Wednesday the 13th of May was different from other days; there was an air of gloom, even the skies showed ominous signs, lightening accompanied by thunder and rain birds flying in multiple flocks, hovering over the school environs. Yet not one drop of rain fell that day as is usual for heavy showers shortly after the presence of hundreds of rain birds.


“The Clock” was an analog alarm with an extra hand that was used to specify the time and to activate the alarm. My mom was acting principal. As is customary, the clock was set to alarm at 12 noon. In an occurrence yet unanswered. At 11:40 am the clock rang, twenty minutes before the set time, signaling the end of the morning session. A student whose name was Cyril uttered these words: “Jesus Christ! Georgie dead now.” There was a deathly silence that engulfed the school. One could hear a crescendo of heartbeats from the two hundred hearts, beating with uniformity, as if some invisible choir master was directing a funeral march, welcoming a young soul to its solo journey to eternity. Few children enjoyed or ate any free lunch that day, and teaching was put on hold. Was there a mechanical failure with the clock? Why did it defy all mechanical logics and strike twenty minutes before the set time, an almost unlikely occurrence? Research has not surfaced any plausible reason how the clock on its own could forward the alarm time. Was the time incorrectly set for 11:40 am, and for what purpose?


Time dragged on until 3:49 pm, when a grim, distressed, tired-looking postman with a look of gloom imprinted on his face was seen pushing his bicycle up the hill, toward the school. He approached the building, went to my mom, and handed her that feared pink envelope, a telegram. With tears streaking down her somber face, her inaudible voice mum- bled the words, “Georgie died at 11:40 am.


The silence was deafening. It was like the world stood still; for moments, you could see tears dripping from the eyes of teachers and students. You could collect cans of tears from those present. In six short months, we witnessed the first fulfilment of a premonition which engulfed a somewhat quiet district into mourning. My mother and my brother George both saw glimpses of their deaths, on that December 26th when they locked themselves in a room and cried.

Fulfilling the foretelling of death, he died six months after my mother followed five years after.


Thursday 14th May, school resumed in a very somber atmosphere, what surprised me. School attendance was 10% more than normal; was it a mark of respect, sadness, or curiosity? As the clock raced towards 11:40 there was a fever pitch of anticipation whether there would be a double defiance by the disobedient clock. It showed remarkable patience and was obedient as a well-behaved child, and followed instructions to the tick, making its customary noise at the command time. Those who were present witnessed the first phenome- non in their lives and were convinced that the clock alarmed the second George died.


Georgie’s death left me devastated, morbid feelings engulfed me and remorse captured my conflicting thoughts, heralding my entry into the teenage world. I had feelings of guilt for Georgie’s death, since we had had fights as children growing up and I was his big brother. I engaged my developing mind at full throttle, creating mental images of photographic memory to recall if I ever hit Georgie in his head anytime, during our fights that could have caused his brain damage. As the clock of teenage maturity ticked at snail’s pace toward adulthood, my guilt dwindled, releasing me from any guilt bondage I felt entrapped within. By all indications he died of natural causes.


However, new thoughts entered my mind as I considered his death followed shortly after the brain surgery. Lesson learnt— feeling remorse is a cleansing of the mind. That is, we all should feel remorseful, if we do, or perceive to have done, something wrong to anyone, whether intentional or accidental.


I attended that school for another three years and never heard that clock alarm before 12 noon again. To this day no one can deny that George did not portend his death on 26 December, less than six months before he died.


As tears in the other instances followed the same pattern early death. Will there be a continuation of more chilling deaths that I will encounter?


The preceding episodes had sealed my belief that impending death can be revealed to us even when no medical signal is present at the time. And for those of you reading this episode, your doubts, if any, will be tested to the limit.


