It is very difficult to form coherent thoughts right now. I am usually quite adept at stringing a phrase but tonight, words are jumbled, unclear, conflicting. Tonight, my world is forever changed. Tonight, my brother is dead.
When we were little, my brother and I, three years apart, were frequent playmates. We were each other's only sibling and being the only game in town, we found reasonable enjoyment in each other's company. I can clearly recall sitting on the carpet in his room, his entire Matchbox car collection and toy garage between us, spending what felt like HOURS choosing which cars we wanted to play with. I'd choose one, then him, back and forth, laboring over which hot-rod or monster truck we most coveted. (I'd choose the emerald green sports car whenever possible.) Eventually, all the cars distributed, we'd generally play for about ten minutes and, quickly bored after the laborious selection procedures, go on to other pastimes.
Another frequent game of ours was "Fifi". My brother, the younger of the two of us, would act as Fifi, my French poodle, who would obediently follow me around the house, often at the end of a "leash", barking for treats and grinning sheepishly when receiving pats on the head.
This is the brother I choose to remember right now.
From the age of fifteen until today, at age thirty-six, my brother's life (or a reasonable facsimile), was dominated by alcohol and drug addiction. For the past twenty-one years, I saw only rare and fleeting glimpses of the wonderful, playful, kind soul he once was. For the past twenty-one years, I have known, far more often than not, only the monster.
In the interest of self-preservation, tonight, I choose not to focus on the cruelty he unleashed throughout the course of his addiction. I choose to put aside (but NOT forget), the barrage of insults he hurled at me, my husband and my mother, in countless instances, for many, many years. There will be plenty of time for that, whether I like it or not.
But really, the point of this rambling blog, when my head is so unclear, when my feelings are so convoluted and contradictory, is that addiction...fucking...sucks. My brother had countless opportunities for recovery. I sat in on more "family sessions", listened to more excuses, shared more emotions and pleas and angry declarations than I could possibly count. But, the fact remains, alcohol won, drugs won, addiction won and I lost, my mother lost, my brother, in oh so many ways, lost. I go on, such as I am, for whatever it's worth; questions, forever unanswered; soul, forever broken; life, forever changed.
Jeffrey Scott Feldman