Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry Four

The end of April saw my birthday this year, and though it seems I have become dull to the lose of so much family in the past year, a birthday is a heavy reminder of how false that is.

For my family, holidays and birthdays are a time that even though we all live far apart and have busy lives, we take a moment out of our days to make a phone call. My family is small, smaller even now, and so each phone call is precious. This year, I was very much depressed over my birthday. There was no call from my brother. No call from my dad. No call from my grandparents. First year ever where those calls were never placed, a pattern that will follow every year from now on.

My mom has a tendency of passing on the guilt trip, making statements such as “what, guess I’m not enough?” or “I can’t fill in your father’s shoes.” And though I understand her hurt, because instead of being happy at receiving her phone call, I just feel depressed over the loss, I hope some day she realizes it’s not that she isn’t enough, but that no one can fill in the gaping holes left inside me no matter who they are.

My brother’s birthday was suppose to be two weeks after mine. As children we combined many birthday parties together since they were so close. Also, being 80s kids, where we still played outside, a lot of the neighborhood friends were ones we both played with. The couple of times we had sleep overs the girls would bed downstairs, and the boys had a massive tent that slept 20. To me, my brother always had the best ideas on how to have fun, which is probably why I followed him in everything. His group of friends would play capture the flag, and we would beg to join in on it.

This year my brother would be 35-years-old. Tell me that isn’t too young to have already given up on life. Sometimes I feel it’s so easy to just continue pretending he lives across the country from me; since we rarely got to actually see each other, it’s easy to forget he is really gone. But days when he is suppose to call, such as my birthday, the reality sets in and I can’t pretend. He was someone that always called, no matter what. Being in the military made it difficult sometimes but my brother was reliable, never failing to remember those special days.

I’m still confused over how I feel about my dad. I don’t know why his suicide has affected me so much differently than my brothers. I suppose part of it is because I feel extremely hurt. Just before my grandfather passed away at the beginning of April, he told me my dad felt abandoned. Yet, I feel it is he who left me…left all of us. I know it’s selfish, but I guess I figured as a parent he was suppose to be my rock.

Since my father’s death in March I have visited his house three times. Once, when we were still searching for him with a sliver of hope for the best. Second time, to meet with the lawyers my step-mother was hiring, and finally, for my sister’s graduation. Each time I have discovered, the loss I feel for my dad is strongest when I am where he is suppose to be.

I mentioned it before, how my young brother and I wanted to skip Christmas. I think this is the real reason now. We want to skip the holidays, I think, because they are a huge reminder of the holes we now have in life. These holidays and special occasions make it glaringly obvious how much we have recently lost. Our small little family was very supportive, and caring, never forgetting each other and so when we don’t get those phone calls, or cards in the mail…it makes it difficult to continue pretending that there is only geographic distance that keeps them away.

<<<Entry Three      Entry Five>>>

Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry Three

When my brother passed away my world seemed to come to a complete stand still. For those six months I couldn’t tell you exactly what went on in my life besides the typical going to work and coming home. I gave up on maintaining the front yard, back yard, pets, and the house. I didn’t cook one single meal the whole time. I suppose I should consider it lucky I managed to wash my clothes.

Christmas was a depressing matter. My younger brother and I discussed it and were very adamant on not continuing the stereotypical family get together and over the top gifts. We considered it a time that was our older brother’s. After all, he was in the Navy, and on the other side of the country. For the past ten plus years if we didn’t see him at Christmas, we wouldn’t have seen him at all. Every single year I fought tooth-and-nail working my schedule around so I was able to have a week with him and my parents. It was our time to be with him, and the holiday was really mainly about that.

But, in typical parent fashion, we were over ruled and convinced that it was something my older brother would have wanted. He loved the holiday, and it was special for him, so we should celebrate it. I tried so hard to make up for his loss, after all he was a brother that just seemed to take after my dad and go all out on gifts. I didn’t want my parents or anyone to feel his loss more than we all already were, so I tried going over the top like him. I don’t know if that succeeded.

Anyway, so Christmas, it came and it went. It was filled with a lot of heartache and regrets, and was quickly replaced with the New Year. However, since I lost the battle against Christmas, I suppose I decided to wage another one over the New Year. My new battle was basically a big screw you to those I dared to call friends in my life.