My mother Betsy-Ann was five foot nine, small built, got married at twenty years old. She loved all her ten children and would make any sacrifice for all us. Loving, and faithful wife and a personification of virtue. She represented what every child would want for a mother. She was totally dedicated as a teacher and treated her students as if they were also her children. She was active in Women’s Federation. She was a top class host and epitomized social grace, hosting many dignitaries including Lady Huggins, the governor’s wife. She maximized her efforts for all nine of us to attend high school, as unfortunately in the fifties and sixties, high school was for the privileged few. Although the Jamaica Local examinations were well recognized, most holders of third year certificate would enter high school at much higher grades. Others used these exams to enter the nursing, teaching, and other public service professions. My mother seems to be racing the clock because the last sibling attended Cornwall College the same time with me, and Basil was at Clarendon College. That was a ton of sacrifice by our parents, sending three children to boarding school simultaneously. Actually that was not the first for the boarding school triple.


I noticed my mom occasionally had upset stomach after meals. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she would be fine. I knew something was not right. There was a medical encyclopedia at home that gave details including symptoms of major illness. Cancer was the one I focused on. The pictures of various forms of cancer was so graphic that I sighed in fear when I looked at them. My mom’s signs were indicating stomach problems. I suppressed my findings and hoped there were typographic and pictorial errors in the book I read.


My unprofessional diagnosis of my mom’s illness was way, way off track. She apparently suffered from mild ulcerated stomach, which affected her at times depending on what she ate. She had a passionate desire for fish, especially the head, and it was a pleasure watching her eating it: her ultimate joy was not concealed as smiles broke out on her face until she consumed the last bite.


However, information surfaced weeks after my mom’s passing. Her death resulted from gross negligence by members of the surgical team who performed an appendectomy and left portions of cotton gauze inside her. It infected her body and left a toxic effect on her system, resulting in her untimely death by poisoning. My father, on receiving the report, which showed no evidence of criminal intent, did not pursue any action against the hospital, although he was strongly advised to. A forgiving crown was firmly placed on his head, revealing an almost celestial heights of forgiveness, toward the medical perpetrators of negligence. Apart from damaging the hospital’s reputation, the hospital would also be liable for huge financial compensation payout.


He refused to be tempted by any financial gain, which at the time would have relieved him of the grave financial burden that he would have to face alone having three children at not cheap boarding schools.


Reliable sources quoted my father: “It would not resurrect her and would put an end to the career of members of the surgical team, and Betsy wouldn’t wish it to end that way.”


Fifty-odd years have elapsed since then, and I have never seen or heard of such an act of forgiveness and sacrifice embodied in one human being. Being blessed in having such forgiving Christian parents, I, unfortunately, I do not possess such outstanding characteristics. My father was indeed a good man, not a “lip service” Christian, but a person who emulated Christian principles. Despite the anger, hurt, and shock, it took me years to forgive the carelessness of the hospital. But as the pendulum of time moved towards my adult life, I concurred with my father’s action, as forgiveness is tonic for the soul. Maybe that careless act might have resulted in other lives being saved by those responsible, as more care and dedication would be exercised. The seed of forgiveness my parents sowed, frankly has just started to bear fruit, albeit at the twilight of my life.


Forgiveness is man’s way of reconciling with each other, every single one of us has that power, considering it cannot be overused, and there is no limit to its application. Use it and be happy; be stingy in its use and you will never know the ecstatic feeling of forgiveness.


Sunday morning, I opted to go to early prep instead of going to Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay after making arrangement to meet Gabriela, a girlfriend in the making. The time we could communicate was short, which would make our meeting more treasured since we boarders were allowed one hour on the beach under supervision?


I gave up those precious moments we were both looking forward to. Fate intervened. While writing my mom, tears were streaming down my face with regularity, though I was merely penning my thoughts and commitment to do well in my exams just weeks away. Gabriela exited my thoughts like butter melting in a hot frying pan. Why did I choose to write my mom, having seen her mere hours ago? Sunday night matron called me to say my mother was ill, at the Montego Bay hospital.


