Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Right Thing Isn't Always the Easy Thing

Have you ever had something that you know that you need to do, but you just don't want to do it?
I'm not talking about laundry or the dishes. We all have those days.

I mean a something that you know deep down that you have to do, and part of you wants to do it, but part of you is fearful of the outcome. The kind of something that screams 'Catch 22', yet you know it has to be.

Yeah, that's where I am at today. And I think that if I start right here, I'll be able to do what needs to be done with less pain in my heart and without a sick feeling in my stomach.

Part of me feels more than a bit guilty, because my reluctance stems not only from a lack of desire to open old wounds, but of the fear of attaching myself to the situation.
But I'm already attached to it, and I didn't go through countless hours of therapy for nothing...

The something that I have to do sounds very simple, in theory. I have to write a letter.

This letter is to a judge, on behalf of my brother. He's not asked me to do it, and I'm not going to tell him that I'm doing it, but because of my experience with the system from the 'other side', I know that there is a good chance that my letter will help. Court impact letters almost always do. That's why they are called court impact letters.
My brother is facing prison time for something that outwardly is his fault, but inwardly is due to having the world's worst parents, and a system, that both academically and judicially, has failed him time and again.

My younger brother is a learning disabled, emotionally impared and chemically embalanced drug addict. Born seven and a half weeks premature to a pair of cocaine addicts, who would later become crackheads, he was screwed from the word go.
In trouble more than out, and my mother half tried, half enabled him ( you cannot hand down firm punishment to a twelve or thitreen year old and expect it to stick when you do drugs with them. It just doesn't work ), and never once did the right thing.
Bobby ( yes, his name is Robert. My mom named him after his father / my stepfather, and clearly didn't think about the remarks her kids would eventually face ) is capable of more, but needs a lot of help to get there.

Fast forwarding nearly two decades, here stands a man who is fast approaching thirty years of age, with the intellectual capacity of a third grader at best, a criminal record a mile long and very little hope of rehabilitating should he be incarcerated, because drugs are plentiful in prison and mental health treatment is not.
The instance that has him facing the judge next week isn't even all that severe; it's that the system is tired of having him in front of the bench, and they're to the point of washing their hands.
But the court is only now seeing its failure ( because I called his newest probation officer a few weeks ago and laid it all out, and was blessed to find out that the man spent a decade working in one of the schools that Bobby attended prior to said PO's tenure, and thus, has much familiarity with kids like my brother and what sort of adults they become ), and I fear it may be too late.

Some may wonder why I didn't attempt to aid earlier. That answer is simple: because my brother still wanted to be a drug addict. He wasn't ready to change.
He's finally trying now, to better his life, and had been trying prior to the most recent arrest ( he got into an arguement with his fiancee` and her daughter called the police ). Addiction is a hard road, and he hasn't ever had the right kind of help.
I a proud beyond words of my brother, for following through thus far. He's passing his random drug tests, and after a long talk admitted that he needed help and wanted help but didn't know how to get it.
An addict's talk cheap talk, and I've heard those lines from my mother more times than I can count. Only this isn't my mother and my gut tells me that he's in it for real, and is trying his hardest.

I think that part of me feels the need to make up for where my mother failed. That somehow I'll be making atonement with my own demons if I can set this right. That if I can lay out, in simple honest truth, the how and why of the way that things are now, I'll be helping Bobby, and myself.
Stress to the court that I agree that he's a nusiance - he pesters me often several times a day, for money, food, borrowed items, to act as a referee for family disputes - but that he needs the opportunity to continue with the counseling that he is now receiving, and will not receive should he be incarcerated.

Problem is, I'm spineless. Even now, as I explain, I am holding back. A lifetime of anger and emotional distress brought on by circumstances that I could not control, locked away in my head. A door that I do not open, because I'm afraid of what it will do to me when it does, both emotionally and professionally.
No one wants to elect an emotional basketcase with a family full of crackheads and derelicts to the city commission or school board, no matter how competent or qualified they seem. And God knows I have no deisre to head back to therapy for another thousand hours or so ( though I probably should ).
This circumstances with my brother have brought my repressed issues to the surface. If there has ever been a time that the door needs to be opened, it's now. I cannot explain the situation with any sincerity, without delving into that which I would rather leave alone.

...and as though Fate were telling me something, as I was writing the last paragraph, my telephone rang. It was Bobby, phoning as he drove past my house, to give me some good natured crap for going outside without shoes on in a snowstorm, to tend to my trash ( for the record, I had shoes on, but they weren't black, so he assumed that I was stockingfooted ).
That's my kid brother. He's quite something.

I know what I need to do, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it.

Since there's no way to transport myself to the realm of the dead, and give my mother a good hard slap across the face for failing as a parent (not that it would do any good, were it possible), this is the best that I can do.
I've slowly moved towards 'normal', in spite of her and other less than savory facets of my family. If I can help my brother get there, and he can become a productive member of society to the best of his ability, then we've won. Her reign of terror will have finally ended and my mother will, at last, be laid to rest.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a letter to write.


BloomingPink said...

I don't know exactly what to say, ...I hope you have angel wings around you today to give you warmth, strength, and protection.

It takes a lot of courage to open vaults like that and I admire your strength.