life lessons

“You have a collect call from…”

I can remember it like it was yesterday, receiving the calls collect from prison. Hearing my brother say “ro..ddy..” “to accept the charges press 1 now. Etc.

Many times I hung up the minute I heard “correctional institution”. If I could take those calls back today I would in a heart beat.

I tried to give him tough love, I tried to protect myself. I felt it was necessary for me to keep myself away from him so I did not have to feel pain anymore. Every time I saw him outside of prison or spoke to him it was hard on me. Maybe I was being selfish? Maybe I was right. All I know is when I got the call from my dad letting me know my brother was dead. All I wanted to hear was his voice again.

I kept thinking, no, he’s going to call back. I kept hoping for that “unknown” caller screen to pop up. But nothing. He really was gone.

He begged me to go see him in prison. I drove passed the prison every day on my way to college. I looked at it and thought how odd it was he was in here. Now when I drove to school I thought, why did I never stop?

It haunted me. I thought, I gave him though love thinking it would save him like so many people talked about. Instead he was gone and I had to live knowing I didn’t spend his last years trying.

I didn’t want to see him that way, remember him like that. Was I doing that for him? Or for me? Was I selfish? I ripped away one of the most important relationships he could’ve had, his blood sibling.

For years I buried my pain. I had to be strong for my mom and my brother. I saw them hurting and I numbed myself. I had to show them someone was stable and it would be okay. I buried it so much I stopped learning to deal with it.

I chose relationships with men who reminded me of my brother, I tried to make up for where I went wrong and I tried to give them unconditional love, never gave up, never pushed them away. I just tried to show them they were special. Like I wished I had for my brother. In return it back fired on me.

I opened my heart to people who hurt me. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Until one day, I realized… I had to let go. I had to let go of what I was resenting inside, so it would stop coming back into my life. I had to let go of the blame I held, and remember he was in charge of his own actions. I had to let go of the responsibility I thought I had over his life. I had to simply, let go of anything I thought of him, properly, and just fill my heart with love. My own love, his love, the universes love.

You see, it wasn’t my fault my brother passed away, nor was it wrong of my to protect myself before he passed. There was nothing I could have done differently to stop what was meant to be. His soul was needed elsewhere. He was in peace finally.

I have a whole life here in front of me currently in place I have to focus on. Holding on to the past was only bringing the past back into my life over and over. It was time to live for the now. It is time to live for today.

I’m lucky to be alive, lucky to see my niece and nephew grow. Lucky to ba around my family, have the friends I have. I’m lucky to have a great future ahead of me, whatever that may be. I will accept if the dark feelings arise, allow myself to feel them, and let them pass through. So I can continue to live for today.