The Brother Who Left My Life

This is the one of the most honest and sensitive topics I will write about. I hope you read until the end before you judge. It will mean a lot to me. Thank you.

I want to tell you about my older brother. He was the second child in the family and only three years older than myself. I looked up to him as a kid because he took care of me, plain and simple. I remember how he used to come up with these crazy funny jokes that made everybody in the room laugh and he had a laugh that would make us laugh some more. He introduced me to new music, hairstyles, fashion trends, graffiti, cigarettes, youth gangs, and the way drugs worked. He was amazing.

But as much as I hate to think about him as a person with great potential who let drugs take over his life, I know that’s the truth. He started drinking and smoking weed in junior high and soon upgraded to doing heroin and cocaine while in high school. During his senior year, the drugs took over and he started to act paranoid. He stayed up during most nights, checked the windows, and insisted people were coming to harm the family. In his head, he was only trying protecting us just like he did when I was younger. But as a teen, I didn’t want any protection.

One night I was frustrated with the way he was behaving that I started yelling at him to act normal and stop pretending to be mentally ill (I will never assume someone is faking ever again). I don’t know how it happened, but I remember that suddenly my brother was on top of me and he started choking me. I couldn’t move. All I could do was stare at his face. He looked so  terrified. From there one, I just remember how cold his hands felt around my neck. That was the first and last time he ever laid his hands on me. My oldest brother came rushing downstairs, pulled my brother off, threw him to the ground, started hitting him, and told him to never hit me again. He kept his word.

After that incident, I convinced myself to never talk to my brother again. I gave him the silent treatment which did a lot more damage than I had ever anticipated. I ignored his jokes and pretended he wasn’t my brother. I would leave the room when he wanted to talk. He would beg for me to listen, but I looked the other way. Ignoring him was the easy part, but noticing the real problem was the hardest.

He soon starting behaving more psychotic. He stayed in the room for hours and laughed hysterically when he was by himself. He refused to eat and lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. He refused to take showers or clean himself after going to the bathroom. He would make stories up and believed there were people who wanted to harm the family. He was suffering, but I didn’t care. I always thought he was pretending. My cousins suggested that I talk to him because that is what he really wanted. I’m not sure if talking to him would have prevented or prolonged his condition. I really don’t know.

He soon got arrested for being in a gang neighborhood that his probation terms prohibited him from entering. That was his third strike, so he got deported back to Mexico. He remained there while I graduated high school, received my AA degree, and moved to San Francisco. He called home on his birthdays, December 31st, and my family would take turns talking to him on the phone. They would wish him a happy birthday and say that they loved and missed him. I would get skipped whenever it would be my turn; my family knew that I didn’t want to talk to him. I now wished that I had.

You see, my brother was living in a place where there continues to be many kidnappings and murders, and my family lost contact with him almost a year ago. My mom prays that he will one day show up and we will be a family again. She has hope. I don’t now how. I can’t imagine the pain of not knowing if your son is dead or alive. I hope I never do. I visited my mom a few months ago, walked in her room, and saw a small shrine of my older brother with a photo of him that was taken before he lost weight. I couldn’t help, but get sad.

During that trip, I kept on thinking about how he didn’t see me graduate high school or wish me good luck before moving to San Francisco. I kept on thinking about how he missed out on my life. But then again I wasn’t there when he needed my help or when he got deported. I wasn’t there to wish him a happy birthday. I wasn’t there to tell him that everything would be okay and that we will soon be together. I wasn’t there to hug him when he needed it.

Then I think think of all the things he won’t get to see. He won’t get to see me when I get married. He won’t be there to wish me good luck when I get my first professional job. He won’t be here when I adopt a child. He won’t be here to protect me anymore or to tell me that everything will be okay and that we will be together soon; that makes me cry.

I often wonder if he ever thought of me during those nights in Mexico. I was a bad person to him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stopped caring. Truth is, I really miss my older brother. He was a good person that just needed help. I can’t take back what I did (or didn’t do). It’s too late for that now. All I can do is hope that he’s in a good place right now, and to tell you that I love him.

