Friends, the following is an excerpt/chapter from my upcoming book, From Bear Rock Mountain:
It has been five long years and almost to the date when the first of eight book launches is planned, during the NorthWords Literary Festival in Yellowknife at the end of May.
The writing itself started at the time of the murder of a close relative, in Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope, Spring 2014.
This excerpt comes from a time, now over 25 years ago, when I simply had no choice but to finally put that demon alcohol away or die.
“There is nothing physically wrong with you, Antoine. but there is no doubt you are an alcoholic.”
We must surely have presented a curious sight.
She a mola, white nurse tending to a strung-out Dene man.
But then again, maybe not, for the Stanton Territorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Ward.
After all, I still had some rough underground left unscraped.
I had joined in a pick-up game of hockey and we were just fooling around out there on the ice in Yellowknife Bay.
After that a friend and I put a caribou head in the oven and as we waited for it to cook, I suddenly just ran out of air to breathe!
I asked him to call an ambulance and was rushed off to the hospital.
A number of days later I came to and woke up in post-op physio therapy. I was yet quite groggy, with each thankful breath of air a veritable godsend. She in turn appeared as a divine being that came to my side. What she had to say, though, painted not as rosy a picture.
She began by telling me that there was, “nothing wrong with you physically, Antoine.
“You are a very likable person, with a good sense of humour. But there is no doubt that you have a severe drinking problem. The next time an ambulance comes for you, it may not make it to the hospital in time to save you. Just think for a minute, seriously, about what this is doing to your mom and your family.”
As she spoke these words, I realized that this complete stranger had hit home in making me finally want to quit my drinking forever.
And so, it is that her words have remained so to this day.
She was like a dutiful and duty-bound soldier of love, sweeping up after the madness, taking extra care to pick up each and every piece of a forgotten puzzle.
Putting the odd puzzle back together would have to be my job.
One other note is that you can pre-order your own copy of From Bear Rock Mountain; The
Life and Times of a Residential School Survivor, through Amazon.ca, Chapters, Indigo and a couple of other online outlets.
Mahsi, thank you.