At this stage after my brother’s death I felt abandoned. My friends were great being there that first week after learning about the suicide, but it seemed radio silence followed that. For six long months, up until my dad’s death I didn’t receive one phone call, one card, one visit. I did receive one text, though roughly four to five months later, but the bitterness already settled, and it was just a message saying hi, so I didn’t follow up with it.

Now I figure I have a small group of friends, but they are life time friends. However it wasn’t until my dad passed that things changed…though that is kind of obvious. With my dad’s passing I became a busy body. I needed to clean, work on the yard, and just get things done again. I also read like crazy…still am reading like crazy but that’s to be expected since it’s only been a little over a month since. In some ways I am still a recluse, but a bit more functional.

Since my dad’s passing I did reach out to my closest friends to let them know. I even forced a heart-to-heart about feeling abandoned from their lack of communication since my brother’s passing. For those that are facing the same situation and turmoil as me, or perhaps know someone who is, please…the feel of being abandoned is high up there. I just lost my brother, and my father, and now my friends are at a loss of what to say to me, so instead said nothing.

Bad choice.

It was a bad choice on my end, but I just didn’t care to try. But I will argue, who could blame me? Looking at it all, I understand the situation it places people. It’s uncomfortable and daunting, trying to be there for someone that is faced with suicide. People ask me how I am doing, how is my family, and the standard small talk greetings when being friendly, but the truth is no one wants to hear you say what’s on your mind. That life just keeps kicking you when you’re down and half of your family just became ashes in the wind all in a year. So yeah…

Not exactly sure what this whole entry is about, other than I took each death completely different, and the ever present feeling of abandonment from those here, and those now gone. Sad thing is, one of my dad’s reasoning for taking his life was for that same feeling.

<<Entry Two       Entry Four>>

Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry Two

The last year has been one of the most difficult ones for me, and for my remaining family. In the past six months alone we have lost my oldest brother and father to suicide, followed by my grandfather due to age. And it was almost a year exactly, of this downward spiral, that my grandmother died. I’m not sure the month of April will ever be a good month for me, seems it has a lot of terrible events and history, just sad I was born in the month.

I can only guess why my dad decided to follow after my brother’s example and end his own life six months later, and like most people in similar positions, my thoughts aren’t ones that leave a positive impression. For the most part my dad’s passing has been dealt with by anger, at least on my end. I am just so mad at the choice he made.

A week after they found him I learned he started writing a farewell note in the car, but I haven’t bothered reading it. When I told my manager how my dad wrote a note while slowly suffocating in his own vehicle, I jokingly expressed what a load of horseshit it was because all he had to do was open the damn door. I’m not sure that sentence articulated the feelings I have about the whole situation, but I hope it came off angry, because that was its intention.

And nevermind the whole note, it could be filled with all the heartfelt crap he wanted to put in it and I’m not sure if at this juncture I would feel anything but anger if I read it. The fact is he made a choice, and it wasn’t even a quick one like my brother’s, but one that took time. Lots of time. Enough time that if there was any doubt whatsoever it wouldn’t have happened, because he went by asphyxiation and all he had to do was crack a window.

What really hurts is believing that one of the key causes of him deciding to end everything was because of my brother’s passing. I know he lived vicariously through him, but it makes me feel like such a failure as a child to think I wasn’t good enough for him to stick around for. That my younger brother and sister weren’t good enough for him. It isn’t a surprise that my older brother was highly favored, he was very successful, smart, caring, and devoted. As a middle child, and someone that doesn’t feel successful in life, my self-esteem was already low before all of this drama. The passing of my dad just helped show even further just how little I meant to him.

I realize that’s a poor look to have, especially after the passing of two very important people in my life, but if I’m being honest with myself, I just feel a huge burden of inadequacy.

My step-mother tried telling me my dad wasn’t doing well, so I attempted to reach out. I called him the weekend before everything happened to go over our Easter plans and to confirm I had the time off to be with him. I made it a point to be with my grandparents, his parents, every Easter for the past many years. I’m not sure if my dad ever realized every single vacation day I ever, ever took from work since getting a job was spent with my parents. Well, except for one; last year I did use one for my birthday. But that is a work history of over thirteen years where I constantly had my family in my heart when taking time off.

