motheralice

thoughts randlomly dropped


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It’s all just an experiment, isn’t it?

All my life is circular, I think.  I look at situations and think ‘I’ve been here before, almost’.  My massage instructor suggested that time is circular as well as linear- sort of a spiral stretched out on a line.  That makes absolute sense to me.  Like I have to check the lessons I’ve learned, then go back and check what else can be gleaned from the situation (or a similar one).  Maybe check back once or twice over the course of 10 or so years, in case I’ve missed anything.  I was looking at old pictures a bit today.  They’re from when my brother was 4 or 5 and I had just got a camera so I was taking pictures of everything (remember that?  The magick of point and shoot and capture that fuzzy moment forever?)  He was playing in our little pool on the concrete driveway, grinning.  In others he’s looking furious- these are group shots of all of us at Graceland, my graduation, other family group shots.  Always standing apart, or glowering, or both.  My little brother.

 

He’s in jail at this moment.  Clean and sober, not by choice but by circumstance.  He writes to me:  ‘Sissy, I can think so clearly now without the drugs in my body.’  ‘Sis, I can’t believe I got so bad.  I’m scared to get out.  How will I live?’

 

My brother is a heroin addict.  So is my sister.

 

I tell people this regularly.  Not to gain sympathy or notoriety or anything else, but because this needs discussion.  It needs to be heard and spoken and acknowledged.  People need to understand that even if you have all your shit together it doesn’t mean you can’t be affected by heroin.  Or cocaine (that was my birth mother).  Or prescription drugs (my aunt).  Or alcoholism (the list is too long).  The thing is, I’m the only sibling who learned anything from having an addict raise us.  I’m apparently the only one who got lucky enough to break the traditions.  And it was luck, make no mistake.  I was well on my way to pickling myself while I went tripping every weekend when one night I just…. didn’t want it.

 

Luck.  Or maybe the Universe tapping my soul?  Maybe it was my soul’s plan to be the sober support person this time around?  I’d like to offer you all the suggestion that being the clean, clear-sighted one is plenty frustrating.  I get to watch my family go down in flames, offering helpful suggestions the whole time.  I love my family, and I can’t fix them.

 

I’ve come to terms with all this (most days).  What I still struggle with is this:  the birth mother?  That we all share?  Saw it all coming down.  Allowed them to shoot up in her home.  And did nothing.  Nothing.  NOTHING.  I don’t even have words for how this makes me feel.  Fury.  Heartbreak.  Tired.  Disappointed.  Sad.  Is there a single word to convey all that and everything else I have trouble naming?  I haven’t spoken with her in something like 7 years, since she told me to get out of her life (I was ever the obedient one).  Funny though, we only live 3 blocks apart.  She could have sent a message by carrier pigeon or neighbour or in the everloving POST for chrissakes letting me know what was going on.  How does a mother just sit back and watch her youngest children destroy themselves and their lives?

 

Nevermind.  It’s a rhetorical question.  I know the answer (in this case).  It’s because she has her own demons.  Because she’s lost too.  And I can’t help her either.  So I stay away.  Protect my tiny family.  Try to model healthy behaviour for Monkey (who will be driving soon).  Try to teach him to be strong and safe and sensible before he heads out into the world on his own.  Try to offer good advice to my brother in our weekly letters.  I tell him I love him in each one.  I try to remind him that he is more than his addiction and mistakes.  That he can plan to do better and follow through.  That he can be a better father to his kids.  That he has to take care of himself.

 

All these things I’ve told myself in the past, at other moments.  All this ground that I’ve almost already covered.

 

Life is a spiral, stretching forward and back.  Allowing us to touch multiple moments in time with one hand.  Sometimes it’s just so damn hard.

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Ripples in the pond

It’s been a busy, long season.

I’m having coffee on the patio with Bear this lovely morning and reveling in the emptiness of today’s schedule. At some point there will be grocery shopping, but otherwise I’m free, and on break from classes for another week. Full on relaxation is happening today.

Having been in classes to become a licensed massage therapist for almost a year (!) I can safely say I’m looking forward to having my time become my own again as much as I look forward to being certified. Possibly more. Don’t get me wrong, the classes are great, and I’m learning a ton- but I am about fed up with replacing my entire life with studying. My classmates are (mostly) lovely. There are one or two folks I don’t connect with, and I get outright annoyed at a few sometimes, but in the main they’re a good bunch of people whom I’m very pleased to know. I couldn’t ask for better instructors- they’ve both shown themselves to be exceedingly patient and kind with our various learning curves. I’m quite grateful to my Hula sister for pointing my way there.

….

My brother called me late last night- his ringtone is ‘man of constant sorrow‘ for a reason. He and his girlfriend are addicted to heroin (discovered that about 6 months ago), they have a baby, and he recently quit his job of 13 years (hasn’t gotten a new one yet). They were evicted from their apartment a couple months ago, so they moved in with a friend. There is so much more back story here it would take a week to write it all…. Anyway, his call last evening was to ask if they could stay the night with us.

I said no.

I felt like an asshole, but I still said no.

I know many people would look at that information and say ‘ how could you leave your family hanging in the wind like that? They have a baby!’ My answer is this: I have a child as well, and my job is to put his well-being and the well-being of my immediate family first. Monkey is a teenager now, and while we have had many discussions about drugs and healthy behaviour, and making healthy life choices, my actions speak louder than my words. How can I expect him to make difficult choices, even if they are right and healthy, if I won’t show him how? Bringing my brother and his family into our home to stay -even for a night (which we all know turns into a weekend, which turns into a month, world without end amen)- would not be healthy for my family on any level. So I said no.

And I feel like an asshole.

I’m considering building a shed on our property, so that when people ask if they can crash I can point to the shed and say- there’s nothing in there, it’s yours for the night. I thought about loaning* my brother the tent for the night, but that’s like feeding the local strays**, which is always a bad idea as well. I feel bad for the baby, but I don’t know what else to suggest or do.

*read: giving
** yes, I know this analogy in and of itself makes me a terrible person.

Every time I’ve offered advice or help that isn’t money or otherwise tangible I’m met with large quantities of agreement, a lot of head bobbing, and epic inaction.
I’ve offered to help him get to NA meetings, suggested avenues for getting assistance for housing and getting on his feet, offered to help hook him up with counsellors I know to help him sort out his anger issues- and nothing ever comes of it. He doesn’t want help, he wants someone else to take care of him. He’s 30 years old and been saying he is “a grown-ass man***” since he turned 18. I’m just expecting him to start taking a little responsibility.

*** if I never hear this fucking phrase again it will be too soon.

Meanwhile, here at the pond, the ripples from last nights disturbance are beginning to smooth out. I remind myself that I’m not really a bad person. Bear and I discuss the facts and look at the situation from various angles to ensure we haven’t missed anything. Monkey is glad not to have to share his space and deal with all the drama his uncle brings, which is really sad. I can’t fix my brother, I can’t fix his life. All I can do is reassure him that I do love him, even though he can’t stay with us.