I went upstairs to ask my mother a simple favor for something mundane. My stepfather was playing his piano in the other bedroom and neither one of them heard me come up the stairs. My mother jumped when I entered the room, she had been crying quietly to herself. “I hate it when he plays the piano,” she said, “it makes me sad because it has an underlying tone of melancholia. But I can’t ask him to stop because that’s all he has…” to deal with the loss of our son, is what she meant.
I have lived in my deceased brother’s room for three weeks now. At first, it tormented me to an almost unbearable point. Then, I began to focus on other things besides my brother being gone and successfully landed a position at a patent agency, which is so amazing. In fact, it was almost meant to be, but I will discuss that in another post.
Since then, I have seen my mother frustrated and angry at our broken mental health care system. My stepdad is declining into paranoia and depression from taking anti-depressants and too much anti-anxiety medication. I understand where they are coming from, but I cannot help them deal with this intense feeling of failure that they both seem to suffer from, other than just being present and mindful of the situation.
I understand why they feel the way they do, but perhaps they could also look at it from another perspective. I was “this close” (holding two fingers closely together) to dying myself after an attempted overdose in October 2013. What saved me was the goodbye note I wrote to my child on the back of her school photo. I looked at it while I was waiting to pass into oblivion and it brought me back, just like in “What Dreams May Come” (Robin Williams). I almost died back then, but I didn’t and now I am here to help them get through this. Does that mean anything to them? I think so, but it’s still difficult.
I suppose it saddens me that (sometimes) they appear more hurt about my brother being gone than they are glad that I am here. My relationship with my parents has always been bittersweet, so I didn’t really expect things to be any different, especially now. Yet, I still wish sometimes that I hadn’t been torn away from my mother twenty years ago over a load of laundry. Maybe if I had been around, things would have been different. It’s all in the past, though, so there isn’t any point in pulling out the should’ve card. It doesn’t help anything.
Since it is Christmas, I am trying very hard to focus on the good things in my life because it is so easy for me to be consumed by unhappiness if I let myself. After living with “the wrong Nick” for so many months, I really began to believe I was worthless. That was just a reinforcement from others from my past, especially my snotty, wanna-be model cousin. Maybe she’s different now, but I doubt it. People don’t really change unless they see the error of their ways.
That in itself is why my brother died. Too many people did not realize they weren’t helping him and he got lost along the way. I miss you, Nicky. No matter how much strife we suffer in this life, it is always worth it if we can find the good in something. If we only focus on the bad, there is no reason to go on anymore. I still have a reason to go on, and for that, I am blessed. Not by God, but by life.