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49 thoughts on “The Brother Who Left My Life

  1. J says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from. Life takes us on some crazy adventures. You can’t beat yourself up over the fact that you weren’t there for him, it may seem like that is the only thing you can do, but its not right. Who knows that if you did talk to him the tension escalated which caused even more space between you two? Nobody knows. The part of the story that you learned from is knowing that not everything is worth being pushed away, somtimes you have to fight. Hope is what you have to hold on to, it may not seem like a lot, but its a hell of a lot better than having nothing to hold on to. Chin up bud.

    • Yes, life definitely takes us on some crazy adventures. I completely agree. I’m trying to come to terms with that fact that maybe I really did do all that I could and maybe professional help is what he really needed. Thanks for making me feel better. I do have hope that one day I will see him again.

  2. My dear sweet Eddie,
    You are not a bad person or a bad brother. You were protecting yourself from your brother’s problems. I know. I did the same thing with my older brother. My brother couldn’t and still can’t be the brother I want him to be. And I have to live with that. No matter what happens to your brother, you are not responsible. It was never your job to save him. Only God can save him, but he has accept God’s love. Pray for your brother and your family too. I promise to pray as well for all of you.

    • I was talking to my friend and I mentioned your comment. She completely agrees and as do I. I’m sorry to hear that your brother can’t be the brother you want him to be. Thank you for your prays. They mean a lot to me and my family.

  3. I am not Mexican, but had the opportunity to work there for the last two years. I was a Sr. Executive, but opted to live with a very poor family in Itztapalapa, Mexico City. I did it as a learning experience. What I got was the opportunity of a lifetime to understand a unity, culture, love and understanding that I had never experienced before.

  4. thehowlingfantogs says:

    I have read this post a few times (which I never normally do) and it really touched me. My brother lives on the other side of the world to me, which I find really hard, but I know he is happy and we still have close contact. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. I hope one day things work out, or at very least you find peace with it.

    • I’m sorry to hear that your brother lives pretty much on the other side of the world, but I am happy to hear that you two still manage to have close contact. I think for now I will be hopeful that my brother and I will be reunited again. Thank you for your comment.

  5. This is so powerful. Its not much but, I can send you peace and love. It is never too late to “turn the other cheek” and that is the real beauty of what you write here. Whether or not you pray as I do, I will carry the thought of your brother with me whether he is here or in heaven and hope that he also has found peace in his life. Thank you for bearing yourself so honestly. It is such an honor to be with someone when they are naked like this. Thank you.

    • Peace and love is more than enough. I really appreciate all the positiveness in your comment. Thank you for your prays and thoughts. I am honored that you took the time to read my post and comment. So thank you. I really mean it 🙂

  6. You’ve posted a powerful telling of yourself, which took a lot of courage to do. I’ve had some lessons in life, but nothing near of what you’ve experienced here. However, one thing I’ve learned, is that a person has to take responsibility for himself, which you did, and sorry to say, your brother didn’t. You did need to shield yourself from his behavior, otherwise, you may have tagged along on one of his escapades and been addicted on drugs as well. That being said, hopefully one day maybe he’ll show up or call, all clean & sober, ready to be the brother you so fondly remember.

    • To be honest, I just wrote and didn’t expect my telling of my brothers story to be courageous, thank you. I never saw the other side of my actions, but it makes sense to me now. I may have gone through the wrong path and wouldn’t have known it. Thank you. I wish that he would show up some day as well.

  7. It’s clear that you have forgiven him for what he did, maybe it’s time you should do it for yourself too. You can be sure that noone can really help or change anyone unless that person asks for it. So please dont blame yourself anymore about your brother’s choices in life. I do hope one day you find the chance to tell how you feel to your brother too face to face.