Monday morning at ten thirty, I did the unthinkable: I left my smaller brother Winston at school without permission and went to the hospital. My mother was in surgery. I waited for two hours then returned to school, reported to my house master, telling him what happened. He took me to the headmaster EA Barrett, reputed to be the strictest headmaster in the Caribbean at the time. I was spared disciplinary action but got very stern warning. That incident molded my thought process, to appreciate any act of goodness received during adversity when you need it most. I visited the hospital with permission this time. It was now after three thirty and my brother Winston and I went to visit our mom. She looked up and said to me “Go back to school and change your shirt; you cannot attend funeral dressed like that.” It was the first hint of her impending death. I was shaking, my mouth became dry, my body covered with cold sweat as a result of nervousness and fear. I went back to school, changed my shirt, and came back to the hospital. Our mom told us that Jerome had planned to come for her that weekend to spend time with his family Beryl and first grand-daughter, Donna, but she was not leaving the hospital alive. She again gave signal of her impending death.


My mom is the most unusual human being I had the pleasure of knowing. It amazed me how one person could display so much love, affection, kindness to our father, and nine children almost equally. My mom, on getting the signal of inevitable death, did not cringe in fear or panic. She summoned all of us at different times, outlining her farewell wishes and pep talk to one and all. Amongst other things she said, “I will not be leaving the hospital alive, and to die is gain.”


Those words keep ringing in my ears. What did she mean, to die is gain at the tender age of forty-nine? Despite the pendulum of death swinging toward the 11:40am alarm time, her only concern was for her children and her husband. She was certainly a GOOD person.


As a teenager I saw death as a horrible and scary thing. She spoke those words without fear of dying, with a look of serenity masking her almost wrinkle-free face. Amongst my mom’s greatest regrets, Jerome was not able to pursue his lifelong passion of medicine. But she gained compensation that Hyacinth, had entered the nursing field. Hyacinth was trained at the university hospital Mona then went to Scotland for further training in midwifery. She migrated to Canada where she excelled in her profession.


Our mom must be feeling good. She spent brief moments with her first grandchild, Donna. Her second grandchild, young Jerome, was born two weeks before she died. My mom seems to have completed her earthly duties and was more prepared for her journey fearlessly into eternity.


It is Monday, 26 May, celebrated as Empire Day in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday, days after my mom told us she was going to die. It was the most agonizing moments I have experienced for my entire life, and fifty-odd years hence it still is. Sleepless nights and nervous sad days foretold the final hours of my mom’s date with death. Fulfilling her vision of her death 1,971 days ago, and the exact date by day that she set foot on a place she hated from day one. My mom was buried at Mount Ward Church in Hanover, thirty miles from the place she hated at sight. The funeral was well attended, including scores of my schoolmates all decked in white suits customary for boarders to wear to church. The thought of facing the world on my own without my mom was a not what I was looking forward to at that age. Fortunately, I was on the cusp of leaving school and venturing out in the world on my own. I spent very little time at Ginger Hill after my mom died.


I spent most holidays at Highgate in St Mary with my aunt (my mom’s sister and husband) Lyn and Val Kiddoe, my cousins Margaret, Gladwyn, Garth, Trevor, and Syl. I could hazard a guess that we could be amongst the closest bonded cousins within the four corners of the country. The love and affection that generated amongst the family was amazing; I was home away from home. Those days I will not forget. Highgate was a small town, with friendly, nice people representing a mixture of the country’s social mix, just a few miles from the Parish Capital Port Maria. I alternated my holidays at Frome Estate with Beryl and Jerome, who was employed in a management post. I tried to do what my mom wanted us to do. I battled with my bereavement to do well in my Senior Cambridge Examinations.


After examinations, I entered the world, my destiny in my own hands.


