Those of you who have been recipients of my XMASGRAMS over the years will perhaps find it appropriate to think of this letter, sent to you after my death, as my "EXlTGRAM." The basic information relating to my death and the manner in which I was laid to rest is contained in my obituary, a copy of which is (found in SOS).
Some of you who receive this may not have heard from or of me for decades. In a few instances we may even have parted on less than friendly terms and you may be most surprised that your names were included in the list of those I directed my Executors to notify of my death. However, every addressee was important to me at some stage of my life and I want you to know that you were in my thoughts even as I was making arrangements for a smooth exit from this life to whatever may come next.
Those of you who have not heard from or of me in recent years will be perplexed by my assumption of "Byron" as my moniker of choice. For continuity of family tradition, I legally changed my name in 1996 from "Burton Victor Tweedy" to "Byron Burton Victor Tweedy." Ever since one of my Tweedy ancestors married a "Miss Byron" in 1798, "Byron" has been one of the male Christian names of all my forefathers. I simply could not abide the thought of being "planted" in the Tweedy family plot in Smiths Falls as the only one without "Byron" in my name. Hence, of course, my daughter's name, "Byrona," a feminization, in the Italian style, of "Byron." Speaking of my darling Byrona, how fortunate I was to be blessed with such a wonderful gift from God on September 8, 1989, at age 58 and to acquire my dear wife, Margarita, in the process. How fortunate, too, I was to meet my son, Dr. Chris, a handsome, intelligent, personable young man, in 1986, when he was 21-years-old, and to, perhaps, make some very small amends to him for my part in the events which lead to him being given up for adoption. Through him I even got to be a four-time grandfather!
With respect to my 33-year military career, I felt a truly mystical bond with my old Corps, The Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, and The Regiment of Canadian Guards and The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada with whose 1st Battalions I served as Quartermaster for four years in Germany. Their physical destruction in the late 1960s is something for which I can never forgive either the then Minister of National Defence or the Government of the day. However, the spirit of my Corps and Regiments will live on until the last of their members die!
All in all, I enjoyed life and had a good life. I bad the good
fortune to see most of the world and to mainly be an exceptionally
stong and robust man until
9 December 1996 when. at age 65 ½ an apparently long-existing. but undiagnosed cardiomyopathy/congestive heart failure condition suddenly became acute. (English translation: diseased heart muscle which resulted in a very weakened and increasingly inefficient heart pump.) Severe chronic fatigue has been my fate from that date. At the time I am writing this, I assume that this condition will directly or indirectly be the cause of my death. However, I accept that conception is a terminal disease, a disease I am pleased to have bad the good fortune to contract.
Yon may well ask what drove me to prepare this slightly eccentric missive. While I was commanding 4 Ordnance Field Park. a mobile field supply unit in our Canadian brigade group in Germany. during the 1966-68 period. a German civilian employee who worked for me died suddenly. This man had lived many years in Canada, but had returned to Germany. I tried, personally. and ordered my staff to try to find next-of-kin or at least some friends to notify of his death. I really did my best. but to no avail This made a lasting impression on me. I thought: how terrible it was to die and have no one take notice of your passing. let alone mourn it. This I resolved. would not be my fate; hence this letter. In closing, I sincerely wish you all the best in the way of health and happiness for whatever years may still remain to you. Hoping to meet you again in the next life. I remain.