    • Yes, it took many years for me to forgive him and now I’m on the path to forgive myself for how I reacted back then. I was a teenager and now that I’m more mature I can start looking at things from a different perspective. I hope I would see him again too.

  8. Such a heartfelt post.
    There was nothing you could have done. Although you might always wonder…”if only”…”What if”…Not one thing YOU could do to change the course of the path your brother chose.
    Drugs are monsters that take over peoples minds. In the end only the addiction speaks. It’s so very sad.

  9. That kind of regret can eat away at you. While understandably no one can know for sure, if he’s as cool as you described, he would want you to forgive yourself. If he is no longer on this earth, I’m sure blogs can be read in heaven.

    • I think he is still cool. He just needed help. I think he would want to forgive myself too. I think I’m on the path to doing that now. Thank you for your comment.

  10. Adrian says:

    Hey Eddy! Thank you for liking my blog. I can relate to many of the things you wrote about in this post. My younger brother used to be addicted to meth and my family had many scary moments like the ones you described. I wish you and your family the best and I hope that your brother is safe somewhere. I’m from Michoacan, Mexico and on a vacation trip there, one of my older brother’s got kidnapped by a gang. Thankfully, they just stole all the money he had and let him go without asking for ransom. Email me sometime. I think your blog is awesome!

    • No problem. I think your blog is awesome as well. I’m sorry to hear about your younger brothers meth addiction. I read your post about it and it really touches home. I heard some parts of Mexico are dangerous and I’m sorry that your brother got kidnapped, but glad he returned to your family safely. Sure what’s your email? Mine is: eddybcruz@yahoo.com

  11. andygeorge73 says:

    Well, first of all let me say that I am now a mess after reading this… Secondly it sounds to me that you’re blaming yourself for what may or may not have happened to him and you can’t do that. It wasn’t your fault. It seems obvious to me that you were, maybe, a little afraid of him when he was having his (for lack of a better word) break down. This is normal… I’ve been in a similar position with my brothers and sisters (me being the one having the break down.) It’s a hard situation to cope with and my heart goes out to you… In short, don’t blame yourself… blame the drugs that, more than likely, made him that way.

    Andy 😉

    • Sorry for the late reply. I am really glad my story evoked any type of emotions for you. Yes, I blamed myself for a long time and it isn’t until now, getting feedback and support from other bloggers, that I am now looking at this situation a lot differently. You’re right, fear played a major role in how I behaved. I’m sorry to hear that you were in a similar position. The last thing I want is for others to go through this. Thank you for your comment and I”m really happy that my story at least made a small impression.

      Eddy 🙂

      • andygeorge73 says:

        Aw Eddy, I hope you’re doing better now and not blaming yourself too much… no matter where you brother is, I’m sure he wouldn’t want you to do that 😉

  12. Thank you for posting this. I have 2to older sisters that I usually avoid. When they call they want something (usually money) and I have gotten to the point that they have taken too much of a toll in my life. Sometimes you need to protect yourself, even from family. At the time your brother was not well you were a kid. You weren’t educated about warning signs or how to help or who to call. Hopefully your brother resurfaces alive and doing well. If he is no longer alive remember in your sadness that his pain is gone. Sometimes all you can do is hope for the best.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your sisters taking a toll on your life when they call for money. I hope things get better. Yes, I am now learning that perhaps I stopped talking to him in order to protect myself from becoming like him. Who knows. Learning about ways I could have helped during that time would have been useful. Thank you for your positive comment and I am now hoping for the best.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my post and to comment. I am now in a better place because of the positive messages I get from bloggers like you. Take care.

      Eddy

  13. Eddy, I don’t know where you’ve come from or where you are headed. I don’t know the hurts of your past, but I pray that you learn of your brother, and that you continue to heal as you start to forgive yourself. You love your brother, and that’s why it hurts so much. You forgive him for what he did; don’t you think that he has done the same for you? I think forgiveness came a long time ago.