I was prepared for obstacles, success and failure that was strewn in my path on life’s unpredictable journey. Shortly after I graduated from school I got a job engineered by Jerome at Monymusk Estate as a scale clerk. I came face to face with the real world on my own. Frankly, I rather enjoyed my first stint of independence, giving me hope that a bright future was in store. But was it? After a successful year at Monymusk despite offers to stay, including a six-month scholarship to England by Tate &Lyle, owners of both Sugar Estates. I left and joined the government service.


Amongst my myriads of regrets at my mother’s passing, I did not get the chance to prove to her how much she was appreciated, not even to buy her a birthday present. She has molded my own thoughts on the perspective of dying, void of fear. When I should be faced with the inevitable as I am now, as death is a matter of time. Just a transition from one life to the next. Since then I have not grieved for another person’s passing. Not in that manner. I don’t believe the living should spend too much time grieving over our loved ones, combined with the fact, if we believe in another life after this. I doubt they would want us to, as I have never heard anyone I know who has died expressing that wish. In the end our own mortality will come face to face with inevitability. Can anyone of us say which deceased has returned and give us any indication of their new environment, and communicated with us in any form? I will adhere to my mom’s words in her final moments: “To die is gain.”


My mom’s words have really strengthened my conviction to accept death, something we cannot change. Seeing someone seemingly quite happy speaking of their impending death, should deflate the death fear. I, for one, will happily embrace death and would not wish any sacrificial efforts to prolong my life, if they conflict with the inevitable.


This would only cause grief and heartache to my loved ones, whose period of anxiety would be unnecessarily lengthened. Donating my remains for scientific research is well intentioned. A celebratory social gathering would be quite in order, void of eulogistic speeches. It is said that in each of us there is something in our childhood days that can influence our lives. Some have used that as an excuse to clothe themselves in self-pity, finding all sort of excuses for being a failure. Yet there are people with the same childhood experience who have personified success.


To die is gain”, my mom’s words fewer than one hundred hours before she died, has really influenced my views on death, combined with the good qualities of my parents. I must firmly say, each once of us choose our own path in life. From my own experience, had I followed my parents’ up- bringing, I would be a much better human being, given the opportunities that was handed to me from birth on a platter, by almost perfect parents.


The month of May. Once again it is about to strike with deathly anger, reminding me of the existence of premonition as if I have any doubt at all. I am a firm believer that all of us have this gift of sensing when something bad is about to happen that can have some effect on our lives. It was Sunday, 11thMay, and my little sister Kaydeen co-hosted with her fiancée Carlton, a dinner party. I presume an opportunity to publicly declare their love for each other, and an opportunity for mingling of friends and relatives; maybe a precursor for a much bigger event in the not-too-distant future. Guests, included Elizabeth, my ex-wife, and Kaydeen’s best friend, who both seemed to have sealed an almost unbreakable bond.


Elizabeth I have known for thirty years, and together we have parented two young men. Elizabeth and I have very good rapport. I can recollect seven years ago, she called me to tell me she was in the hospital a couple months after we were divorced, and without hesitation I went to visit her. At her bedside was this man who seemed to have total command of the situation and appeared quite comfortable, and he looked to be rather caring. We were introduced by Elizabeth; for some strange reason I instinctively liked the man, and they both seem happy in each other’s company. The happiness was contagious, so I felt happy for her as well. As time elapsed, I discovered that he was well liked by her family as well, getting some of the affection they once had for me, so I am not so bad at accessing one’s character. The dinner party was good: good food, good company, although I spent the latter part of the evening teaching and playing dominoes. I was a bit disappointed that Elizabeth’s boyfriend was unavoidably absent. I wanted to give him a 6-0 that was not to be, or ever to be. At the end of the party, after all the guests had left, I noticed a somber look on Elizabeth’s face as if it was bathed in something apart from water. Her face has shown no sign of age over the years. I knew something was bothering her, but she gave me no answer when I asked what was wrong. I later learnt she was crying earlier, but she could not pinpoint the reason. Did she get a vision of an impending death as my mother, brother, and I saw fifty-odd years ago?


