On the Life and Death of My BrotherBook - 2013
A Globe & Mail 100 Selection
Helen Humphreys' younger brother was gone before she could come to terms with the fact that he had terminal cancer. Diagnosed with stage 4B pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-five, he died four months later, leaving behind a grieving family. Martin was an extraordinary pianist who debuted at the Royal Festival Hall in London at the age of twenty, later becoming a piano teacher and senior examiner at the Royal Conservatory of Music. The two siblings, though often living far apart, were bonded on many levels.
Now Humphreys has written a deeply felt, haunting memoir both about and for her brother. Speaking directly to him, she lays bare their secrets, their disagreements, their early childhood together, their intense though unspoken love for each other. A memoir of grief, an honest self-examination in the face of profound pain, this poetic, candid and intimate book is an offering not only to the memory of Martin but to all those who are living through the death of family and friends.
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Everything becomes a memorial. This wooden chair is a memorial to that tree.
At the end, we are all far from home. We are far from home, and what we hope for is that someone will fashion us a light, so that we too will not have to wake in darkness.
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