I have been an only child all my life, but I have two brothers.
I can practically hear you asking me, “How are you and only child and have siblings?!?!” Well, I’m glad you asked.
My mom and dad never married one another. My mom has never been married, which I never saw the genius in until recently. She is fiercely independent and in turn as am I. My dad on the other hand married when I was about 3-4. My step-mom’s name is ,Holly, but we never, EVER called her my step-mom. She was simply my dad’s wife. Step-mom sounded so ugly and negative and Holly was not an ugly and negative person.
When I was ten my baby butter was born. I called him my butter for years. (And no I didn’t have a speech impediment.) He was my butter, because I was afraid to call him my brother in front of my mom and grandma. Why? I thought it would be awkward because he was my dad and step-mom’s son. And, you know, butter is MUCH less awkward. At any rate he was almost ten years to the day younger than me.
I remember holding my butter as a baby in the hospital. In a way, he kinda looked like butter, babies aren’t very defined looking humans. He was HEAVY. I immediately fell in love with him and his red hair. I went over every other weekend to my dad and Holly’s house until I was about 15. Independence set in when I had a car, I no longer stayed the night.
When I was 15 not only did I get my temps, but Holly had another baby. By this time, I was a teenager and completely over babies, they had lost there charm. I feel guilty about that too, but that’s for another story.
Fast-forward 15 years. TJ, my butter, was had ADHD and the impulsiveness that went along with it. He was smart, street-smart. Books held no interest for him like they did me. TJ like to run the streets with his friends. Our dad, which is another story entirely, is an alcoholic and an old school parent. Holly was at wits end with TJ. TJ did what he wanted and then told you about it afterwards. It was no secret that TJ smoked cigarettes and then pot.
TJ would do absolutely anything for you. Literally, I called him up one time because I needed help plowing the snow out of my mom’s driveway and he was right there.
When he was 18 he started getting in to BIG trouble with his parents. He called me up and asked if he could stay with me for a while because his mom and dad had, “kicked him out.” I of course said yes, because after all he was my butter. He stayed with me for about a week. During that week, my mom bought him clothes at the thrift store. TJ babysat my son. He even helped me work on a set for a school production of Once on this Island, which I took him to see with his girlfriend a week later. Then I sent him back to his parents. He went willingly because he worked harder for me then he did his parents and he was away from his friends.
Five days before my birthday I had this conversation with him via Facebook:
I wanna come live with u lol
The dog would be okay with having a roomate lol
Whats going on? why’s it so bad?
I’m homeless now
Some one style something thy belonged to my grandma an I’m gettin blamed for it Katie my mom is forreal throwing me out
I’m sorry, what’d they steal
My grandmas jewelry
was it one of your buddies?
Idk who did it I wasn’t me. I would never do that shit ever but I guess I’m gonna go out in applications an try an find somewhere to stay till I can get on my feet an my own place
you wouldn’t like living with me, I’m 100% NO nonsense
I’m not worried bout it ill run the streets all night if I have to
thats not good bubby
go to my moms house
Cause there not gonna let me come back
go to my moms house i’m going over there tonight
I might have to I’d I really can’t find anywhere to stay
go to my moms house i’m going over there after work tonight, Keep in mind she’s at work
If I can get over there ill be there but I gotta walk down the street to get out of the house so ill be back I. In a few
just start walking
I found out later that he lied to me about having stolen his grandma’s jewelry. He took it to a pawnshop and the pawn shop immediately dismantled the jewelry for the gold and the gems. His grandma, Holly’s mom, had just passed away not long before the rings when missing.
Secondly, when this conversation was going on I was at college and had to work that day, that’s why I told him to walk to my mom’s house. I was trying to keep him away from his “friends.” I knew he’d shack up with his friends and smoke pot.
Thirdly, we had had text conversations beyond this message. I found out that his parents told him not to bother me so he never came over. Though, I’m not entirely sure this is true.
March 31st 2014, after I got off the phone, I felt numb. I’d never felt such a horrible combination of numbness and guild in my life. And then came the tears. I believe the kids are calling it an ugly cry. I sobbed like I’ve never sobbed before. My body heaved with each breathe I struggled to draw in to my lungs. My brother, my baby butter had died of an heroine overdose. HEROINE! What the fuck! I knew he smoked pot, but heroine!
I don’t tell this tale for pity. I don’t need pity or condolences. My brother died, the heroine epidemic is ridiculous. Everyday in the news, there is another story of an overdose. Yesterday, a little boy was found with his parents in a vehicle at a local UDF, alive and well. The parents were passed out cold, OD on heroine. A woman I worked with in college, her daughter is in the grip of heroine. The daughter hasn’t seen her son in months because she chooses the drugs over her family.
This needs to STOP. I’m not using my brother’s story as a cautionary tale or a PSA. It is a battle cry. I am declaring war. There is a battle raging and something needs to be done, if my experiences can help one person, penning this is not in vain.
Here is a poem that I wrote the day after THAT call, trying to make sense of what was happening. It’s not the best and it’s emotion fueled.
My brother didn’t pass away, he died
Violently amputated from our family
A gangrene limb that now rots in a hole.
Venom made in some assholes basement
spread through his body, silently killing him
Introduced through a hole ripped in skin.
A poison that has taken countless other,
Passed away implies something peaceful
My brother died from bold face lies and