It did not take long to find out why Elizabeth was crying despite the presence of friends and relatives, all wining and dining having a good time. She was temporarily taken on a trip, into the dark future, that gave her a hint that something very bad was about to happen but didn’t know what.


On Friday, 16th May, Elizabeth got a heart-rending telephone call after 8 am that her boyfriend was fatally shot at the gate of his farm. Like I have, Elizabeth has experienced premonition in the form of death. We must accept the fact that there is a superior force that can give us hint of impending occurrences in our lives, we must if we can prepare for them, some things are inevitable whether we want to accept them or not. These three cases of deaths have been proceeded by tears. Are tears the John the Baptist of impending Death?


Have you noticed anything coincidental in these occurrences? The three deaths occur the same month.


2018 MY DATE WITH DESTINY?

2018, sixty years after my Mom died, giving me the courage to face death void of fear.

Recent medical realities has reliably informed me that my date with death is a matter of time. Yet, to date not one second of the “death fear” has entered my mind. Taking one day at a time, following my daily routines of walking, keeping abreast of local and international happenings, hour or two of telephone communications, couple hours on the internet interacting, watching interesting TV series.


Presumably as the pendulum of death swings closer to my final moments, the aforementioned routine may be replaced by wrenching pains, numbed senses, and zero mobility or painless transition into the next world. To date I must admit how gratified I am to have the inner feeling of peace knowing my time is limited.


In November of 2016 I returned from the USA, three months after I noticed a decrease in my already small 150 pound body mass. As time progressed while my mental faculties and physical stamina was not affected it was obvious the frailty of my human structure was been eroded. Numerous tests revealed that cancer cells had infected my body geminating from the prostate gland now terminal; stage 4. Admittedly, I did not have as regular prostate test as I should have, not to say I would not have an unwelcome visit from this killer. This malady seems to be a family enemy as my father and eldest brother at 94 and 83 respectively succumbed to its ravishing.


LESSONS LEARNT SINCE MY DEATH WARRANT HAS BEEN ISSUED.


Think positive, continue with your normal routines.


If it can be avoided do not burden your loved ones or well-wishers with your condition.


Put to rest any narcissist tendencies you may have by expecting everybody to revolve around you during your last days, life goes on for them.


Have faith in God, ask for the strength to do something positive during those waning days.


Show appreciation to the persons who made sacrifice during your period of illness.


Anyone whom you have deliberately hurt during your life; a call or a note of apology would be fantastic, if you are not in a position to do it, ask someone to act on your behalf.


Pray that Pains and agonizing moments will be minimal.

Look forward to do something positive each day.


It is my wish that my remains be donated to the University Hospital of West Indies for scientific research, hopefully many organs will be intact at my time of passing.



I wish to share this letter I sent to the Minister of Health, who acknowledged its receipt within twenty four hours.



WHAT REGULATIONS PROTECTS CUSTOMERS RE PRICING/SALES OF GENERIC DRUGS?


I have no personal issues with the Pharmacy industry, as my encounters with Pharmacists are always cordial, as I find this group of professionals to be caring and personifies professionalism; justifying their importance to the society. My grave concern is the inconsistent prices amongst pharmacies and availability of certain generic drugs which could make the difference between an unwarranted visit to the morgue or a trek back home for recovery.


A specific drug is the subject of my concern not for personal reasons as I am covered by health insurance including NHF, and my use of that drug has become irrelevant like other drugs will soon be as well.


pms- BICALUTAMIDE

Belongs to a group of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-androgens for the purpose to block the effect of male hormone testosterones in the body. Used with the combination with another treatment that reduces the testosterones in the body called luteinizing hormone releasing hormones (LHRH) to treat late stage (metastatic) cancer. Of note this medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or/different form or approved for all of the conditions. Daily prescription one tablet after a meal.


APO- BICULTAMIDE.