I am so happy I didn’t distance myself from my family as I got older, but at the same time I am resentful because I feel it slightly thrown in my face. With my older brother I felt a distance from him after he got married. We use to be so close growing up, but with the military and later on a family that bond became more of a memory. The biggest regret I have with his passing is thinking if I only reached out maybe he wouldn’t have made that choice. With my dad, well, that regret isn’t there because I can honestly say I tried. And so I’m a bit resentful, because it just wasn’t enough. I just wasn’t enough.

<<Entry One       Entry Three>>

Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry One

Never having read Frankenstein and only knowing a basic premise of it, the story and idea weighed on my mind the other day. Someone had contacted my (previous) sister-in-law, informing her they were the recipient of my brother’s corneas, and are now able to see. Two things entered my mind upon hearing the news.

First was I was pissed off, not because of them but because she was contacted and thanked. Little does that person know how the very next day after his death she was already talking about moving on. How three months after his funeral she remarried. How six months after his passing, her and the new husband, both unemployed, spent his life insurance on a trip to New York. Or how her personality caused the downfall of my family.

And then there was the second thought; Frankenstein. It occurred to me that by people donating their organs and body parts for others to use once they have died, essentially they are all helping to create the creature in the book. The donation program may be better known if it was referred to as something to help make scientific achievements by merging parts from those no longer living onto people with dead parts. Call it the Frankenstein Project.

Entry Two >>

Becoming an Abstractor – Part Three

Timothy Durston found himself pacing anxiously in a stereotypical study often found with the elite. The room was filled with the used smell of fine paper, treasured leather, expensive cigars, and spiced spirits. Before him sat an older version of himself, though it was with high hopes Duston’s own age would be graced with more laugh-lines and less of a stern gaze.

“I already accepted this assignment father, there is no reason for you to interfere.”

“You told me yourself that Abstractor Kireek held off giving any information about this mission. As a lord I can tell you this, the situation is extreme and requires military action. How the High Council was convinced untrained Clerics could handle a small stealth operation is beyond comprehension.”

Frustration caused the young man to rake his fingers through his hair, disturbing the carefully placed locks. “Listen, father, I know you mean well but this is a golden opportunity to -”

“To see my youngest son killed because of some fool’s negligence in understanding the current situation and wanting to advance their career. And yes, son, I know you hope to have it do the same for you.”

Timothy flexed his hands in a burst of irritation. For his father, no age, no experience, no accomplishment was going to make him an adult. But still, Durston forced his position, desire to be heard, understood, and supported coating each word. “I didn’t come here to argue this father.”

Raising a single brow in skepticism, his father leaned forward with clasped palms. “Then why are you here, son, if it isn’t for the usual help and advice?”

“It is for help, just not the kind you currently have offered.” Timothy gave a heavy sigh, letting it release the tension in his shoulders as the conversation headed in his intended direction. “I need my casting circles renewed. I was hoping you could get Alchemist Truvile to do it before I leave.”

“Let me see your hands, son.” Timothy turned towards his father for the first time, meeting his eyes. Hesitatingly, he made the short trip to the front the man’s desk and held out his hands to be inspected.

Cursive writing and odd symbols marked the tip of Durston’s index finger, across his purlicue, and reached the end of the thumb. Tapping the tattoo, his father caused a light blue flash to cross from end-to-end. “Hmm…what is it you are wanting Truvile for, son?”

“You know what I need him for father. The marking is only half charged.” Timothy withdrew a few steps, feeling the small distance hid his vulnerability. “I want the brand to be fully charged for this. As you said yourself, this is an extreme situation. It would be best if I were able to perform to the best of my ability.”

Several moments passed between the two with ticking of a clock the only sound. A slow, authoritative tone lined his father’s voice. “You are asking for me to obtain Truvile’s assistance to renew your Cleric’s Circle instead of going through the temple’s services?”

“Yes, as I said, I would like to have my mark at full charge before we leave in the morning. The temple always has a delay and they don’t give full charges to Clerics of my rank.”

“So you’re wanting your father to use his connections to go over the temple’s rules and arrange a full charge?”

An amused smirk crossed Timothy’s face. “Oh, come now father, rules? Besides, there is nothing that denies me from having a fully laden brand, it’s just not something the temple does. You gave an invitation of help when I first arrived.”

