Been singing the song from our friend Mr. Young. Not going to recite the lyrics here but they are easily accessible.
As an aside I need to brag about one small point. For years, in my farm debt mediation work, I have been involved with Neil Young’s relative. Really. Then again, how many Youngs’ are there in Manitoba, never mind Cypress River.
This all has nothing to do with what I am about to say. In the past I have alluded to various challenges I have had particularly this last winter. It always seemed that my outlook on life was jaded by real life stories. And it felt like each time I got over one, or got some positive news, or more work, something bad would happen.
This week was no different. Monday night as I was just drifting off into what I was sure was going to be a minimum 3 hour sleep the phone rang. Fortunately the phone is on my wife’s side of the bed so I did the big fake sleep thing. Probably even faked a snore. When she hung up she was rather surprised that I asked who that was. She told me it was my oldest brother.
I left it at that and tried my best to have a decent night. Didn’t happen. You get a certain sense about things. He would not normally call me on my home number at that time of day. Him calling me that way left me with a chilling thought. Something was wrong. I thought back to our last conversations and recalled he had mentioned an issue he had that he needed to take painkillers for. I suspect if I had gone to my computer I could have written the script. Those thoughts haunted me all night.
I called him first thing in the morning, although I had to figure out the time difference between here and Saskatchewan and that in itself is a problem. Leaving that one till next time. As soon as he answered I knew my worst thoughts during the night had been right. He had gone through that infamous test that most of us try to joke about, but fail miserably, and the picture (no pun intended) was not good. The dreaded C word. The same issue that took our father many years ago. Not sure that matters. The C word brings about all kinds of thoughts, pictures we have seen, friends and family we have lost. To say it haunts me is an understatement.
It took a while before I had the emotional fortitude to call him again. I was amazed at his positive outlook on life. He felt he had been given a clear message. He realized life was not forever. That might mean a week, a year, 10 years, even a longer term where you wonder whether the first death might have been the best one. He said he had come to the realization that what he wanted, while his life allowed, was to, and I will quote him here; “I want to live, I want to love, and I want to write.”
I could relate more stories of how his own family is taken aback by his new approach. For me it has been interesting. When I spend my wakeful hours during the night thinking, I normally experience significant anxiety. Since my conversation with my brother I wake up and instantly say these words. “I want to live, I want to love and I want to write.” It has helped me. Looking forward to the challenges these words present. Looking forward to implementing those thoughts and words in my own life. Perhaps we can talk about this in the future. But most of all I send all positive energy to my brother. He will need it as he faces this challenge in his life. Make it a good one.