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There comes a time in life when you sit back and wonder, “is it worth it?” I’m not talking about your life, no, I’m talking about the life of someone you love, and the decisions you have to make with regard for their life.
Take my family for instance. We were always a very close knit family, loving and supporting one another through the good times and the bad. Lately, however, things have taken such a drastic fall that you ever wonder if risking your sanity to care for them is worth it.
My little brother is not yet 25-years-old. Over Thanksgiving break, he logs into my phone to get on his Facebook and doesn’t log out correctly. So, the snooping bigger bit*h sister that I am, I look. What I find is that my brother has tumbled into a world that we all feared he was in, and we don’t know how to get him out. We all wonder if he is too far gone. Do we continue to reach out to help him despite his deep resistance to us? Do we ask ourselves if it is worth it to possibly ruin his life as long as we save it?
When you are being fought tooth and nail when your heart tells you to do what you feel is right, but a big piece of your life tells you to “let it be”... Is this the last time I will talk to my brother alive?
These are the questions I ponder at night, when rage grips me, when I think of going straight to the source of his pain and our pain, and ripping them to shreds. I would do it too, but... “is it worth it?” I want to watch them all crumble, fall to their knees with regret but at the end of the day, his enablers care about their dimes, their highs, and no one and nothing else.
I recently moved across country, and the ever repeating story in my head is that I will go home one day for my father's funeral and a man will greet me with my father's eyes, and the same heartbreak in those eyes that my father looked upon his drug addicted son with. How could I look that man in the eyes and hug him and tell him that it will be okay? Part of me is so angry even thinking of a day that will come when I tell my brother that he made so many mistakes and he will look back at me and say “I know.” Will it be too late?
My father was a strict man. Growing up, even I was not allowed to go to my friends' houses, and it was his crazy way of doing things that I learned that my father did it all for ME. My little brother, however, sees himself only as a disappointment, and when he messes up, he doesn’t see it as something bad, but something that is expected of him. In my brother's eyes, my dad's strict ways are because he was hated, and he, in turn, hates my father. Any therapist could easily point the finger at my father for his “fathering,” but at the end of the day, my brother is a man now (though to me a child still), who needs to make his own RIGHT choices.
At 30-years-old, I have seen far more than most, I have ran into people who were the “boy next door” type, and after 15 years of not being home or seeing that person, you barely recognize them. They too, have been riddled with drugs. Who is to say how long they have been this way, or how long it will continue. Only time will tell.
The sad reality of the fact is that when we want to turn our backs on those we love because we can’t handle it anymore, because the toxicity is so great, we ARE doing ourselves a favor. When your loved one won’t listen to reason, listen to someone who has been there, threatens family members for nothing other than being concerned and angry too, you have the right to quit. You don’t have to quit loving them, but quit allowing them into your life to taint everything you believe in. Your loved one has to make the decision to do better and to be better. Only then should you allow them to have a space in your life.
I wrestle with myself at times saying “should I have left for the military?” or “if I stayed, would he still be the same?” I often times have to shut down this train of thought because I need to remember that I am not his lifetime babysitter. We all must leave the nest at one point in our lives as independent people. I am not his mother and he is not my son. He is my brother, and while I may care for him, I don’t need to take care of him.
Being from a close knit family, as I have mentioned before, now means that we stay close in our hearts when the mind knows that we cannot idle close by. We do have to guard ourselves and our families from heartbreak that may come. My brother is worth every ounce of my love, but not worth every ounce of my sanity.