Monday, August 23, 2010

"Forever Young"

"Forever Young" is the title of a song, a bad movie with Mel Gibson, and the name of my brother and sister in law's boat. They called their boat "Forever Young" after the Bob Dylan song, which describes simply and lyrically a good way to live: "May your heart always be joyful/And may your song always be sung. May you stay forever young."

It overlooks the other part of being young --feeling powerless and anxious in a world that you do not understand.

It is my brother's birthday. He no longer tracks such things as the days of the week. I remember how hard my sister in law tried to school him in the days of the week as a last ditch effort to get him into a clinical trial. Love and hope keep us going against the odds.

I sent a birthday message in an email via my sister. I thought that would be enough to ease the heart sore I felt about almost forgetting the day. I will be older than Methusaleh before I realize that my head never has ruled my heart and no doubt never will.

I played the Joan Baez CD for a school girl chum resting on the sofa. When it came to Forever Young, the slow hot tears leaked out of the corners of my unsuspecting eyes. I had thought I had cried my brother away, but something demanded a bigger, better birthday present. I cried my way through a couple more times of Forever Young and struggled through the anguish of wondering if he was all right at that very moment. I know he is looked after well and beloved, but in his Forever Young condition, he is so very vulnerable.

I sat and thought about all the things that are so much a part of me that would never have come into being without him. I would never have had the courage to finish the scuba diving class if not for his push and so I would never have seen the wonder of the north wall of Grand Cayman off the Forever Young. I would not have slogged through another year of mathematics in high school or taken 5 years of Latin or stayed in college if not for him. I might not even be here at all if not for his courage and protection over many many years.

I wish I had been braver, smarter, kinder, faster to understand what he tried to tell me about things from calculus to how to cook a quick chicken dinner. I cherish now every time I kicked out at him and he caught my heel and sent me landing unceremoniously on my bottom. I'd gladly take a fall for him now for old time's sake, but that wouldn't do either of us much good.

So I'm inviting you all to a special birthday party.

Whenever you read this, stop what you're doing and take a minute to give a great big pixie-faced grin to an otherwise po-faced world.
Dance in the grocery store aisle.
Put raspberry flavour into your coffee.
Sip a glass of red wine or a Heinekin or your favourite drink as if you might never taste it again.
Be a little more patient with someone you love.
Make a silly pun and laugh at your own joke even if no one else does.
Be grateful for the time and will to do what you choose.

And then please sing happy birthday to my brother.

Happy Birthday, Mikey.


At 1:30 AM, Blogger John D. Stanton said...

Happy birthday, Mikey.

John & Flo

At 3:20 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Happy Birthday, Mikey.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

Well, I'll pass on the raspberry flavor in my coffee, thank you -- but I'm singing Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mikey.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Thanks for joining me in Mike's virtual birthday party.

He used to like to say, "Party on, Wayne."
"Party on, Garth"

At 8:10 AM, Blogger scorrie said...

mee too Sharon


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