    • Thank you so much for your prayers. I am now healing from what happened between him and I through talking about my story with other bloggers. Listening helps in the healing process. I have a feeling now that he had forgiven me a long time before I had forgiven him. Thank you for the positive message.

  14. Wow…I can see that period of your life was extremely difficult for you, and you didn’t quite escape without some scars. I can sympathize on the silence aspect, as I did that to my father after my parents divorced (my mother blamed him for everything and I believed it), and I am doing it now with a younger sister (she does not use drugs; instead, she uses people). *hugs* While I could never know what you are going through, I am sorry to hear you had a rough time with your brother, and I hope that you can find closure at some point (while it is trite and clichéd to say that, I can’t quite think of a better way).

    Thank you so much for sharing this sensitive and intensely personal memory with your fellow bloggers. *hugs*

    • Yes, that period of my life was difficult indeed. I have some emotional scars. I’m sorry to hear about the situation with your father and your younger sister. I hope you are able to patch things up with your sister. I’m sure talking about what you both feel will help. I am now finding closure through analyzing the situation and sharing my story with other people. Thank you for your comment and thanks for the hugs.

      • Thank you for your kind thoughts regarding the situation with my sister, but I fear it will never be patched up. One, my sister will need to change her behavior before I consider resuming our sibling relationship, and two, she’s the type of person who’s stubborn to the worst degree (personal disclosure: I am just as stubborn). She refuses to admit she’s the problem, and so continues to use people. *shrugs* Not having a relationship with her is actually the healthiest option, so I feel I’m doing myself a favor.

        I have no idea if that is the same situation you have with your brother, but keep in mind that silence (and distance!) may be the best thing to keep your sanity. *hugs*

  15. N says:

    Hey Eddy,
    Thank you for having and showing the courage to face this situation then write about it. Not sure what I can add to others’ comments but to say I’m praying for you and your brother(s), and it’s always worth it to have hope things get better. Goodness and peace to you my friend!

  16. Eddy,
    The article about your brother was such a wonderful piece that I shared your link on my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar ) A lot of things conspired to put distance between you and your brother. It is okay to have some regret (don’t we all have regrets?), but don’t allow regret the upper hand in your life. Learn from what happened, and become the person you were meant to be.
    Aya

    • Feel free to share my story with who ever you want. I had a hard time regretting my decision to stop talking to my brother, but now I am understanding that doing so caused me more pain. I am now learning to let go of that regret and that is all part of the healing process. Thank you for your comment and for sharing my story on your Facebook page.

  17. I believe you did the best thing you could think of then. You never know what could have happened. I cut ties with my Biological parents and Biological grandparents because it was dangerous for my sisters and me. Life throws things at you and takes you on a twisting, curving ride. Sometimes leading you were you want or making you change completely. Keep hope alive. I wish you the best of luck at being reunited.

  18. Paddy Noble says:

    Gosh friend you really have drawn us into your life. Reading your story about your brother raises a lot about my own family and issues with drugs too. To you it was your brother and to me it was my sister. My sister lives at home with my mother but she is not the same person I knew when I was little. The effects of drugs has changed her but the sad thing is that she doesn’t know it. In the case with your brother much of what he suffered because of drugs was true. They suffer alot of paranoia and start to think that people are going to attack them. They also don’t take care of themselves and thats why they start deteriorate.

    I’ve seen this happen many times. It normally starts off with small drugs Marijuana and then it goes up to higher drugs and the paranoia sets it. It happened to my cousin too who I thought would never be affected by this. But he has changed too. That is why I don’t tolerate drug dealers or people who think it is cool because I have seen it destroy entire families.

    I hope friend, that your family finds your brother. Maybe you should consider doing a shrine for your brother too. One of the things about being gay is the amount of guilt we put on ourselves and the stress, depression and anxiety that comes with it. So remember that love will always save the day. Renew your love for your brother, and maybe your quest to seeking some changes in your life might come from the unexpected events in your life. Putting yourself on the journey to looking for your brother.

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