“As with any offer, Timothy, what’s in it for me?”

Anger flashed in Durston’s eyes as his back went rigged over his father turning the conversation into a business exchange. “Either you are able and wanting to help your son, or you’re not. The benefit would be knowing you prepared me for this dangerous mission and realizing that if successful, you will have a son in higher standing with the council and our family would gain additional political pull.”

Soft knocking reached their ears just as the door opened to the study. A man gave an easy bow and apologized for the interruption. “Alchemist Truvile is here as requested my lord.”

“It is good to see you my good friend.” An older man with a thinning crown of gray hair, maroon robes, and standing a few inches under Timothy made way into the study before the servant closed the door once more.

Standing to greet the older man, Timothy’s father made his way around the large desk and gave a two-hand embrace. “Thank you for coming on short notice. It has been too long since we have last seen each other and I feared you may not find the time for my invitation. My son has foolishly accepted to go with Abstractor Kireek and his mad brain of a plan in dealing with those unsanctioned casters. It wont do for him to have any disadvantage that we can help avoid.”

“Um…Hello Alchemist Truvile. It’s a real honor to have you here.” Timothy overcame his moment of surprise and confusion, giving a formal bow to the older man. “I should have known my father would have the foresight petitioning for you.”

The three gentlemen set up the equipment Truvile brought with him, and began the work of renewing Durston’s tattoos he used to cast quickly through. All Clerics from the realm carried similar markings, so that when the index finger touched the thumb, they could immediately activate a caster’s circle to perform their work. Though the small markings allowed the Clerics to cast in a moment’s notice, they weren’t ideal since they required an alchemist to charge them. Charging the tattoos negated the staleness a permanent casting circle, and lack of energy usually gathered into such a small area.

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Becoming an Abstractor – Part Two

It was shortly after the large gathering that Durston found himself approached with a message as he and his companions lingered. The order was simple, he was to stay in the temple and join the High Council for the more in-depth discussion on the situation in Cyphorica.

“A personal meeting with the High Council, Cleric Durston. It seems that they will be requiring your special talent for the situation up north.”

Durston made a slow turn around the crowd still standing near the tower, discussing the news that was shared with them all. There were two others besides himself with the mauve vestment also approached by the temple’s servants, he shouldn’t have found it surprising as few Clerics had the psionic abilities. “So it would seem.”

Timothy Durston wasn’t sure exactly how the temple handled unsanctioned casters within their borders, but he knew that it fell onto a very prestigious class of Clerics known as Abstractors that sought them out. They were specially trained to the sensitivity of magic, able to track any user down, and then enter their minds disengaging them from the power they wrongfully wielded.

“Now I know why it felt like Lady Au’Lira was talking to me. Not sure what help I’ll be though, I know next to nothing about Abstractors.”

“There, there Durston.” The man placed a comforting hand on Timothy’s shoulder while giving a soft chuckle. “Looks like the good life was short lived my friend. After today you may just find yourself out on the field again.”

“Oh, by the Great Circle, I hope not!” Durston blanched at his companion. Life wouldn’t be so cruel as to remove him just shortly after arriving back, would it? No, of course not. He was just being asked to help since the current situation required a larger than normal operation.

Where once he desired admittance into the tower now faced, Durston instead let out a heavy sigh. It was with a quick prayer that he returned to the interior of the building earlier packed to capacity; one in which he asked that his newly established residences wasn’t already being changed.

Raised, and centerfold sat a crescent table with seven unoccupied fauteuil in the forefront of Durston’s cushioned bench. The young man kept himself slightly to the side of any possible direct notice from those who summoned his presence. A continued prayer whispered from his lips as he watched only a handful of others complete the assembly.

An imposing, six-foot-tall figure roughly dressed in worn traveling clothes made way to the small group. Two servants struggled slightly behind him, each carrying an awkward load of packs and gear. Noticing that the commotion had everyone’s attention, the man indicated to have the items piled before them.

“These packs are to contain one additional set of clothing. If you don’t own anything deemed comfortable and sturdy for hard travel, speak to Priya Hachen with lodging and assignments.” The man’s eyes pierced through the confusion of his sudden appearance. “I told the council they didn’t need to waste time with another meeting. We will have several days of travel where we can discuss the situation and the plan of action.