APO-BICULTAMIDE is used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer in combination with other drugs (LHRH analogues} which reduces the level of androgens in the body, Androgens are male sex hormones within the body which can cause growth within the Prostate.

APO-BICALUTAMIDE belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-androgens. Apo-BICALUTAMIDE interferes with some of the androgens to prevent the tumor from growing. A glimpse at the synopsis of both medication indicates their properties and remedial effects are the same. Which you can be verified by your able team of experts.

A visit to seven Pharmacies within half-a-square mile of a busy urban center I could not find any pms-BICALUTAMIDE.


My first chilling discovery the item was scarcer than a murder-less day in Jamaica recently.

The differential in prices gave me a twin shock; for example

I discovered prices ranging from $18780-$31,000 for pack of 30. I decided to embark on a price survey.

A sampling of purchase at average $19,500 for 30 tablets

96 tablets cost $63,220

NHF subsidy a whopping $53,181.

Scarcity of the commodity, my personal price survey resulting in price comparison lured me to the University College Hospital to make inquiries if they stocked the drug to my pleasant surprised they have no shortage as experienced by the 14 pharmacies I visited.


The UHW has in stock the generic version of the pms-BICALUTAMIDE which is

APO- BICALUTAMIDE for a measly sum of $1,275 for a pack of 30 tablets, of the same component affectionately classed as “Generic”.


Of note the Pharmacies I visited had bold sign indicating that certain Generic Drugs are available


Now, Mr. Minister I am not for one moment casting any disparaging behavior by our honorable investors in Pharmaceutical products, my question regarding this particular product; why none of Pharmacies I visited had the generic BICALUTAMIDE? I didn’t even know there was any available.

But looking at the price differentials your expertise in the ministry can confirm the veracity of Generic version, it may well be an economically feasible idea to encourage all pharmacies to replenish their stock with the APO-BICALUTAMIDE as well, as there is a serious shortage of the pms BICALUTAMIDE.

The Multi-millions of Dollars that would be saved giving the NHF the ability to add more products to the list of benefits, thus creating more beneficiaries.


I must add the NHF is the best run government organization in the country and every effort should be made for them to remain so.


I must also commend you on the good job you are doing at your ministry, and I am expecting a response to my concern if not personally but publicly.



Regards,

Tony Miles






BIZARRE COINCIDENCES APPEARING IN DOUBLES


My first marriage to Diana lasted seven years. At our wedding I nervously and mistakenly placed the ring on the wrong finger. We parented two sons, Ian and Maurice.


My second marriage, to Elizabeth, who was twenty years my junior nineteen years after the first. I remembered the mistake of before, when despite rehearsing to placement of the ring, when the time arrived, it was if some invisible force snapped the ring from my finger and put it on the wrong one. This marriage lasted seven years, and we also had two sons, Steven and Jeremy.


Two girlfriends who migrated to the USA both died at the same age 49, of sickle cell anemia.


This last one, your words might be, in stunned response “Oh my God”! My mom and her mom died two days apart, and she was aware before she was told.


Read on, there are more surprises within the pages of this book as the episodes unravel with chilling and touching reality.


Are you surprised, the clock alarmed the exact time George died, considering the humongous odds of a clock advancing or delaying a set alarm time?


Tears proceeded death on all three cases of death what’s your view?


What in the episode reached out to you most; were you in my dad’s position, would your forgiveness meter reach such an amazing level?

MARTHA’S STORY


Saying you are sorry does not complete your act of remorse, do something to justify your words.


Martha was very nervous when she related her story to me. The interview took place in the United States, in the summer of 2012. Martha is of Jamaican parentage and migrated to the US two decades ago. She was only eight years old when her parents left her with her grandmother. Martha retired from her nursing job a couple of years ago. She seemed depressed and distant and rarely looked me in the eyes while speaking, and often her thoughts strayed. As time progressed, I realize that the distant look was all about just wanting to give an accurate account of events that occurred. However, as the story unfolded and she tried to relive her happy moments, I witnessed a transformation in her manner- ism, and the apparent shyness disappeared like dew drops on appearance of the rising sun. I normally rename my interviewees to conceal their identity: Martha did not allow that. She wanted to use her own name, which is of biblical origin and her favorite female character in the Bible. The rest of the story makes her difficult to be identified.


