On Dec 27 at 4:30 AM my brother, Barry, clung for his life, to his boat, his home, that had capsized in cold winter waters of The Gorge Waterway in Victoria BC.
His urgent cries for help were heard by a passerby on the bridge over those same waters. That passerby, that “Angel”, alerted emergency services.
Baruch HaShem, thank God, my brother, and his dog Milo, were both rescued.
My brother is my teacher.
He teaches me about compassion; compassion for the marginalized; the disenfranchised; the homeless.
Throughout almost 3 decades, my brother has always maintained his “housing situation” is an act of choice: an exercise of his personal freedom. As we all know, some choices are easier than others; some structures of rationale are informed by strengths and others by challenges. To me, my brother’s choice strongly demonstrates both.
People are complicated. Relationships are complicated. Families are complicated. And some are more complicated than others.
An answer to the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”: “I am trying to be.”
My brother is older now. He is 66. His body is not as strong as it once was. His needs have changed over time, and especially in light of other recent traumas he’s endured. It was merely 6 weeks ago when he sustained a series of strokes. I’ve no idea from where his resilience comes but it is there.
And now, again, after 5 years of living on a humble boat that brought him a sense of pride and security, he has lost everything: an “everything” which, at the end-of-the-day, was still, to most, not very much. All of which was uninsured.
His boat is unsalvageable.
His housing is, again, uncertain.
He will take his place with the over 1,500 others who are homeless in Victoria, BC.
In the short-term, he is staying on the couch of another Angel; a loving friend.
In sharing his recent story with family and friends, including those on Facebook, and within my beloved Or Shalom community, my husband’s and my synagogue, many of you have asked how you can help.
With Barry’s permission, This GoFundMe is one way. And while any monetary funds raised will be of tangible assistance, it will be the heart-warming gestures of care and compassion that my brother, Barry, will be moved by.
On behalf of Barry and myself, “Todah Raba”. We thank you very much.
- Alexis Kellum-Creer
- Sonja Franner
Twilla Tiferet Welch