There are lessons to be found here, but mostly, I do this so you can know me. Lately, as I write these, I realize they are as much for me as they are for you. This is the one place I can be completely open. The pen and paper has no judgment. No vote. It simply receives my truth and allows me to turn the page. And today…this is my truth. I am terrified a great deal of the time. Afraid of what I’ve done, of what I’m doing, and of what I might have to do. It’s not a crippling fear. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I thrive on it. I crave it. I need that rush of terror to get me out of bed in the morning. It’s in my DNA. I have tremendous remorse for the acts of violence I’ve commited, both planned and spontaneous. But I think what brings me the most sorrow is that I’ve learned to justify this behavior. I always find a reason, a cause, a need that allows me the karmic lubrication to stuff my guilt into its savage compartment. I’ve become the thing…the one I hated. And with that awareness comes periods of days, sometimes weeks, when I have to avoid looking into a mirror. My self-hate is so deep, so palpable, I fear I’ll lunge at my own image, shatter the glass and cut myself with shards of broken reflection. Since my best friend was killed, I’ve lost my center. Ope was always my pull back to true north. Now my doubt and sense of fraudulence bark so loudly in my head that most of the time I can’t hear anything else. Love, camaraderie, freedom…all the things I want from this life are lost in the din. Forgive my indulgence, sons. But today may be a day we both remember. A defining day. And I want you to look back at this entry and know that at the very least your father was completely honest. So you know I speak the truth when I tell you that you are the most important thing to me. I will never hurt you. Never abandon you. I love you, Abel. I love you, Thomas. More than anything or anyone. I always will. Everything I do is for my sons.