I am sixty-nine years old, a widow for the past twenty-nine years. My first work experience as a registered nurse was at the University College Hospital Jamaica, where I was trained. I migrated to England, as there were employment opportunities for nurses from commonwealth countries. I reluctantly grasped the opportunity and migrated to Canada. After my husband died, I migrated to the USA.


I decided to spend only three years in England, as my boy- friend Joseph was in his last two years at the university, completing his law degree at St. Augustine Campus in Barbados. We planned to get married two years after he graduated. Joseph, three years my senior, was a charming, loving man who always made me laugh. He always said, “Humor is meant to desensitize the mind of unpleasant thoughts, and act as a catalyst against conflict amongst each other.” There was never a dull moment with him. We would go to church together on Sundays. It was a big joke as to whom we would accompany to church. Joseph preferred going with his mom; being a minister, like her dad, her sermons were much shorter and spicier.


Joseph and I had a happy relationship but thought it was best for us to pursue our career paths. At the same time, it would test our feelings for each other, as sometimes long- distance affairs really test our mettle. Unlike today, communication was not easy: letters and a telephone call once per week was the best we could afford. We still have to be grateful, considering that Romeo and Juliet killed themselves because of lack of communication. My life story took a page out of that tragic romance; the verdict is still whether lack of communication is to blame.


My first year in England was spent in Birmingham. This was a test of courage, endurance and adjustment, and to tell the truth, I suffered from culture shock. I was stunned at what I saw and experienced and had to live with. No daily baths, using the kitchen sink for multiple purposes, seeing un- wrapped bread on one’s doorstep, one bathroom serving multiple people in a dwelling house. I was flabbergasted, unhappy, and lonely. Where I lived were mostly white people.


They were not friendly, and we West Indians, it is our nature to be friendly, so we regard it odd when we see people not acting friendly—friendliness exhibits happiness and respect.


I made a decision to go to London and I had every intention of benefiting from the experience. I loved where I worked at the hospital, with friendly white people and a better atmosphere. This experience taught me a lesson not to generalize people; each living creature is unique. My two best friends are white, and our friendship has lasted to this day.


There was another person whom I would call very interesting—Raja, a Pakistani medical doctor completing his internship at the hospital where I worked. He displayed a liking for me, and it was reciprocal. Raja was unusually short for a man at five foot five. His height gave me a feeling of superiority, with my five foot seven tall, 129-pound body towering over him. That was part of the fun of our relation- ship at the beginning, as we were nicknamed the tall beauty and the little man. Raja was only short in height: he was tall in every other way, smart, kind, super in bed (it was worth the long wait) and extremely knowledgeable about other countries’ cultures, as if he had no intention of finding a lifelong partner in his cultural sphere. He introduced me to some of his country’s customs and expressed disagreement with some of them. He was from the upper class, very honest, and he would do nothing to hurt anybody’s feelings. While I was learning Raja’s culture, my feelings were running amok, as I found myself having feelings for two men at the same time. I had been fully drilled into Raja’s culture. Sex before marriage was not a requirement, unlike in our Western and European culture, which I prefer, since sex adds spice to a relationship and the lack of it can poison it; the wait may end in disappointment for both parties.


The sacredness of my body was the least of my problems.


My inner feelings were swaying in the direction of the Indian doctor. Was “out of sight out of mind” playing with my emotions? Joseph was becoming more of a memory than a boyfriend. My Christian upbringing taught me many things, one of which was if you need to make a crucial decision, seek divine guidance. If your faith is strong enough, you will act accordingly.


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