14. Thursday 27th December. Maria and Anna
My beautiful Byron,
I am back in my favourite coffee shop after the Christmas visit to the desert. I didn’t sleep very well there; the air conditioning made a noise and woke me up every hour, so I am somewhat dozy, but that’s not an excuse to take time off work. I did manage to go for a nice desert walk and take some photo’s which was a highlight of my visit. I followed a beautiful Egret for ten minutes and shot this picture.
Now I have a four hour writing session ahead and I need to meet a deadline.
You wait until you get that deadline thing going on. Something to look forward to. I love deadlines. Exams are a bit like deadlines. I used to think it was scary, but I learned its actually nice to have a challenge and a deadline to come up with the best you can think of.
Last week I finished a short story book and I hope to have a launch party for that in the next few weeks. Its a fun book about an Indian guy who lived under a tree and made up clever things that gave people the answers they needed. My character is called Krishna vardu Ghan. He is one cool dude. He can levitate and come up with all kinds of super wise comments. Like “To get thin, eat less.”
I have been working on a book of short stories for like – ever – and because I have a much more important book to finish first, I decided to release this short story on its own. And include it in the Big short story book when I finally get that finished. (Deadlines – remember?)
I have a tennis match set for later. Hope I can stay awake for that.
Chris called me from South Africa yesterday. We remembered it was three years ago that Maria passed. Anna is growing up beautifully. She is five now – and Chris is with her all the time so she is a very loved child. Nick is there almost every day as well. She is lucky to have a daddy and a big brother who is so cool.
Do you know, Maria was there to visit you one month after you were born and she saw you a few times every year, either at our house, or when we visited them in South Africa. For the four years you lived with me.
Your ‘Beautiful Maria‘. One day I will share with you the story of how we were going to go together to say good bye to Maria. You may remember it, it was June 2015. Yaya was having her 80th birthday and Maria was facing a difficult challenge with her health.
Along with Chris, I set up a visit for you and me to go to see Yaya for her 80th and spend a month with Maria. So you and her would have some time to talk to each other about this thing called life.
Everyone knew how special Maria was for you and no one more so than Maria. It was a big thing for her to have the opportunity to spend some time with you to tell you herself about the challenges that lay ahead. Both for you, but even more so, for her. It was a very difficult time for everyone. Cancer is an awful thing. For a young mother of just 31 it is tragic.
I booked the flights for you to come with me for a Month in Dainfern.
Yaya was super excited because she was wondering if she would see you again with her 80th coming up, and I had discussed with Chris and Maria how appropriate it was for you to have time alone with Maria to hear her way of explaining to you that life is what it is.
Baby Anna was two at the time and I had hoped that in this time you would spend together you would form a lasting friendship with Anna.
There were many reasons why that visit was important for many people.
So when Adler/Amlot and O’Leary informed me that they would not allow you to travel with me, after I had booked tickets that cost a lot of money, I had to call Maria and explain to her why you would not be going. After I gave her my assurance that you would be there.
That is one of several reasons why you have two parents who represent very different views on ethical conduct.
After Adler cancelled that visit (unless I paid her £100,000) not only did you not see Maria and Yaya again, but you have never been allowed to visit with me again. Or even speak to me on the Skype.
That trip to see Maria was during your 2015 summer holiday.
You were with me for 3 weeks the previous year, in 2014 summer holiday, and that year would have been your second visit with me. I had a ticket to come and collect you from London, take you to South Africa, and from there take you to California for three weeks. Our summer holiday together after we had not seen each other for so long.
This story of Byron, Maria and Yaya’s 80th birthday is British family law at its best.
There is a lesson there for you and one for me. But none for Maria.
For O’Leary/Amlot and Adler there is only a payday. They all made a bunch of money out of me trying to take you with me for summer holiday in June 2015. I wonder if there is a word for people who profit, hugely, out of the misery of children and a dying woman. I can think of a few and wil be happy to share them with you when we discuss this particular time in your life. Following Michele O’Leary’s switch in family court.
