Recently I took a trip to visit my brother, Eric. Now in the past I have written many bad things that have happened between us but what I haven’t done is written about our adult years together. If you have read those past scripts about our childhood keep in mind we were kids going through our own stuff at the time.
Eric had it rough when we were kids too. I did briefly mention that my father had hurt him. Eric told me that when he went to live with him while he was a young teenager (around 14 I think), my father was drinking a lot and would verbally and physically hurt him. At this time in our lives, my parents divorce was final and my father was going through pure hell. He lost his job at Pan Am Airlines prior to the divorce with no compensation. Had surgery on his back and was laid up for a very long time. He had literally lost everything. Even his belief in God. So again, things just happen. Right? I can’t hate my father for what has happened to him and how it changed him. If it changed him. I do believe he has always had an strong, strange personality. Did I ever tell you that my mother thought he was schizophrenic?
During the time Eric lived with him he had a trailer in another town. I remember visiting on weekends. When I did, it was decent enough. I think there was a long time when I didn’t visit, but I don’t remember. I heard stories of how he was so far off that he filled it to the brim with junk and he had a path that would take him to the bathroom from the couch. I heard that he had to crawl to get to the bathroom because he was in so much pain.
Dad has always been good at verbally hurting people. Still to this day. I would like to think my father doesn’t realize what he’s doing and maybe to some extent he doesn’t. His mind is very warped in my opinion. However, Dad didn’t physically hurt me during this time. I think a lot of it fell on Eric. I do remember as a child getting the belt and spanked for whatever reason. I believe Dad thought that was the way you raised children. I can’t even imagine what my grandparents may have done to him.
So you can see Eric didn’t know how to deal with this and the friends he hung out with certainly were abusive to their own siblings. This is what he learned. He learned to take it out on me because I was an easy target.
All of that is in the past.
I love my brother dearly with all my heart.
My brother and I lived together for a short period of time to make ends meet and help each other out. I was working in the nuclear power plant on nightshift. He had another roommate with us, his best friend, Jeff. We stayed in Dad’s trailer. Dad wanted us to buy it from him. I didn’t want to get involved in that. I do believe Eric was trying to do that. So I was paying him or Dad to stay there. I don’t recall how this worked.
I don’t know why I want to talk about this particular time. Maybe because it was the last time that Eric and I fought. Yes, that’s got to be it.
Well, I would come home in the morning and of course be exhausted from working 12 hours with a 45 minute drive both ways to work. I would crack open a beer then go to bed. Most of the time, Eric’s daughters would get up and I would give them breakfast because Eric wouldn’t wake up just yet. That didn’t bother me. He worked hard too and I was available.
I came home one evening. I remember it was dark. I must have had the night off and went somewhere. When I came home, there was a phone bill on the table. Eric told me it needed to be paid, so I looked at it. It was all long distance calls that his friend, Jeff, made. I said Jeff needs to pay this. I’m not paying for his phone calls. Eric got mad.
This was the first time since he left for the Marines (when he turned 16 or 17) that we fought. He got up, came right up to my face and started in on me. He was yelling at me like a Marine. His face turned beet red and he was very close to my face. I stood my ground. I was not going to be afraid of him. Marine or not. Brother or not. I didn’t care that he could very easily take me down and beat me to a living pulp. I wasn’t gonna take it. He yelled that I was not pulling my weight around the house. I defended and said that I’m never home! He said that I left my dishes for someone else to do. I said fine, you should’ve told me instead of letting this get out of hand. I would have taken care of it. We yelled, we screamed. It was horrible.
Finally, I left and went to my room. I sat in darkness and bawled my eyes out. I hurt so bad. I heard him come to my door, pause, then leave.
The next morning, I came out and saw him on the recliner watching TV. I said I was sorry. He said he was too. That was the end of it.
I was probably 20 or so at the time.
We haven’t fought in the last 19 years.
I would still tell him how I feel. I wouldn’t hold back if I thought he was wrong or being unfair to his kids. For instance, there was another time we were camping and he ordered his daughter to get him a beer. I stopped her. I stood between him and her and loudly told her to not do it and it was ok. She was probably around 8 or so. Eric didn’t like it, and we went back and forth. Then I said, you don’t need to boss her around to get you a beer. You could ask nicely. Besides she’s too young to be handling beer. He actually retreated and then came back and apologized because he realized he was acting like Dad. Wow. That was a revelation.
Sigh. This is all in the past. I don’t care about any of this. I’m sure there are many things I have done to him and my family that is not nice.
Now, the present day. My brother had a stroke on the 12th. His birthday was the 15th. He is 42 now. I was so torn about it. I wanted to jump in a plane right away and go to him. I knew he was surrounded by loved ones and well taken care of.
My other brother, Dominic talked to me on the phone and he was already flying to see him. He told me to wait and go next week to spread out the visits. I said ok.
I heard when Eric was in ICU that his friends and family filled the waiting room. I can see it. I was a little disturbed that they allowed so many visitors right after surgery, some not even immediate family. Mom said he had a panic look on his face when he looked at his children, wife, and her. I can only imagine. Mom thought that maybe he lost his memory. I think he was just overwhelmed.
I was told that Dominic was a rock and helped them a lot the week that he was there.
Mike offered to get my plane tickets for me. I told him my work schedule. He got me a flight that I was not happy about. I told him this. He did apologize. I believe he was trying to help. My flight only allowed me one full day to visit. Like I said, I wasn’t happy about this, but it was a good visit and I’m grateful.
Eric was doing fabulous! He started walking and could move his shoulder. He still didn’t have any movement in his hand. His walking was more of moving his hip because he couldn’t move his foot too much, but a little.
He had a roommate. His roommate also had a stroke but his was induced by a sucker punch in a bar. I felt bad for this guy. When you walk in the room he had maybe a couple pictures, cards, flowers but when you get to Eric’s part of the room it was filled to the ceiling! So many cards, so many pictures, paintings, plants, flowers, gifts, balloons. It was great!
Of course since Eric has 5 girls of his own, not including his wife and two grandchildren, his room was always occupied with visitors. He never has time to feel depressed. He is loved so much! And it serves him right, because he is a good man and I love him very much!
While I watched him get therapy, the lady performing the therapy asked about us and my brother said that we had our problems when we were young but now we would do anything for each other. That meant the world to me! I feel the same way.
He is doing really well. Everyone is amazed at how fast he is progressing. He wants to go home!
To show you what kind of guy he is, this is something I learned while I was there visiting. A coworker of his came by and made dinner for the whole family. That was a lot of food and we still had leftovers. We all sat in the visiting room. Eric’s 5 girls, wife, me, my sister, our Dad and Mom. A lot of people. This coworker, (I feel terrible I can’t remember her name) was without a doubt a lesbian. She had the buzz cut, she was young, petite, with tattoos. It was obvious. She was very sweet and soft spoken. She and my brother worked at a juvenile home. You gotta be tough to work there. She told me that the other guys that they work with tease her, but Eric sticks up for her and won’t let the other guys mess with her.
That’s my brother. A good man!