Wednesday, June 21, 2006
21 years is a long time...
It is with much joy that I write about my brother J today. I say that because there was a time not too long ago that I thought he couldn't bring joy into my life. So with that said, I'll tell you the quick version of the story.
When I was 12 my brother J left our home. He was 15 almost 16, that makes it 21 years ago this month that he left. I say he left, but the truth of the matter is he chose drugs over our family. At 15, he made a choice that changed the entire course of his life, and the lives of the rest of the family.
Can you imagine making a life altering choice at 15, well some of you can. Sometimes we don't know it is a life altering choice until years later, good or bad you can narrow something down to one choice. That day in my brother J's life. He chose to do drugs over staying in the house. Did he think it would be for the next 21 years he would sever relationships with his siblings, and his parents? No I don't think so. I don't believe he made a choice at the age of 15 to stop all contact with everyone. It was one choice that lead to other choices, in his case they weren't great choices. Then again choices make us who we are today. 9 months ago through a serious of pretty interesting circumstances, I got a chance to have dinner with my brother J. I am laughing now, but at the time I didnt' really want to have dinner with him, I was mad and angry at him for leaving that 21 years ago. I wanted him to know I was hurt, I was mad, I was angry. But I made a choice that changed both of our lives forever. I went to dinner. Simple thing really. Wouldn't think it would change the course of your life. Well it has changed my life, because I went to dinner that night, I now have a great relationship with my brother after 21 years of being apart.
I have found out things about my brother I never knew, he has a great sense of humor. He laughs just like my late Uncle Bill. He is deaf as a doornail and you need to yell to talk to him! I have found out he is an awesome cook!~ He loves spicy foods, as do I! He loves kids. He has helped to raise to boys that are now 10 years old, like his own. He has been in the boys lives (they are twins) since they were 6 months old. Even though technically he is not there dad, he treats those boys like he is, and they love him like he is there dad.
( OK I don't know where the pic of the bird came from but when I try to eradse it they all get highlighted so the bird stays!!) lol
J has some great friends. He has friends that he can count on, he has friends that he would walk through fire through, and in turn they would walk through fire for him! Although some of his friends don't make there living doing things that you and I would do, I have learned that doesn't make them less of a person. They are great people with a different source of income.
Now I am not saying that my brother and I didn't have to get past a few things... afterall I was 12 when he left. So I had a lot of pent up anger and frustration towards him and who I thought he was... but that was it, I had to look at the past as just that the past, I had to deal with it, both of us did, and then start on the now and future. I had to put aside the feelings that I had and choose to get to know who he was today. He said to me once, "How would you like to be jusdged on something you did when you were fifteen years old for the rest of your life?" So true, he is not the same person he was at 15, Thank God! yes there are consequesnces for your actions, he has paid dearly for his choices.
The one things I really admire about my brother J is that he doesn't make excuses, he did it, he made the choice to do drugs, join a bike gang, steal, what ever it is... and he owns up to what he has done. No one made him do drugs it was a choice. A choice that severed his relationship with his family for years. He has paid for that choice. The other things too, he has paid for his choices. I had to release him from what I held against him, not necessarily for him. But for me. He can go on, with out my aproval after all he did it for 21 years with out me, but for me. I had to let go of the past and crap that had happened and the things I held in my head as a 12 year old. And get to know him as the person he is today. He is a bit scarred. and a lot tattooed. But I am happy to call him my brother. I have watched him grow and change over the past 9 months. I can't wait to see what else happens in his life. He is paying for a choice that he has made in his past so he is not with us right now. But I can't wait until he is back so we can continue on our journey! He ended up moving into our home about 2 months ago - more on fun J stories later.... falling off the couch and ending up in 2 ER's well stay tuned for that one!! Got to love it.