I called my brother for the first time in 11 months last week. The last time I phoned him was on his birthday last June.
Up until that phone call, I hadn’t talked to him at all since Christmas. Not a phone call, text message, or any sort of social media communication.
Just radio silence.
It’s not that I hate or dislike my brother. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t hate me either. We’re simply not close. He’s only 2 years older than me, but we’ve always been very different, always inhabited two separate worlds.
So. What prompted the out-of-the-blue call?
Fort McMurray was on fire, and I wasn’t quite sure whether or not he lived there.
You read that right. I wasn’t sure where in the world my brother was living.
See, my brother moved to Newfoundland after he graduated several years ago. His girlfriend works in the oil and energy field, and at Christmas time, they knew that she was going to be relocated to either Calgary or Fort McMurray sometime in the future. A few months ago, my mother mentioned in passing that they were going to Fort McMurray. I haven’t heard anything more about it since. You may think the chance that my brother actually moved without anyone telling me is slim- but he moved to Newfoundland without me knowing, so I’d believe it.
So Fort McMurray was on fire, and I finally picked up the phone to call my brother.
Good news. He does still live in Newfoundland, which means he is perfectly okay. While they were originally supposed to be in Fort McMurray by now, the move was, luckily, delayed several times. The move has, unsurprisingly, just become very questionable.
I feel somewhat ashamed that it took one of our country’s largest disasters to get me to pick up the phone and call my own brother. And I can’t help but think. What if he HAD been living in Fort McMurray? What if something HAD happened to him?
I’m probably the worst one to speak on this, but folks, relationships matter. People matter. We all know this innately, but we so often let ourselves forget. Why does it so often take tragedy and disaster to remind us of what’s important?
You can bet that question is a little more on my mind now.