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.