Family law is a good opportunity to make money because you get to exploit people at their most vulnerable. When their families are breaking up and they are all very sad. I do hope that in your life ahead, you avoid anything to do with family law as your career.
These people do not model ethical values that I respect. I know from Maria’s own words, that they were very wrong in placing money above letting you travel with your father to say goodbye to beautiful Maria and your Yaya. And to spend your summer holidays with your Father after being kept apart for so long at that time.
Lucky for British family law, they can do whatever they like and can rely on the secrecy law to protect their anonymity. So why am I telling this story from 2015 in 2018?
Because I believe, as your father, it is your right to know who did what and why.
And, here we are, three years on the anniversary of that day and I still believe it was wrong to stop you from seeing Maria.
In other words, I believe it is in your best interests to know. And we can move forward from there. Rather than protect Adler/Amlot and O’Leary by pretending what they did is somehow British family law acting in your best interests and that you should never know what they did.
They each owe you a personal apology for many things, but for this particular decision, stopping you being with me for this series of important moments in your life, there has to be some accountability for those three if we are to believe British justice is a real thing.
Do you know, Michele O’Leary still works as a judge in family court?
I see Maria’s baby Anna every year. She has a special relationship with me. I think beautiful Maria lives on through beautiful Anna. A sweet belief that makes the best of sorrow. I have seen Anna every year since she was born and will try and make sure I see her every year, to look out for her, as I promised her mother I would.
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LETTERS TO BYRON in chronological order:
The first of the LETTERS TO BYRON: The PILOT
2nd GRAHAM COY
3rd: TOM AMLOT
4th: Thanksgiving day
5th: MICHELLE O’LEARY. The switch Judge
6th : Raining in California
8th: December Rain
9th: Brexit and Greek war
10th: Winnie the Poo
11th: December kayaking
12th: Family law and Mark Zetin
13th: Xmas day 2018
14th: Maria and Anna
15th: New years eve 2018
16th: Your first smile
17th: Your Uncle GEORGE
18th: The Mighty PACIFIC
19th: WEBSTER and Summer HOLIDAY 2019
20th: Breach of Privacy offense
21st: MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
23rd: A short note
24th: MUSIC and KINDNESS
25th: Robin Hood
26th: SRA ethical code
27th: NINE YEARS LATER
28th: Valentines day
31st: Quick Note
32nd: Johannesburg 2019
33rd: Still in Johannesburg
34th: More Johannesburg
35th: Last Johannesburg for now
36th: Traveling. Upgrade
40th: CABO ST LUCAS
41st: 1 April. Wallace’s Birthday
42nd: SANTA BARBARA
43rd: Short letter
44th: PINEAPPLE EXPRESS
45th: KIRA visits
46th: Goodbye uncle Lazaros
47th: Easter Monday
48th: OJAI Tennis
49th: Short letter
50th: PARENTAL ALIENATION FACTS
51st: Cartagena memory
52nd: NEW RECORD
53rd: Last letter to 9 yo
54th: First letter to 10 yo
55th: D Day – 75 years
56th: LA QUINTA
57th: MASON GRADUATES
60th: Chris and Golf
61st: Chris visits Byron in London
63rd: PHYLLIS’ LETTER TO BYRON
64th: GUN CRAZY AMERICANS
65th: MISS YOU
67th: Mason leaves for college
69th: Day after 911
70th: PAPOU. CALLING CHRIS
71st: Two Women
72nd: ANOTHER YEAR
73rd: PLANNING CALIFORNIA VISIT 2019
74th: KAYAKING WITH DOLPHINS
75th: M and M
76th: HALLOWEEN 2019
77th FINGER EXERCISE
78th: First late letter
90th: Thanksgiving and the SRA
93rd: Almost Xmas
94th: Boxing day 2019