Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Family We Lose Along the Way

I was on Facebook today when a friend suggestion popped up that caught my attention. It was my little brother, Brandon. Of course I clicked on it to Facebook Stalk him and it struck me as odd, because I felt like I was looking at a strangers profile. My brother and I have never been close, even as children we fought to the point of blood, cracked ribs, and throat punches. Our values do not align at all and for this reason, we have found it incredibly difficult to have a relationship.

When we were children my mother would make us hold hands while sitting on the floor because she knew there was nothing more repulsive to the two of us than to have to touch and pretend that we loved each other. Many years ago I allowed my brother to come live with me in Baltimore when he was 18, in an attempt to get him out of the small town we grew up in and to get him away from the drugs that had been part of his life since he was 11. During this very tumultuous time is when we both decided that we did not really care if we were in each others adult life.

Even in our later 20's we would fight like we were kids still. There was one night in our mid-20's that we got into a fight and I was chasing him down the street, kicking him. This was after he punched me in the face and gave me a bloody nose. As the years passed, he started popping kids out with a couple random women and I tried really hard to get over the issues that him and I had for the sake of his children... well really, just one of his children; however, it never worked out between him and I. The fighting and arguing continued until about 2 years ago, when I threw in the towel and gave up. I no longer cared what happened to him or his life. I was exhausted, I was hurt, and I felt used. 

It makes me sad in a way because this is a person that I spent 13 years of my childhood with. We built things together, we played together, we tried to kill each other, all very bonding moments in a child's life. I don't know how we both fell so far from each other when we fell from the same tree, but he rolled in one direction and I rolled into a very different direction a world away.

I sat and looked at these pictures of him on Facebook and I barely recognize him. Life has not been kind to him. The drugs and alcohol have taken its toll on him. I see his eyes and recognize those, but that really is it. His teeth no longer resemble the straight Chicklet like teeth that he had when he was younger that brought all the girls calling, he has lost a lot of his hair, and his eyes are incredibly old and weathered.

We all get to choose the path we take in life, but I can't help being sad about the path he chose. I loved him once, and I suppose deep down inside of me I still have some love for him; however, the years of him going in and out of prison and drug abuse have calloused my heart when it comes to dealing with him. For many years now I have expected a phone call in the middle of the night saying that he is dead, but luckily it has not come so far.

In the case of my brother, I can't help but wonder about nature vs. nurture. I feel very much that my brother is a product of nature, whereas I am a product of nurture.

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