Thursday December 24th
3:14: Written at my yoga studio & retyped at my desk.
So this isn’t a very holiday like note: since I’ve been thinking all day about memory & the utter randomness of life/ death.
This week I had one of those moments that really shakes you out of the day to day.
A piece of news that was a reminder of how strange the way memory really is and how so much of “modern” professional life is contingent on denying the reality of the unpredictability of life.
You may have heard the story on the news – Mark Ernsting an incredible sounding Ryerson Prof & biomedical engineer at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research was tragically stabbed while out on a walk. A horrible incident and a waste of life that sounds like it was filled with meaning and contribution.
Mark & I had gone to school together in grade 5, 6 & 7 (so almost 30 years ago). We were all part of a TDSB gifted program. The classes were really small (10-12 people I think) – so you knew everyone really well. I left when I was 12 and we moved to New Jersey and I had never seen or really thought of Mark in those years.
But as soon I heard his name and saw his face – I felt like the character in the The Time Travellers Wife - I was suddenly 10, in Ms. McDonald’s portable and I saw him standing there…and then each time I heard CBC update the story, I had a different flashback like that. For instance, in grade 6 we did a class performance of Fiddler on the Roof – and I was the Fiddler’s third daughter – she’s the one who runs away with a Russian and Mark was my Russian. And for a moment, I was back at a rehearsal in the gym and I could almost viscerally feel how mutually irritated were both were at our characters.
Against the frenzy of the holidays and the push for everything to get done – I found I just keep thinking about his family and how no one would have thought a seemingly ordinary day would become one of the worst of their lives.
Not a holiday note but maybe a good reminder as we head into at least one day of sanctioned stopping….
Hope its a wonderful day for you & your boys!
Read Kate’s last letter here
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