“The stables will be preparing your horse and additional gear. If your horse isn’t made for distance, you will be assigned another. Pack only what can fit in these bags. Anything additional or unpractical will be left behind or tossed away when I discover it.”

Silence followed the man’s abrupt arrival and address. Durston himself wasn’t sure what to make of the situation, as the orderliness of the temple was completely ignored.  A middle-age Cleric sitting closer to the stranger snapped out of her daze in irritation. “Now, you see here Abstractor Kireek, I wont be trampling out along the wilderness. I have obligations. More importantly, I did my field work, fourteen years worth. The position I carry now has assured me that the most I would travel is a day.”

Annoyance masked the man’s face as he eyeballed each of them in turn. “Note I do not care about the obligations you carry here within the temples as none are special enough that they require any one of you personally to attend them. Know this is not a request for volunteers, this is an order. I dismissed the High Council and they listened. If they are willing to follow my word, then so shall you.”

With a nod of his head, the man turned on his heel and proceeded to the exit. As an afterthought, he turned once more to them. “We will gather at the temple’s gate. You will be dressed properly and packed, ready to go and travel ready by dawn.”

Not waiting for any further arguments, Abstractor Kireek left his audience. Durston could feel the tension in the air as tempers pushed their way past the shock. Along with Timothy, and the middle-aged Cleric Estel Ell, three others shifted uneasily in the room.

“That man. To have such audacity. I can’t believe he told the High Council the meeting would be a waste of time.” The speaker was a pepper-gray hair man Timothy knew as a scholar who signed his work simply as Reevan.

“Do you think he means to give us the day to prepare? Or do you suppose we should get back to our normal schedule for the day?” Cleric Claire Waters looked to the other, unprotrude by the day’s events.

Durston stood then, drawing attention from his colleagues. “Well I for one am taking the remainder of the day off. If we are to do field work, even for a short time, then I want to be comfortable. And that means not having random gear assigned to me.”

Making his way out of the Tower of Clerics, Durston saw no evidence remained of the crowd-of-bodies from earlier. As he made his way further from the tower and into the main areas of the temple, acquaintances passed curious greetings, each wondering what the High Council would want from someone so young. Keeping his head high, and walking briskly as if a man on a mission, Durston brushed them off with an air of importance.

This was a game, one of social standing and political influence, and he knew how to play it well. Though his prayers went unanswered, Durston knew how to turn the situation into his favor. If he were to be sent out on field work, then he would make it more than that. After all, it was the High Council themselves who directly requested his personal assistance. He would turn this into a promotion, further advancing his career.

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The Dark Earth Series

Delaying a blog post is something I highly regret but at the same time it has given me the opportunity of finishing a fantastic book which I recently discovered. For the most part I am a person with a high interest in light fantasy; magic which is dominantly the stereotypical Lord of the Rings style and not that of Twilight. This book is one of them.

The first book in the Dark Earth series gives you a free introduction of five chapters, and those sample pieces sucked me in. I ended up even signing up for the $9.98 a month membership to unlock the rest of the book as well as the other which follows it. Yes, it was that good. And that is considering I am one that looks down on books not printed due to the high pleasure of the physical copy in hand.

Over the past two days I have forgone sleep, depriving myself and surviving on just 3 hours due to this new adventure that has entered my life. Sadly, this work has also left me putting my own on hold while devouring it.

The main character is a youth of the age of 17 that finds himself in the backwoods of a small town that his family newly moved to. Aiden, the main hero of the story, with his flaming red hair and cream colored skin is automatically seen as someone non-human by the locals who have put it upon themselves to eradicate the Sidhe; magical, elven humanoids that also live nearby.

Asher and Severe are two of the Sidhe that find themselves drawn to aiding Aiden and claiming him. Together they save him multiple times from the dangers the town posses, teach him of his birthright and introduce him to the forbidden art of magic, which he possesses a natural talent of.

A warning though about this wonderful art of fiction, and that is it is filled with every sort of love that one can comprehend. There is heterosexual, homosexual, platonic, and incest.

For those interested in discovering the world of the Under Dark, the realm within our world that holds magic and all its creatures, I suggest looking into the first five chapters which are free. The following is the author’s descriptions of a few of her characters. Also, I wanted to mention that there is no editing and so there sometimes are areas with poor grammar or names reversed. For those that like graphic novels, they have created one following the story exactly, however I personally did not enjoy the art style, and I felt there was more understanding of the character’s thoughts and feelings in the actual books, but they can be found on amazon.

