Memories – my daughter, Heather

Recently found a YouTube video from the Toronto production of the Phantom of the Opera, starring Colm Wilkinson. It reminded me of one of my favorite memories, among many, of taking Heather to see this play many years ago. I forget the exact year but she was either about to apply to Mayfield Secondary School, a renowned school for the arts, or she was already attending there. After all the years focusing on sports, her with soccer and her brother, Chris, with hockey and soccer, we had neglected broadening their education with theater and music. Even way back then I believe it was ninety-eight dollars a ticket, a handsome sum to see a play. That being said, it was worth every penny. It’s not hard to understand why this is one of the longest running plays in history. The music, of course, is legendary and I remember going to, I believe, Sam’s the Record Man, to buy the album the minute we left the theatre. I loved that Heather and her girlfriends would sit in her room listening to the CD. Never once told her to turn it down.

heather_framed_05Sadly, it’s now been more than twenty years since I saw my darling Heather. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her. We had such a good relationship and I will never understand what happened. When she and Chris came out west to holiday with me for three weeks she had broken my heart by telling me to stay there. She said they had never seen me happier and they knew my marriage was a disaster. I didn’t listen and I came back to Brampton, mostly for her, but that solved nothing. After my mum was diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and given less than a five percent chance of living more than six months I went out west to spend her last days with her. I really didn’t know if I would come back to Ontario, but I thought that Heather would come out to vacation with my parents and my family. My parents loved her so much, as did I. I couldn’t stand the thought of life without her, but she was already at the stage where I had to make an appointment with her to see her. I thought everything would be better with me out west away from her mom’s clutches, but I was so very wrong.

After talking to her on the phone I traveled across Canada in the dead of winter, taking my life in my hands several times, to see her, only to have my ex and her new husband, my good friend, hide her away and not let me see her. I hung around at my son’s for three weeks hoping to see her, but they refused. It killed me and I finally left, driving all the way back to BC with tears in my eyes the whole trip. I don’t think I have ever been so unhappy. Even then I didn’t believe that I would never see her again. She got married, has had two children, grandchildren I have never met, and never once tried to contact me. One of the greatest regrets of my life by far.

Anyway, here’s the video – The Phantom of the Opera