The following is an excerpt from the book entitled “Toy Soldier”, available on Amazon, August 16, 2022.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

I had been struggling for some time with the cohesiveness of my story and never truly felt I knew where the book would end. Last night, someone very special to me helped me realize that I already knew the ending to my book. Much like in the Wizard of Oz when they all find that everything they ever needed was inside of them this entire time.

I do have one final confession to make. I wrote this book with as much dispassion and distance as I possibly could from the subject matter. At the end of this book, which I truly wrote from start to finish, I only feel love.

My son killed himself because he fell in love. It is that simple, truly. A love that he never knew because the world was a cold hard place, and I taught him that without reminding him that it was full of love as well. I am responsible for his life because he was given to me. I was to be that stable bow, from which his arrow flew into the future which was beyond my vision. I failed. I failed because of shame. I never failed to love him and he always felt the same.

In the final analysis, as my son was always fond of saying, this is where I am.

  1. I have found, a new life. One that I can be proud of and walk through without the tyranny of shame overshadowing the lives of those I love.
  2. I have healed old wounds, opened the door to old friends and walk in the sunshine of the world.
  3. I am no longer afraid to open my mouth and I can sing to the world one last time, even if that song is just words on a page.

Perhaps my son actually laid down his life for mine and for his siblings, who needed me more than he did. I will not degrade his life by remembering him in death any longer.

Robert Anthony Cristello
November 15, 2021
Day 4 of coming back to life