Life Threatening

For 10 years I have been preparing for his death. Over time I have distanced myself from him thinking it would be easier when the heroin eventually took his life. I enjoyed him when he was sober but stayed away when he used. Now I know that I was wrong to do this.

On Tuesday I picked my daughter up from school. My son had to stay after so we went to go get a snack. My phone rang an unrecognized number, and as I answered I felt my stomach drop. The man on the other end announced himself as a doctor. My brother was in the hospital for a severe case of pneumonia and couldn’t breathe properly. They needed to put him on a ventilator. And because my father was out of town, I needed to give them consent. I asked the doctor “Is this life threatening?”

“Yes it is.”

My breath stopped. “Yes it is.” My stomach ached in pain. “Yes it is.” I pulled the car over, told my daughter I needed a moment. “Yes it is.” I got out and sobbed. “Yes it is.” Barely able to say a word in between sobs of pain and shaking beyond control, I quietly muttered into the phone “yes, do whatever you have to do to save my brother’s life.”

I didn’t know what to do. My body just stopped working. I couldn’t breathe. I could’t move. I slowly got back in my car trying not to scare my daughter but she knew. She knew it was him. We went back to school to pick up my son and quickly made our way downtown to find my brother. The ride was horrible. I have never felt so much pain or hurt. Losing him at the moment was unimaginable, yet I had been preparing for it over the past 10 years. How had this happened? I knew what heroin could do to him. I knew. I kept myself away just so I could avoid feeling this way. You know what? I was wrong. I can’t avoid feeling pain when it comes to my brother just because I keep my distance. I was wrong. I was so wrong.

I love him. I love him for who he once was. I love him as an addict. He is a part of my soul and no matter what I want him to live. Please God let him live.

If he pulls through no matter what, using or clean, I will call him everyday. I will text him everyday. I will tell him I love him no matter what. He deserves that. No matter what. 

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12 thoughts on “Life Threatening”

  1. Prayers for you & your brother, I know the pain you feel. I myself have a homeless brother addicted for years as well and would go back & fourth with talking to him and not to avoid the pain to. Finally, about a year and a half ago I decided that it is ok for me to love him and be in touch with him, but with boundries of course. I was finally able to accept him where he was at in his addiction & knew that I had no control over how he was going to continue to live his life. I decided at that point, I wanted to live my life with no regrets, when the light bulb went of in my head with that, I went down to the streets to see him, soon as he saw me he reaction was “sis, i will get outta here soon and started right away giving excuses why he was there etc…” I said its ok, he looked at me like I was crazy, I said Tom its ok seriously, I am here cause I love you and just want to see you, you don’t have to explain anything to me. I said I did bring you a change of clothing & something to eat if you are hungry. We sat and talked, not lecturing or me nagging like it use to be, I said I will be back to see you soon, so a week or two later I stopped to see him again, and just start to build a relationship of looking forward to seeing him, even though it broke my heart I saw it gave him hope. I started to see a sparkle in his eye and slowly he started to drink less and use less. I realize addiction is a disease, they are not having fun at all, I started to get to know everyone on the street that he was at and they all had a story, but they were alone and feel hopeless. Today my brother tries, he has good and bad days, today he has a couple days sober, its about progress not perfection. He is not defensive anymore, and I do not push him, they know what they need to do, it hurts no matter what as a sister, so just love your brother. I understand you have children, I do as well. I go see my brother on my own. I show him pictures, talk about positive things, I don’t dwell on the things he should have done, they know that. They last few months, he has been saying he is tired of this life and wants to get better, and is trying. I just say thats good to hear, I am here if you need me, he knows I will help with food, phone calls and support, not money. I just tell him I am proud of him for trying, and never give up hope. God has a plan for him. I hope this helps you find peace in your heart. Love from one sister to another.

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  2. I haven’t seen my brother for almost a year. My heart feels deflated and unable to love him like I used to. Thank you for this website, it helps with my heartache and helps me deal with my only brother. I’m not religious but I sincerely pray to the higher gods that your brother gets through this. *hugs*

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  3. My brother is in recovery and will always be. He is clean now and doing ok. In fact he’s doing well. But as his twin sister I have experienced guilt and pain and sadness and lonliness and all emotions under the sun during his 12 year journey. He nearly died from meningitis about 9 years ago and or never prayed so hard in all of my life. I will keep your brother in my heart and prayers, in case it helps to ease your burden as his ever loving sister. The families of addicts are often forgotten in their own addiction journeys and your story has at times got me through some of my dark days, knowing I am not alone in my emotional dealings of this dreadful affliction. Sending love, to you and your family. Joanna

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  4. I know that feeling when the phone rings. Unfortunately for me, it was a coroner. My brother’s autopsy stated he had severe coronary atherosclerosis disease. The “normal” dose of heroin was just enough to stop his heart due to the 90% blockage in his arteries. If he had been saved, I would feel the same way. I would tell the doctors to do everything they could to save his life. No matter what he chose to do with it. I too would call him everyday. Text him everyday.
    Fortunately, your brother is still alive. You did the right thing, and I hope your brother comes out of this with a new view on life. I pray for your strength in this trying and most difficult time. We are all with you and your family!!

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  5. It is with tears rolling down my face that I write this to you. I will tell you from pain that hind sight offeRd you are right.

    I pray your brother recovers from this and you have the opportunity to reach out to him daily. A call. A text. A letter.

    I lost my brother this past August when he relapsed and the pain of the separation during his addiction is what haunts me. I live with the regret of what I should have done. I should have called. Texted. Wrote.

    Ultimately we can’t force change on people suffering from addiction but I wished I had done what you wrote.

    Wishing you peace and my best to you your Brither and your family.

    Like

  6. I’ve been following your blog for years because my son has been an heroin addict for over 10 years . The day you posted that powerful image of your brother in the hospital is the same day my son got sentenced to prison for drug crimes. I was feeling so sick about his sentence because his girlfriend is due next month and he is going to miss so much ..the birth of his son , his first words, his first tooth, his first steps etc. When I saw that image it just hit me and I realized my son is exactly where he needs to be because he is still alive and he still has a chance. I also have realized true grace and unconditional love just like you have … You are so right .. So right.. My prayers and love are with you.

    Liked by 1 person

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