My Knight In Rusty Armour

Somewhere on our darkest night there shines a candle…And so it was for me…Having so completely lost my way for what seemed like decades of groping in the dark and searching for just the smallest ray of hope my time was just about at hand.  That light I had so desperately hoped and waited for in my darkest days shone my way in the form of a chance meeting that would soon change the course of my life forever.

His name was John Watt and he was no knight in shining armour but when I was first introduced to him through a mutual acquaintance his presence seemed somehow familiar and kind to me and I felt an instant connection to him. It was not so much in a physical way although it could easily have been but in a much more profound sense of the word. It was an unnerving but very strong feeling which overwhelmed me similar to meeting a very dear old friend whom I hadn’t seen in many, many years…

Although John didn’t know who I was he showed a caring and compassion for me even though I so desperately tried to hide my inner pain. My well-rehearsed smile and carefully crafted demeanour and verbal niceties were no match to his perceptive eye and noble heart so I quickly knew I could just be myself which was such a strange comfort to me. It wasn’t long after talking openly to each other we quickly began to realize that although our stories differed in circumstance they were eerily similar in nature.  The details of the personal losses and disappointments we shared had so many unexplained parallel threads. Even our past achievements and successes reflected common interests and talents.  John was born a fighter having been a very premature baby he weighed barely a pound and his family and doctors feared the worst for him.  Being born in a small seaside town of Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1948 there was no intensive care unit for a baby that could easily fit into the palm of your hand…

His hopes for survival were minimal at best but none knew the fighting spirit within his tiny soul.  Perhaps now understanding the dimensions of his journey thus far I could say quite honestly that he has been fighting ever since. John went on to explain he and his 2 brothers, Bill and Frank immigrated to Canada along with their mother Elizabeth when he was only 8 years old. Moving to The Beaches area of Toronto where their father, Jack, had already found them home months previously. John’s generosity showed at a very early age as he fondly recalls sending his Dad his meagre allowance money from Ireland until the family arrived in Canada concerned about him being all alone in such a faraway land.

The first few years were happy and his younger sister, Christine, was born there. John’s mother was a nurse and his Dad painted for the city parks department. However not all was to go peacefully for long.  There was bitter fighting between his parents mostly over the finances of the family. His mother was a generous and fun loving person but his father was by nature extremely tight.  Thus the arguments began to escalate in intensity and frequency over the ensuing years. Everyone in the family found their own escapes from the emotional assaults.

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