Adian Walsh

thedarkearth1Aidan’s adoptive mother, Anna, discovered him as a baby alone in the woods in Devil’s Ridge.  He knows nothing of his birth family and doesn’t care to, because they abandoned him. But circumstances force them to move in with Anna’s father, Grandfather Patrick, on the Ridge.  There Aidan meets Asher Vane, a leader among a mysterious people known as the Sidhe.  Asher claims Aidan is a Sidhe and is determined to take Aidan back to his people.  Will he go?

Asher Vane

thedarkearth2Asher is a Dark Prince of the Sidhe, an elven race that makes the Dark Earth their home.  He recognizes Aidan as one of his people and is intent on bringing the youngling home.  Though he tries to resist, Asher finds himself in love with Aidan and doing things that he should not to please the boy.  One of those things in interfering in human activities to save Aidan’s adoptive family from the depredations of the cult known only as the Clan.  These actions could lead to a terrible war.

Grandfather Patrick

thedarkearth3Grandfather Patrick is Anna’s father and the leader of the cult known only as the Clan who worships a dread goddess known as Cybella.  He hates the Sidhe with an unquenchable passion.  He recognizes Aidan as one of them and, despite his unnatural attraction to the boy, is determined to use Aidan to start a war between the Sidhe and the Clan.  But then Asher Vane comes onto his land, intent on taking Aidan and the war he wants may be within reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon’s Tongue – Laura J. Underwood

Dragon’s Tongue is the typical magic wielding, overly powerful and charismatic book that I enjoy when it comes to fantasy. I am someone that likes my main character to be “special.” This is usually almost always the case, as one of the reasons most authors have their main character the focus of their story is due to them having that special quality. But more than just being special, I like my main characters to be secretly powerful, and their weakness being them not realizing it. This is the case in Dragon’s Tongue.

Laura J. Underwood centers her book on a young minstrel, or bard, that has joined an academy where he can learn magic, but of course, his knowledge of is very limited and he starts as being a somewhat weak caster. Alaric, the protagonist, is better known for his music and playing. He is considered one of the best bards of his time, and this draws the attention of those around him. Through his music and storytelling, Alaric gains an ally from a very magically powerful and political influential schoolmate who offers to be Alaric’s friend, and uses those musical talents to add to his own personal charm. Along with gaining the attention of Fenelon, his new-found friend, he managed to catch the interest of a demon, Vagner.

Dragon’s Tongue takes you on the forbidden adventure of a bond between a young bard, and a high-level demon. Together thye learn the secrets hidden deep behind the vile of magic in Alaric, and how to stop Vagner’s master in obtaining it. The story contains betrayal, secrets, dark magic, music, humor, and of course, a lot of adventure. Though Laura created a powerful main character, she left him ignorant of most of it, which I like, and created Fenelon as the main wielder.

This book is a treasure you wont find in the bookstore. Though the writing is topnotch, the details unique on their own (as using summoning magic is more of a rarity), this is published from a very small company. I personally have contacted Laura J. Underwood when it became difficult to obtain her second book, Wandering Lark, and she was quick with a reply and very nice. I do dislike “ebooks” and am lucky enough to have the actual physical copies of all of the works Laura has produced for this series. I enjoy authors that take the time for their fans and appreciate all her work. Hopefully she will produce more.

Along with the 2 main books for this story, Laura J. Underwood created another 2 short stories, which she gave an autograph copy of one to me when I ordered the second book in the series. I do feel that these two thick volumes aren’t enough though, and believe more should be in store for Alaric. Of course, I tend to have that feeling with most books I read where I develop a deep fondness for the character.

Hey Brother – Avicii

I started this blog a month after my brother passed away, September 10th 2014. He was only 34 years old and accomplished more in his life than I could even ever hope for. In his short time he severed in the Navy, working his was from enlisted to officer. He became a pilot, having him fly 2 presidents and the navy seals, as well as deploy a new missile system for the helicopters with just one other person. As an electrical engineer, he developed a camera system for Dodge and made a second income people wish they could have.

