Alcoholism is a Hell of a Drink
The most frustrating thing about a three hour drive with a baby and a toddler is helplessly watching your car get trashed. I’m being real about it – I know it wasn’t in pristine condition before I pulled out of my driveway, but there was unrecognizable mashed orange paste smeared into the upholstery, and June’s white cardigan, by the time I pulled into my mom’s driveway yesterday. What the hell did I throw back there to keep them quiet? Beef jerky, Cheerios, snap peas, some chocolate I found at the bottom of the middle console… Several sippy cups… I still have no idea what that orange shit was.
What are we doing here? My brother was admitted to the hospital yesterday, and not for the first time. And it wasn’t a car accident, and it wasn’t a fall, and it wasn’t acute bronchitis. He was so drunk, again, that we had to go find him unresponsive in his apartment, in a *very* unpleasant mess of his own making. Well, mom had to go find him like this. It is usually her.
This time he was suffering kidney failure, internal bleeding (and external), and his body temp was so low that the EMTs assured my folks that he would have been dead within hours, without treatment. A few HOURS. The length of a movie.
He’s been on fluids and vitamins and Atavan and who knows what else for about 30 hours now, and he is still practically incoherent.
I have a brother, and his name is Jordan. This kid, this guy, he is this blend of silly and loving and philosophical that is hard to find. He loves my kids like they are his own. He loves his family, loves finding connections in everything, people or the world at large. He’s a busybody, wanting to be on his feet all the time, chatting, even just cleaning house always seems to bring him a modicum of pleasure. He always wants to be moving. He’s also blessed; the world just wants to give him things. People like him.
He has always been in my life. My bleached out memories of scorching summer days are of him, the two of us running barefoot on hot pavement, scarring up our knees (his were perpetually scabbed, picked at, red and angry looking), eating blackberries behind the house, climbing trees, having leg wars on the living room carpeting. He would let me dress him in skirts and purses because I didn’t have a sister instead, and then he would let me race Hot Wheels with him on his tracks that never held together. Sometimes we would make our own paths out of stacks of books.
But nothing ever felt fair or even. He cried often, and was anxious almost always. Mom coddled him, not me, dad was harsh on him even when I was the one being rotten. Where as I couldn’t wait to get away, to leave, he told me recently that all he remembers wanting when we were kids was for ‘someone to tell him what to do’. I was equally surprised and NOT surprised to hear this. It made sense.
Is my role here to step in and tell him what to do? My family, we are a conglomeration of vastly different personalities. It’s hard to know if I am actually very harsh and controlling (as perhaps my mother believes) or sound of mind but too wishy-washy (as maybe my father thinks). I know I love this person, the little punk that used to be mistaken for my twin, with our white hair. And maybe regardless of whether or not I can get everyone on board, I will need to stand front and center and do what I think needs to be done here.
I may not know what I am capable of, but I’m acutely aware of what I am not capable of, and right now, that’s sitting around and watching my brother kill himself. Even if I am the bad guy.