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Joey

Story ID:10583
Written by:Julie Grassley (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:In Memory
Location:Canfield Ohio United States
Year:2015
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Joey

Joey

Joey


Would you think that I was a cruel, heartless person if I told a paralyzed person to walk? If I said that they were just lazy, that they could control their legs if they wanted to.
That is what I said to my brother except he wasn’t paralyzed. He was in a state of mental anguish, he was depressed, he was inwardly struggling. He drank, he didn’t always treat others well, but like a paralyzed person can’t walk a person who is mentally tortured cannot always pull themselves out of their pain. In fact on the surface they appear to be fine, if you don’t look too closely. I didn’t look too closely at my brother. He was so clearly suffering and all I did was judge him harshly. I told him all the things he was doing wrong instead of saying, “I love you, please tell me your troubles, I am here for you”.
My brother took his own life. The feeling that I have to go back in time is so deep, so desperate. I allow my mind to have what I found out are called rescue fantasies. I envision myself seeing him and telling him that I love him, that I will fix everything. I envision making everything right. I see him healthy, sober, laughing and running with his children. I wish I would’ve told him all his amazing qualities, that I would’ve loved him enough that he felt he could tell me his troubles and not hide them from me. I wished that I would’ve been his beacon of hope, his well of compassion and a source of comfort. I was the opposite of all that. For years I wished I had millions of dollars so that I could say here is a ton of money that you can have if you stop drinking and if you go to counseling. I didn’t need a million dollars to help my brother; I needed to be kind and compassionate and to be there for him. I just told him what he was doing wrong.
Now I must return to the present. Return to all the beautiful people who are left in my life. Vowing to be a kinder person. A person who looks closely and offers help.
I hope I can encourage others to do so, look closely and listen.
I now hear the false bravado in his voice just days before. I hear his burdened, beaten down voice, his fragile, wavering tone. I hear it now Joey. I love you and I hope you are free from pain and suffering. I hope you are at peace.