*This post first appeared in BlogHer I think where I've been writing a bit more these days just because I don't know what kind of creepy people stalk me on this blog. It has over 600 reads so I thought I'd share it here too.
My brother died last year around this time, May something or other. I wasn't even sure he was really dead. I got a muffled cell phone call from my mom around 5 am mumbling frantically that Tim may have died and then click. End of message. Previously I'd had a falling out with my mother where she requested I not contact her anymore. Then this. This message about death. It
It seemed likely he was dead considering the times he probably should have died. Once he was so drunk he wrecked his motorcycle and his bottle of vodka rolled out of his back pack. No one saw it happen so he gathered up his back pack, his vodka and went on his way. I got up, took a shower, came to work and met up with my friend in the parking lot. She said, "What's up?" And I said, "My brother may have died."
I called my dad and said, "I heard Tim might have died." He told me he's heard the same thing and was trying to confirm. Two years earlier a girl from Texas was visiting my brother and died in his bed. We still don't really know why.
By the next day we confirmed he was dead. I wasn't that sad. I showered that morning leaning my head against the glass. I had stopped talking to my brother about four years earlier because he was an addict, a terrible father, and a selfish, self destructive person. I cried though, but not because I missed him. I cried for the concept of a brother. I cried for the idea of family. I cried for the destruction of something I saw crumble around me when I was 11. I cried for the child who had a big brother. I cried for the family dinners when I had to ask, "May I be excused?" before I left the dinner table and the family who prayed together before bed. I cried for ever wanting someone to call me his little sister and then protect me like I thought a brother might do.
often get trapped in the concept of things rather than the reality of them. The reality is that he wasn't a good person and I was kind of expecting him to die at an early age.
I wanted to look up to him and I tried. People with brothers seemed to like them so much. I wanted to think he was great or powerful or successful. I wanted him to be cool. But he wasn't any of those things. He was an addict. I can only ever remember him as an addict too. I have no memory of him being a brother. When I was 9 he asked me, while I was watching cartoons, what I would do if I were ever raped. He asked me if I knew what being raped meant. I said I didn't know what I would do and yes, I knew what it meant. I sat so stiffly in my pleather bean bag chair my eyes burned as I stared intently at the T.V. I heard him and his friend giggling and whispering in the kitchen. I started to get really scared that he might let his friend rape me just to see what I would do. When he finally left the room I called a family friend, explained quietly what he had said to me and she came over and picked me up. I never felt safe with him again.
He was perpetually on drugs.When I was 10, I unknowingly and repeatedly slammed his head against the bathroom door because he had passed out on the toilet and fallen face first onto the floor, pants down. He spent a year in a boys home in Texas when he was 13. My dad knocked over his dinner chair with him in it when he came home at age 15 with an earring. When I was 13 and he, 17, he cut up lines of cocaine and offered it to me in an attic space in Idaho that he had painted in satanic ritual markings. I didn't like him much, didn't respect him, and was gravely disappointed in everything he did. I declined his kind cocaine offer that night too.
He called me once around the time I graduated from college. I was drinking beer from a keg I kept on my back porch and watching reruns of Friends. When I answered, he said he was sitting in a truck and contemplating suicide.I was sick of all his shit and I was like, "What? Why? And why are you calling ME? I don't even live in the same state as you. Stop fucking with my head man!" He ignored me and asked me to play a certain song at his funeral by the band Live called Lightening Crashes. A woman's placenta falls to the ground in the first stanza. It's fuckin stupid and he's such an asshole for calling to tell me this. I should have called the police but I didn't. I went to bed because I know he's a selfish asshole and by threatening to kill yourself over the phone to someone in another state who has no idea where you live or what your address is, is a shitty, dick move. Fucker. About 5 years ago he ran away from a mental health facility and went missing. I was worried for about 10 minutes until I called my dad and he said, "Don't worry about it. He's an adult He'll figure it out." My parents are very supportive and concerned. He never killed himself that night but a few weeks later called and asked if him and his wife (wife? When did he get a wife?) could come to Florida and sleep on my floor otherwise they would be homeless. I said no. My family sucks.
He was family though and from what I gather about society and families it's that no matter what happens, they will be there for you and you should in turn be there for them. They will always have your back. You can always go home. Family is forever. Even when families break down and divorce, mothers and fathers still love their kids. Parents don't leave you. They won't move out of state and tell you one day before so you have no time to plan a goodbye to everyone you've ever known. They don't get married to people you've never met and not tell you until you see the wedding pictures that you're not in, at their condo. They won't take off to another town and leave you living in an apartment with your strung out brother. They won't forget your birthday or to call you on holidays. They won't treat you like you're worthless or insignificant.
But they do. Families forget you.
If I had friends like I have family, I would stop being their friend.
If my friend responded, "Graduate school is really difficult and expensive and you probably can't do it" when I told him/her I was thinking of getting a master's degree, then I wouldn't be friends with that person because that person is an asshole. So when you tell me, "I'm going to get a rainbow tattoo that spans both sides of my butt cheeks" I'm going to be all like, "Hooray for you." I'm going to be happy for you because damn it, you deserve that rainbow ass tattoo.
I don't need your negative bullshit when I tell you good news. If you're going to talk to me, you better have something fucking positive to say even if you have to fake it. I might not get into that program, or win that award but I don't need your stupid ass attitude reminding me that I'm mediocre and regular and that nothing about me is particularly outstanding. Also, if I don't know you very well, Do Not call me and tell me you are going to kill yourself. I hate that.
The whole point here is that family didn't work out for me. I'm sad and bitter about this and I talk about it all the time. Check out the name of this blog. This month I had some very cool news about things that are happening in my life. I didn't call anyone in my family. It's been a few weeks and I've contemplated putting the news in an email, but they have a way of diminishing me so I haven't said anything. Now that I'm older I know I'm responsible for maintaining relationships and things I do and say can intentionally and unintentionally affect people. So, I'm going to talk to the people who build me up instead of bring me down. I guess I do have family, technically, but I have better friends.
I don't know what's going on here, but he looks smug. I'm wondering where my real family is in this picture. just kidding.
My parents took us out for McDonald's before Tim left for some other state to do more drugs. You can tell by the mullet and mesh shirt that he's headed for no good.