Feeling Like An Only Child – Growing Up Without My Brother


We were never close, my brother and me. He is 5 years older than I am and while we got along fine as young kids, it was when he started using drugs that we truly grew a part. I didn’t know it at the time though…that he had started experimenting with marijuana. I would’ve been only eight years old then. Nevertheless, from as early as I can remember, I felt like an only child.

Don’t get me wrong, being an only child is of course not a bad thing at all. But when you know you have a sibling, who for some unknown reason is never around, sometimes it can make you heavily question things. I would see the relationship that some of my friends had with their brothers and sisters and deeply envy their closeness. But this feeling didn’t come until I was a little older and in college.

Before I started questioning where my brother was and what he was doing I was pretty content with our family dynamic. I was (and still am) close to my parents, who were extremely supportive of my desire to work with horses and be involved with the school’s ski club, and would spend a lot of time with my school friends. Also, as my parents caught wind of my brother’s desire to “do his own thing,” well before they realized he had an addiction problem, they did a great job of keeping any concerns they had about my brother separate from their time with me. So, for all I knew things were fine.

There was only one specific instance that I remember a verbal fight happening between my father and brother. I remember standing in the dining room – just off of the kitchen, where they were arguing – holding a blanket or maybe it was a stuffed animal. I was standing there in my pajamas. The room I was in was dark so I don’t think they saw me standing there. I kept close to a corner wall and peaked around a couple of times. I didn’t know what they were arguing about but it was loud, tense, and terrifying. I think I was 11 or 12 years old.

Fast forward about four years later and I’m holding my brother’s newborn son. My brother was not there when I held his baby for the first time.