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the fourteenth question

June 21, 2010

in less than twenty-four hours i will be on a plane to munich. YAY! i'm a little anxious. too many tunes in my itunes, not enough room on my ipod. so the time i would be spending right now soaking in a tub and chilling, i'm spending weeding the musical garden. not fun. NOT fun at all. i'm hot. i'm cranky. i'm starting to get that frazzled feeling. you know. the one you get when your brain starts cataloging all the things you need for the journey and the things begin jockeying for first in line to be checked off. that one.

i'd rather be soaking in some bubbles.

and, of course, i can't leave for an overseas flight with the thirteenth question heading off picky, so instead of weeding the garden, i'm sitting here typing up this crap.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be, and why? -- Dawn

I don’t remember the day or the date. I’d driven home to visit my family and friends, driven straight to my younger brother’s house to go eat with him, his wife and our mutual friends. Jon, my older brother, was there. He was a binge alcoholic and had a habit of holing up in his apartment on his binges, then camping out at our parents’ house in periods of sobriety. He’d shown up at home a few days before, after a binge. He and I weren’t that close because I hated that he drank, hated that he couldn’t recover, hated his behavior and actions when he was drunk. And though my parents and my younger brother could mask their anger and hurt and helplessness, I could not. So, on this particular evening, when I walked into Joseph’s house to meet up with my brothers, my sister-in-law and our friends, when I made the rounds to give each of them a hug and I got to Jon, I gave him the sort of hug I expected to receive, the one-armed, not-so-close kind that he normally gave. But this time, for some reason, he wrapped both arms around me and held on, just for a second. Tried to anyway. Couldn’t because I wouldn’t let him.

He died a month or so later, from acute alcohol intoxication.

I live with the regret that I couldn’t be a better sister to him. That I couldn’t hold him a little closer. And while a hug isn’t that big of a deal, in the grand scheme of things, I remember how nice it had been that he’d held me that way and the shame that I hadn’t been able to hold him.

for the thirteenth inquisition essay, go here.

4 comments :

  1. First off....packing for journeys sucks. Sucks. Bad. I support the weeding through the itunes because the perfect playlist will come in hand on your long flight and any delays that may come about.

    Secondly, having a family member struggle with alcohol is never easy. NEVER. It is draining both emotionally and physically. I'm sure your brother knew you loved him and although I don't know you I'm certain you are a great sister. They way you depict your feelings for your family shows how much you care and love them.

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  2. Oh my word what a mixture of excitement and sadness I feel after reading this. First let me say I am so excited about your trip I can't wait to get the play by play when you get back. Second reading the outcome of your family struggle makes me even more certain that mine will most likely not end well. I also wanted to say how mu h I look up to you for being brave enough to just put it out there and be so honest. You inspire me

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  3. Ah, Jenn. I feel your pain. The Engineer and I had a close high school friend die recently of acute alchohol poisoning, and went through all the "what ifs". What if we'd kept answering the phone and listened to his rambling, drunken dreams. What if we'd gone to see him, instead of waiting for inevitable cancellation on his part of all plans. It's torturous. With it being your brother, I can't imagine the pain. But I agree with what C.C said. I think he knew how much you loved him. I wish you a great Germany trip. {{{bloggie hugs}}}

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  4. That is so sad. It's hard to understand addiction when you don't have an addictive personality. I'm sorry that you lost your brother too soon.

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