This is a very heavyhearted subject for me to blog about. When I blog about family or my past it seems to take a lot out of me mentally and then I turn to mush for 24 hours.
Ever since I started my blog I’ve wanted to blog about him, My Bro. I think his story is despairing but also a bit of a mental survival story.
Since he was born, he was different in many ways. He had blonde white hair and looked so pure when he was a toddler. Almost cherub like? Growing up he said very little. If he did say anything it was a whisper or a mumble. He would mostly talk to me and my Mom. He and my Dad were two complete opposites. My Dad never spent any time with him. It was very sad. It was as if since my brother didn’t talk to him, my Dad thought “what’s the use?”
My little brother would follow me around as if I were his hero. We would play together with our stretchy incredible hulk, race dump trucks, and remote control cars. I had barbies but I preferred playing with the cool boy stuff that he always got for his birthday and Christmas. We would play Tweety bird and Sylvester the cat…chasing each other throughout the house and knocking things over.
As my parents went through their divorce it seemed to change my little brothers world. He started declining in his grades and getting into trouble at school. My Mom took him to see a psychiatrist and I’m not quite sure what they diagnosed him with at that time. When he got into his teens he would disappear for days and my Mom would call the cops or we would have to try and find him at a friends house. He went through the whole emo stage in the late 80’s listening to the punk rock and alternative music and wearing all black and eyeliner and shit.
He started hanging out with a punk little group of troubled teens. He would get drunk and break into our house at night because he lost his key, forget about knocking. He got in trouble for breaking into a hotel room because the guy in the hotel room owed him money or something. He got sent to a juvenile detention center. My Mom and I thought that might scare him straight, no such luck.
He got so drunk one time we called 911 when we found him passed out with blood on his face and puke all down his shirt. They pumped his stomach and sent him home. My Dad came to see him in the ER that day and said he was done with him. I remember saying to my Dad, “You were done with him when he was 3 years old, what’s different?” At that point my Mom was desperate for help and checked him into a youth mental hospital. They kept him about 30 days and diagnosed him to be mentally challenged, suicidal, and depressed. I remember him denying all of this to us when we brought him home. He said “They’re just typing of some bullshit to get your money Mom, there’s nothing wrong with me accept I like to drink and smoke weed.”
My Mom had done her best to try to raise him to know right from wrong. She had us in church three times a week even though we would fight her on going. But, she also had a lot of boyfriends and would leave myself and my brother alone for weeks from the time I was twelve to eighteen.
When he was 17 he joined the fair and quit school. We begged him not to quit and join the fair but he said there was nothing we could do and that we couldn’t stop him. I remember the next day after he left my Mom took off with a new guy. My Bro called a few months later and we went and picked him up. Shortly after that he was arrested for public intoxication.
He was in jail probably about a month. My Mom bailed him out. He had to do community service which was at the local animal shelter. From there he stole the animal shelter truck with a credit card in the glove box and picked up a few friends along the way and then headed to the beach. He had a blast I’m sure but got arrested there and was put in jail for several months. This time my Mom, Grandma, etc. refused to bail him out. I know what you’re thinking, good for them. Dude needed some tough love right?
At this point you’re probably thinking he’s a spoiled rotten, selfish, a disrespectful teenager. You see growing up he was in remedial classes at school. He struggled learning and kids would make fun of him. He was such a sweet kid but kids would bully him. I can’t tell you how many times I had to kick some bullies ass for fucking with my brother. He would never fight back. He was too shy, polite, and insecure. He wanted friends and he wanted to fit in. As he got to be 18 years old he began to grow into this handsome guy. He looked like a combination of Matthew Mcconaughey and Jared Leto. He had dirty blonde hair and the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen on anyone. He always had a golden tan because he loved the outdoors. Chic’s were drawn to him for being mysterious and the quiet type. He always opened a door for a lady and could just look at you and melt your heart.
Now, back to him being in jail in the early 90’s I think it was. My Mom was off with a boyfriend, somewhere tropical and my Dad had pretty much disowned my brother. His thoughts were “I don’t have a son, I didn’t raise him to be a criminal, out of sight out of mind.” Not that my Dad EVER raised either of us. That’s a whole different blog in itself.
