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Burdened by Love

It had been over a week since anyone had heard from my brother. This is unusual, something in my spirit told me something had happened. I began worrying that he’d been assaulted or was sick or maybe was in solitary again.

It took some clever prodding on the part of my family to find out that he was locked down in solitary confinement, this time for a year.

This time he had been the one doing the assaulting.

The prison now forces the anti psychotic medicine for his schizophrenia into his blood stream. To which I say, about time. He is rail thin again, which happens when he isn’t taking his medication, is visibly not well.

His life has been nothing but a roller coaster, which goes along these ups and downs when he’s off and on his medication. When he is on the medication it’s like he’s my ‘old’ brother again. Off, well, you can imagine — since he’s in prison then we all know what he is capable of when he isn’t being medicated.

My heart breaks by this heavy burden of being this man’s sister.

It breaks for him. This life isn’t what he was meant to have. And the life taken because of him should still be here enjoying every bit of the life he had and could have had.

I write him, send pictures, pray and care — but somehow it doesn’t feel like enough.

I’m living.

I have three great kids that I get to love each day. I have a wonderful husband to lean on. I have my freedom, my mental health…

He’s got none of that.

Sure, this isn’t a socially acceptable burden I carry.

Most people will read my posts about my brother and click out wondering why I even care. They’ll say, “he’s where he belongs. he got what he deserves. the fact that he’s even allowed letters and pictures and visits is far more than he deserves.”

Rarely will anyone really understand my burden.

But those who put themselves ‘out there’ to love me through this part of my life eases the burden enough so that I can breathe.

Once upon a time I laughed with my little brother. Once upon a time we were able to pop over and see each other whenever we’d like.

Once upon a time, I was more blessed than I realized at the time.

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11 Comments

  1. Big warm hugs Nell. Your love for him makes a difference in his life. Don’t feel guilt about the blessings that you have in your life – send all of that happiness and the support it allows you to give to him like you’re doing. The happier and more fulfilled you are, the better it is for him and everyone involved. I hope you can feel this embrace.
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..How to attract your dream client or job =-.

  2. I think you do the right thing, the tough thing, in having a relationship with him. I can’t imagine how challenging it is to you. ((hugs))
    .-= Heather G´s last blog ..Done for love =-.

  3. I can’t imagine the burden you carry.
    And I won’t pretend to understand it.
    But you have my deepest sympathies… and my heart goes out to you and your brother. Always.
    .-= Corinne´s last blog ..Today =-.

  4. I won’t even pretend to know how you feel. As far as the horrible comments people have mind, they obviously don’t realize what a mental disease does to a person! Sounds like you are doing everything you can for him, and you should be commended for this.xoxo
    .-= this stupid lamb´s last blog ..Just Another Typical Day Of Madness =-.

  5. Nell – you are truly one person I know that inspires me. I know it’s not easy to share about your personal life, and you and your family have been through so much (and are still going through it). Although I don’t have any personal experience with dealing with mental illness, I do have siblings (2 sisters, 1 brother). The bottom line is you’re family. I can only imagine how hard it is, but truly believe the old adage “blood is thicker than water”. I have to believe that sticking by our family (parents, siblings, etc.) – although difficult at times – is really what being family is all about. Good luck to you with everything!
    .-= Donna´s last blog ..Our House Guest =-.

  6. I do understand so much… probably not to the depth that you understand but do know I do understand. My heart breaks for you and then I just sense the love that you have for your brother and I cannot help but smile knowing he has such a special person that WANTS to be in his life and share your life with him.

    I wish I could do so much more, but I will pray. I love you and your family!
    .-= Jen @ One Moms World´s last blog ..We are Having a Party for You Grandma =-.

  7. Hugs, Nell. I can’t imagine the pain you carry from all of this. Know that you aren’t doing anything wrong by still caring and loving. He’s your brother. That’s not a connection easily severed. And, you are a light in his life. That is a beautiful thing.
    .-= Madeline´s last blog ..Yes- I Know Im A Little Crazy =-.

  8. You have such a big heart. I believe you and I can relate to each other here…

    My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia – 15 years ago. He also served time in prison – 5 years. It could have been much worse. But honestly, even now that he is out in the world, he isn’t functional. He doesn’t have the life he wants and he doesn’t know how to get it. He tries but every time he makes any progress, his mind puts him back to where he began… it’s so hard to watch. It feels like being behind a dual mirror. He can’t hear me or see me and no matter how desperately I try, when I so it usually results in his anger – because he can’t SEE that I try to help. He doesn’t need the bars to be in his own prison.
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..Shes F O U R =-.

  9. This blog touched my heart. What an amazing woman and sister you are, God WILL bless you for your love and compassion.

  10. Oh Nell…I don’t really know what to say, or if there are any words of comfort that wouldn’t sound hollow…please just know that this post touched my heart, and that you, your brother, and your family are in my prayers.
    .-= Crystal @ Semi-Crunchy Mama´s last blog ..Where have I been =-.

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