Story of three birds



It has been a really, really long time since I’ve posted.

I am attempting to find the time to find myself again, so tonight this is my therapy.

I would like to tell you about something, and I want to write it down so it STAYS, and it will be remembered.

My brother died.

He died like a lot of brothers, and sons, and fathers, and sisters, and mothers, and wives and people we LOVE are dying.

He chose heroin that one last time.  Because he’d been doing so well, he must have thought he could get away with it. Just once more.

And so the story begins in the worst way, getting a call from my dad as I was leaving the funeral of someone else I loved. I hate to think about that phone call, and my reaction. Pounding the steering wheel as I drove and screamed and cried and screamed all the way to my parents house. Calling my sister. Walking up the driveway together. Seeing our parents. Dying inside.

And coping the only way I knew, by staying really busy, and trying not to think about whose funeral we were planning, and how we were actually going to have to admit that he was really gone.

So it was the next night, well, about 2am. I was busy working on the funeral program. Not tired, just focused on making it the best damn funeral program ever. Something that he would like, something that somehow would convey just how much he meant to us, and how special he was, and how much he will be missed.

Finally, I decide I needed to get to bed. As I’m getting my pajamas, then lingering over more photos of my brother, I talk to him silently. Why??!  Why?! I want answers, I want to be mad at him, but I can’t be. I know he didn’t mean to die. I want to know he’s ok. I just need to know, please Joe…. can you let me know you’re ok?

I’d gotten to the point of numbness eventually, exhausted and mechanically brushing my teeth, the last person awake in a silent house. By the time I was rinsing off my face, I realized there was this….noise…. it’d been going on for a while somewhere in my head. It was like when you notice the TV is still on after you’ve tuned it out for so long….

I focused in on this sound…. and realized it was a song. What the…… I was hearing the words of a Bob Marley song over and over in my head.

Don’t worry about a thing…..

’cause every little thing

gonna be alright….

Complete with background music. I wasn’t thinking this…..I was HEARING this.

Now my brother was a bit of a Bob Marley fan. He had T-Shirts, he could play those songs on the guitar, He dressed up like Bob Marley for Halloween in college.

But I never thought of these songs. I just knew what it was when I heard it. And I believed I knew why I was hearing it. It was days later we found a video of him singing this song…. those exact words.

I never even knew the name of that song until we tried to find it and play it after I told my family. Three little birds. We all have it downloaded now. We played it a lot leading up the funeral. We played it at the gravesite as our friends and family said their goodbye to my little brother. As the rest of us, the four remaining siblings, stood together and cried, and said goodbye too.

It’s a small comfort, but a comfort just the same.


Did I just buy Heroin??

I may have just spent $200 on Heroin. Or maybe cocaine, alcohol, narcotics… I’m not sure.

I didn’t want to do it. I was mad, worried, and hopeful that I was just being suspicious.

But I did it. Because I didn’t have the guts to say no.

To my brother.

Because I love him. And he went through rehab. And I want to believe he really needed the money to fix his car.

But did he really need me to western union him the money right NOW on a Saturday night?

So urgently did he call, and text. I tried to ignore it because he just got my sister and my parents to send him money for this car last week. Last week when he was also urgently calling and texting me, but thank god I was at work so could not get back to him. The problem is, his car WAS impounded, I think. That’s what he needed it for last week, to get it out of the impound lot. This week, he needs the money to pay for the parts before the mechanic will order them because my brother doesn’t have car insurance…and the guy doesn’t want to get screwed.

Well, it sounds like it COULD be legit.

And I really want to believe that he is still clean.

But as he’s telling me this story yesterday…..and sounding so believable. And so much like my little brother who I love and want to protect….I have this inner voice just screaming at me, how STUPID can you be to listen to this guy!!! This is the guy who lied to your face, EVERYONE’s face before you forced him into rehab and you ALL wanted to believe him then too!! And really, as I am listening to him complain about the mechanic, and how horrible he feels for asking for money, I hear him and it’s so hard to turn my back on him. It’s so hard to hear that voice and remember that it might sound like him, but it’s probably the drugs talking. Again.

What mechanic needs $200 on a Saturday night suddenly right NOW, causing little brother to start calling and texting me and my sister, until he got one of us to call him back, or finally answer. His desperation. Now that it’s over, I see how desperate he was. TOO desperate for just car parts… especially for a car that he doesn’t even need, he doesn’t even have a job that he needs to drive to!

I hated him and loved him as I heard his voice, the hope in it, and the shame in it. I hated myself for not being strong enough, for not knowing the “right thing” to say….the right question to ask that would allow him to admit what he’s been up to. I alternated between yelling at him and telling him I loved him. I elicited promises from him that the money was truly for his car. He gave me the name of the mechanic, the name of his shop. So it must be legit, right??? I told him NEVER to ask me for money again, I would not give it. Then I apologized. I told him if he is screwing me over I will never ever speak to him again. Then I apologized. I told him he has to pay me back, and I apologized again for being suspicious. All the while still suspicious. I hate this!! I told him I wish I could just lock him up in my basement, he laughed. I made him promise to get me documentation from the mechanic showing the cost of the parts, and receipt of my $200. Of course, he promised. I felt horrible saying these things, not wanting to hurt him, not wanting him to feel I don’t believe in him.

I did it because I was afraid that he might be telling the truth…..and how would I feel knowing I let him down if he really needed my help? But I’m an ass. Because truth or not, I don’t trust him yet. I might not ever, and I think I just bought him drugs.

After I wired the money, he must have called 5 times. It wasn’t there fast enough. Then the fraud department from Western Union called me. Weird questions. What is my relationship to this person, how old am I, what main road do I live by…. the last question I really had a hard time with. “Ma’am, did you want to send this money?” I sputtered around, “What do you mean? Do you know something I don’t?” “Are you asking if I’m being coerced??” The lady didn’t directly answer that. She kind of laughed, and asked again. “Ma’am, I just need to know if you did really want to send this money?”

“NO.” I told her, truthfully. “I really didn’t want to, but he said he needed it, so I felt like I had to.”

She said she understood.

I wish I understood. I wish I hadn’t done it.

Heroin. I want to punch you in the face.