It was Christmas. I was 24 years old and my bro was 21 and in jail. I remember picking up some magazines and candy for him that morning on my way to visit him. As I waited for him to come to the glass window to take a seat and grab the phone I couldn’t help but feel brokenhearted that it had come to this. I was about to see my baby brother in jail on Christmas morning. He was all alone and I was alone. Our parents were busy with their own lives. This is where we were in life. I was somewhat successful working at a bank and living on my own in an apartment. I felt like I had failed my brother by allowing his life to turn out like this. There must have been something I could’ve done to protect him better.
As I saw him approach walking very slowly in the orange jumpsuit those big blue eyes were black, gray and purple. His nose was scabbed up and he looked helpless. Immediately I picked up the phone before he could even take a seat. I kept motioning for him to pick up the phone and when he did I said “What the fuck happened to your face?” He of course said “Nothing, don’t worry about it.” I argued back and forth with him pleading him to tell me what happened and he said he really couldn’t tell me because it would just cause trouble for him. He quickly told me to drop it and moved his eyes towards a guard behind him. It was like he was giving me a signal. I dropped it as he asked me to.
I wished him a Merry Christmas and when I did tears started streaming down his face. My bro had only cried once in front of me before which was when he burned his hand really bad shooting fireworks. Very rarely did this kid cry. I said “Are you OK? Why are you crying, are you in pain?” He said “I didn’t even know it was Christmas.” I then began crying. I knew right at that moment he knew he’d really fucked up this time in life. He asked me if Mom or Dad were coming to see him and I told him no. Even though he put himself in that jail my heart was breaking seeing him there on Christmas day with the tears streaming down his face. I can’t describe to you how badly I wanted to “save” him and take all of his pain away. But, I couldn’t.
Come to find out months later I found out through a guard that worked at his jail that two other guards had beat my brother up for accidentally falling asleep in the wrong cell. Again, my brother is special, was never good at school, has some learning disabilities and him falling asleep in the wrong cell is something he would definitely accidentally do. But to beat the living shit out of him for it, fuck that noise. He was kicked in the ribs, punched in the eyes, nose, and sent to confinement for a couple of days.
After my brother was released I had a couple of friends to check in on those guards at their favorite bar. Let’s just say Karma is a fucking bitch. My two friends were some big ass Hawaiian mother fuckers and they grew up with us and they handled it. Nothing wrong with having some friends in low places is there? Revenge is so sweet. My brother would never fight anyone. He’s too nice of a guy for that. Me, I’m vengeful and don’t fuck with my family or friends.
I’m happy to say after he got out of jail, my brother seemed to get his act together. No, he’s not “normal” if that’s a thing but he has his own place, he works as much as he can when he can find work. He has a good group of friends and lives a good life. He kayak’s as frequently as he can and is comfortable and seems happy. I honestly do think he suffers from depression and addiction. He won’t see a doctor or take anything for it but he manages. He’s extremely stubborn and hard headed. He fears doctors because of the past where the doctor’s told my Mom he was mentally challenged. In his eyes, there’s nothing wrong with him.
But, that’s OK, as long as he’s happy, I’m happy. He’s a fighter. He has a creative artsy side to him too. He makes art pieces like statues. He can turn junk into art. He can also rebuild an engine. Although he’s not book smart he is creative and very talented.
My Dad has tried to reconnect with my bro and my bro is polite and speaks with my Dad on the phone and sometimes we do family functions. But, My Dad seems to be trying to make up for lost time. My Dad hurt my brother tremendously throughout life by telling him he’d never amount to anything and how he was disowning him and so on. So, my bro is a bit stand-offish which I can’t blame him. “Out of sight, out of mind eh?” One of Dad’s favorite lines.
Although my bro has given me a lot of heartache and has made some mistakes throughout life…..I’m more than proud of him. Not once did I ever reject him or punish him for what he had done, I stood by him. But, he was rejected his entire life by others that supposedly loved him or cared about him. He beat the odds. He’s the come back kid in my eyes. No one believed in him. No one thought he would live to be 40 years old with his reckless ways years ago. He doesn’t need anyone’s approval to be happy. He’s a strong man. He’s a fighter.
So, if you have a sibling, friend, family member with addiction, depression, and has made some bad choices in life….Don’t count them out just yet.
I’ll leave you with my song for my bro, I remember listening to this on the way home from the jail that Christmas day. I’ll always stand by him and always be there for him no matter what…..