Needless to say, he has become an inspiration. Through hearing about his accomplishments from those that worked with him, I learned I had to work hard, even if it’s on my own at first, to get what I want out life. I wrote the following letter last month in memory of him on my Facebook account, and now I write this 2 months later here. I can only wish to make my life as fulfilling, and by doing so express the love I will always have for him.

To My Brother,

A month has passed since we received the terrible and heartbreaking news of the events that took place for you on September 10th. A day still doesn’t go by when I don’t think of you, and I know that will be forever. There’s so much I wish I could tell you, in the never ending loop of hoping that things could have been different.

The love we have as a family is so strong, and the light you once shown on all of us has made the world so dim. I have always enjoyed music and feel it can relate to life. I remember sharing Avicii with you and Bryce, tagging you in the song “Hey Brother.” It brought me to tears when I first heard it months ago, and today it brings even more tears as the video itself hits on such a personal level.

We always wanted to be with you so much, the time we spent was far and few in-between, but every moment with you was always fought for your attention. There never was enough Lassen to go around, no one could ever have enough time with you; that has been the biggest complaint since you became an adult and joined the Navy. You charisma made you a huge magnet in the family. And when the distance was too great to reach you, we filled the void by bragging about all that you were.

In life I know there are many regrets, and many things that happen unfairly. I have heard before that it’s the good that die young, and I feel that more now then ever before. You were everything any of us could ever deserve. Your life was suppose to be filled with so much, because you gave and did so much. It feels unjust knowing you deserved a better and happier life, and unable to obtain it.

I love you, always.

Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru – Manga

Betrayal Knows My Name

“Betrayal Knows my Name” is a manga with beautiful artwork, though it seems to hold more of the Korean style than the standard Japanese. By this, I mean the characters are dressed very trendy and with jewelry which doesn’t typically find it’s way in manga. Also, there seems to be a lot more detail in hair and the clothing in general, which is more common in Korean manhwa.

This story is boarder-line gender bender/shounen-ai but hasn’t really crossed into the BL department yet in the series, though it does come close. The only reason why it would even be considered shounen-ai is because the main character, Yuki, was reincarnated as a male when she/he has a female soul and all throughout his past lives was a girl. In both the anime (yes, there is an anime) and the manga thus far though, nothing romantic has happened between him and his past life partner.

If you’re curious about the anime, it only goes about midway of the English Volume 2 books. I have to differentiate between the English and the Japanese, because in order for them to catch up to the current release, they combined 2 volumes into each English release until Volume 6.

You get the impression that the Yuki in past lives was a bit more anti-social and meek, and that this is perhaps the reason she decided to be born male. And though current Yuki in the beginning does seem to kick a bit of ass, I am a disappointed that as you get further in the manga his martial arts and fighting capabilities stop being used and appears to have a bit less of a fighting spirit.

The main story revolves around a group of teenagers and young adults who work in pairs. Together, they exorcist those infected by evil spirits by first having one push them out of people’s bodies, and the other forming a cage. Basically the two work together as offensive and defensive; attack and entrap. Their powers have religious names, such as “Hand of God” and “Light of God,” but from what I understand of the story, the powers don’t come from any deity.

Between the battles of the “trash mobs” the secret of this long, drawn-out battle emerges. I don’t want to give too much away, and much of it still remains a mystery, but what you do eventually learn is that this millennium long battle is the struggle of basic human existence. Pretty standard in most shounens. While their souls are tired of constantly being reborn into battle, they continue to do so in the hope of victory and finally being able to rest.

For me personally, the main thing that grabs your attention is the artwork, which remains constant throughout the books. It looks as good as the cover art. The storyline does have some slow moments, but it is very captivating and detailed, which is probably why there are times when all that is going on is talking. The mangaka, Odagiri Hotaru, adds a lot of backstabbing, plot twists, and sorrow between the characters. This of course could be assumed from the title, but it’s nice to actually see it throughout the work.

If you are interested in the manga, you can read it here. Sadly, it hasn’t had any English release in a year, and I haven’t seen any scanlations in almost two. However, no research has been found by me indicating a drop in the series. The anime is a bit more difficult to obtain, and though I have seen YouTube posts of it, the quality leaves you wanting. I do have the downloads of though, so if asked nicely and truly interested, I am sure those can be shared.