A Brother I Never Knew I Had

A Brother I Never Knew I Had

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It was 32 years ago March 16, 1984,  that we were in the middle of the mother of all blizzards here in Huronia. We were meeting in rectory at Martyrs’ Shrine and snow was blowing in under door in office where a small group was gathered.

As chair and member of the communication committee assigned to the September 1984 meeting of Pope John Paul II, our group met at the Shrine several times every couple of weeks.  Visiting priests from Toronto and Hamilton were there with us that morning.  One of the clergymen was Fr. Brad Massman, now Msgr Brad to his friends.

I had for whatever reason happened to mention being adopted…….turned out months later that I discovered that I had a brother and that he had died on the very same day we were meeting at the Shrine. Death was caused by brain cancer, he was 43. His passing took place in a St. John’s Hospital, his remains are buried in an Anglican cemetery at Portugal Cove.

He had been a teacher, later cared for the homeless, loved to ski and shoot and coach hockey teams. His father was an OPP officer.  His mother, my birth mother,  is buried in a small Anglican Cemetery in Hull, Quebec. I was reminded recently of being an honorary pallbearer in my early teens and a young man sitting next to me since our “uncle” was being honoured.  Believe it or not he was my younger brother, I never knew he had.

So to Arthur James Campbell we will always cherish your memory. I wonder if you ever knew that after I was born your mother called him Denis Wayne Spencer and three years later you and she lived just around the corner from where we grew up and adopted was named James Douglas Reed?

Your writer can count on a hand or two the number of anniversaries one marks although our Dutch calendar in our water closet has them all marked down: wedding anniversaries, ours included, birthdays, passings, first communions, etc. Jimmy’s promotion to glory we will always remember March 16, 1984, the day before St. Patrick’s Day. Rest in peace, my brother, rest in peace.

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A Brother I Never Knew I Had

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