Finding Pain in my Brother’s Absence

by Kristin
In my first two posts I touched on what it felt like to grow up without my brother around and a specific incident that happened which I had blocked out of memory, but was a red flag that my brother had some not so good things going on in his life.
But I’m going to skip ahead now because the years between when my brother left our family home to when I found out he had been arrested and facing jail time, I was relatively content doing my own thing. Sure, it sucked feeling like an only child. But I got used to it. I was busy with sports and hanging out with friends. And other than that one incident I really wasn’t aware of the substance abuse going on in my brother’s life.
So… years go by from the time that my brother left our home, and now I’m in my second year of college. I was asked to be a part of a friend’s college video project. My role in the video was as an abused girlfriend… we had to film a scene where I was beaten by my boyfriend and then a close up of me sitting, crying, post abuse.
There were many people in the room and I couldn’t bring myself to tears. So I needed help. I asked one of my friends in the room to start talking about how close she is with her older brother. I asked her to talk about what they do, how often they talk on the phone, when they hang out in person, and so on. I remember the room getting super quiet and all I could hear was her voice…hearing about her relationship with her brother was what enabled me to start crying. She stopped abruptly when my tears starting pouring… and they didn’t stop. My mind drifted to remembering my brother… and then trying to remember him and not being able to do so. Not being able to definitively say or know who he was or what he was doing.
I didn’t know him at all. In that moment I became extremely depressed and extremely saddened to know that other brothers and sisters out there joke around with each other, talk on the phone regularly, and ask each other how they are doing. They are there for one another. I felt alone.
I was upset the rest of the day, but we got the shot we were looking for.
You know.. I’ve never shared this experience with anyone but my parents. If my brother reads this post, it will be the first time he learns about it too.