I have had quite a lot on my mind lately, but I just haven't been able to vocalize my thoughts, or feel ready to share them ... And I still think there are some things I'm not ready to share, and I may never be. But I do have a few things I think everyone should hear. First, I have a new found understanding of many, many things. The loss of a loved one in an untimely manner will do that to you. I know everyone grieves differently, and in their own ways and on their own time, but I still believe that everyone who loses someone close to them re-evaluates every aspect of life. Some more than others, but everyone does it.
I don't think I'm an extremely critical person, but I do judge. Yes I admit it. And I also admit that I judge even before I may know or understand the whole situation or story. And most people who judge others do it in the same manner... ie: I would have _____. She shouldn't ______. If I were her I'd _______. I don't know why they _____. Because for some reason, I'm under the false impression that I know everything, and I could handle every situation the best way it should be handled with no mistakes. Funny that I think that, because most of the time, all I can see are my OWN mistakes, and my own flaws. So why would I think I'd have any better solution to people's problems when I can't even get a good handle on my own? ~ Human nature?? Maybe? I know! It's the optimist in me. I still believe I can fix everything and everyone. However, my efforts are proving me wrong in that department.
Anyway... Back to my new found understanding. This takes a lot of guts for me. See, I have to admit that I was judgemental, insincere, and hypocritical. And that's tough for anyone to admit, but I know I was wrong so I guess I'll admit it. Admission is the first step to recovery ... Right?
My brother passed away 5 weeks ago. There are no words that describe how one feels at a time like this. None. It is an emotional roller coaster that no one wants to ride, but some of us get the unfortunate experience anyway. I spent the first 24 hours trying to understand how I was supposed to react, but not reacting at all. No I was not numb. I was paused. I was ... I guess letting all the information sink in. I was trying to understand my own feelings. Then I spent the next 24 hours being tough and doing what needed to be done. Helping mom and dad, taking whatever burdens off of their shoulders that I could, keeping funeral plans moving along, pushing away tears, and making sure my brother's two little girls were OK. And after that day I lost it... I just finally let go.
My husband asked me a simple question, and everything came rolling out. My sorrow, my guilt, my anger, my questions, my fears... everything. I had a good cry. I had a sense of understanding, and yet I was still confused. My husband tried to comfort me, as he too knows what it's like to lose a loved one, and watch your parents suffer thru that emotional trauma. He's done the questioning of himself, he's suffered the pain, he's seen the aftermath of sorrow, guilt and anger when he lost his baby sister just short of her 2nd birthday. It's something you deal with. It's something you move past, but it is not something you forget. It is not something that gets easier, it's just something you learn from and adapt to. But you always hurt, and you always question.
Everyone has and will continue to tell me that I can't feel guilty, or question my own actions and behaviors. Go ahead, tell me that all you want ... It won't change a thing. As of today, I believe that I will always feel some guilt, and I will always question myself. I may come to terms with one or more things as time goes on, but I know that I made mistakes throughout my relationship with my brother, and for that I have a right to feel guilty. I have a right, and need, to remember those mistakes, and to make them right in every other relationship I have with my loved ones. It was a tough lesson to learn, but obviously one I needed to learn. I am humbled beyond comprehension. This guilt is a way of reminding me that I can, and should do better.
I know my brother knows that I love him. I know that because I believe that since his passing, he has access to my hearts desires and knows how and what I am feeling. But he didn't know it while he was here. Not on this earth, with me.
While he was here, I saw his addictions. I saw his flaws. I saw very few of his talents or contributions, but they were there. I was just blinded by the negative, and I allowed it to create a distance between us. I was judgemental, insincere, and hypocritical. I was wrong. I was mad at my parents for allowing him to continue on the road of destruction, I was mad at my brother for not seeing what it was doing to my parents, and I'm now mad at myself for not doing anything about it. I'm mad because I bitched and complained about his actions, and about my mom and dad's actions, and I never did anything except stand back and judge.
I know my brother was sad. I know he had issues. I know he needed love and acceptance, and I know I didn't give it to him. I know and understand why my mom and dad did what they did. I know how the protective instinct grabs a hold of you, and how you'd do or say anything to defend your son/brother. I know all of this now... now that he is gone. I know he had his own demons, but once you lose someone, you begin to reflect on everything you'll miss about them. And guess what? Their flaws are not the things you think about. You think of their smile, their laughter, their talents, their accomplishments, and their love. And that's all you want others to remember as well.
That's where this protective instinct kicks in. And until that moment, I didn't understand my parents thoughts and/or actions. But I do now. I still don't think they were right, and I would like to believe I would have handled things differently, but I can't say for sure that I really would have. Because they were letting their hearts and emotions guide them. When maybe a little less emotion and a little more tough love might have made things better... But there's that questioning. Who knows? And I bet my parents are even questioning themselves. I'm sure they are. But they will never know how or what would have changed things. No one will ever know. We think that a different course of action may have changed the outcome, but it's not guaranteed. All we can do is learn and move forward.
One thing I do know... is that T.R should have known that I truly loved him. He should have known that before he left this earth. For that I will forever feel guilt.