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April 9, 1965. That’s the day my whole world changed. I finished the night shift, driving the bakery truck, as usual. I hurried home from work, because that weekend I had my three-year old son, Jimmy. I couldn’t wait to see my boy, knowing he would be there with open arms and a big kiss. As I drove up the street, I saw my house surrounded by police. Fear gripped me. I rushed inside to find out what was wrong. The police stopped me, asking who I was. “I live here. What’s wrong, why are you here?” I asked. Then they told me: “Your son is in the hospital, in a coma, as a result of having his head beaten against a wall by your wife Sandy.” The news hit me like an anvil. I started to cry in disbelief. Through my tears I yelled, “Sandy, No! What happened?” She answered, “He wouldn’t stop crying, so I shook him and hit his head against the wall.” The pain and sadness that coursed through my mind and body at that moment cannot be described. “This is only a bad dream,” I repeated to myself. I was in shock and disbelief. Love for my son and some strange kind of hate filled me, so many emotions rushed through me.

My world was suddenly turned upside down. “My son? How could this be?” I raced to the hospital to be with Jimmy. My precious, adoring, once happy and healthy son now looked so helpless. He had tubes in his mouth and a large white bandage around his head where they had operated on him for four hours. As I looked down at my beloved son, all I could say was, “I am so sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Please don’t die.” I sat there for hours looking at my son, still in disbelief.

While sitting at the side of my now bedridden son, I remembered all the fun times we had together. I thought of his laughter, his messy hair and his beautiful smile. I remembered giving him rides on my motorcycle, after getting off work and on weekends, taking him to the zoo, the park, and riding the ponies. Was it all coming to an end? Being together, laughing, playing, running, dreaming of his future and our life together was shattered. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do but pray.

James Raymond McNeil died three days later on April 12, 1965. I sat there for a long time in disbelief. Later I walked out of the hospital still in a daze, not understanding why I had to lose my beautiful son. All my dreams of growing up with him were truly gone now. I went to a phone booth to call my mother and tell her Jimmy had died. Before dialing the number I looked up to the heavens and said, “God, I am not mad at you. I understand that for some strange reason you took my son. But God, please, one day let me understand, why?” I called my mother and told her he was gone and then cried.

I now understand that this was the beginning of my journey; a tragic event that put me on my path and guided me toward my destiny. What will guide you to yours?

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I titled this book “The Story Of One Man’s Destiny.” Through my life events told in these pages, I explore many questions of fate versus free will, determinism or autonomy. What is our destiny in life? Can we change or alter it, or is it carved in stone before we are born? My teacher Master Haumea Lefiti once told me “We all are our own god, because we have the right to choose from right or wrong, bad or good.” Does this define what it means to be God? I feel every one of us should listen to our innermost self, as it will guide us on the true path of our destiny.

Is there such a thing called an after-life? After we die, are we reincarnated? Do we remember things from a past life? Why are some people inexplicably drawn to certain places, people or objects? Why do different people collect things from various time periods and locations? What determines our passions? Sometimes when we meet someone, we have a deep sense that we have met before; could this be someone from our past? How many lives do we have? Or do we not? What determines our destiny?

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