Friday, December 1, 2023

Marking Time


Don Holzworth 1956-2008

Tomorrow would have been my brother's birthday, were he still here.

Tomorrow would have been the launch of my latest (fourth) book, in part a nod towards his memory.  

But things happen.  

Or not.

And we, who are left, who are still here, go on.

My relationship with my brother was complex.  A (much) younger sibling, suddenly arriving to usurp my place in the home, sick with some unspecified illness which demanded nearly all of my mother's time and attention.  I had to learn to live with that change in focus, share my parents with a sibling, learn to get to know him as a person, although that took a while because he needed, first, to survive his infancy, and then to become the person he was meant to be.

And so I was going to launch my fourth book on his birthday as a nod to what he left me when he left - a level of financial security I'd never had before, in large part because he was a good money manager and he didn't live long enough to spend it himself.

For the longest time I barely touched 'his' money, only paying off my immediate debt, then used some of it to travel.

Because he loved to travel and I knew he would approve.

Perhaps part of his love to travel came from me?  Because he was just 13 years old when I left for a trip to Sweden, travelling by freighter from Montreal to Oslo, then stayed away for 3.5 months.  Months where my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and then it was my brother's turn to bow to the vagaries of life, learn how to adapt.  Change.  Deal with loss.

This is not a unique story.  Every one of us goes through something similar as we confront the challenges of living.  Changing.  Growing.  Hopefully learning.

I'm well into my 70s now and feeling the pinch of time as I deal with my battered body.  Last week I filled out a trauma/injury survey for my physiotherapist and suddenly became aware of how much battering this body has sustained.  I'd never considered dental issues a trauma.  Before.  And yet.  One of my earliest memories is of having an abscessed tooth extracted - while it was still infected.  Not much in the way of anti-biotics in 1954.  My mother brought me to the dentist.  He took one look, shot me up with novacaine (which didn't actually deaden anything) and then pulled the tooth.

As I looked back on my life in order to report all the injuries and/or trauma I've dealt with the list grew longer and longer - and I still didn't list everything.  Some 'injuries' were too slight to bother with, I thought.  Trolling through my memory, remembering each incident, reliving it (to some extent), becoming consciously aware of the injury once again, was interesting.  And, I am hoping, helpful to aid in further healing.  

But I am also in my 70s now, and I honestly don't know how much healing I can achieve.  I don't know how much longer I can weave.  Or write.  Will I retain my wits?  Or will they depart, along with my physical 'fitness'?

So I'm feeling pressure.  An imperative to weave down my stash.  No longer a desire, but becoming a need.  To write.  To share my stories.  to share my knowledge, most of all.

Do I have more to say?  Dunno.

The only thing I can do, is...keep going...for as long as I can.  Marking time doesn't mean standing still, after all.

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