** This was originally written in March 2016 **
Last Friday, I received a call from my Grandmother telling me my brother, Jon, tried to commit suicide.
A stranger noticed Jon’s car in an isolated parking lot by the river. Upon closer inspection, the stranger noticed a tube attached to the tailpipe of the car that was extended into the back window. The car was running. He saw my brother slumped in the front seat. The stranger stayed with him until the ambulance showed up to take him to the hospital. He was unconscious but alive. I will eternally be grateful to that stranger and I wish I could thank him in person.
My brother is an addict and is mentally ill and he has been battling his demons for the majority of his life.
After his attempted suicide, Jon spent several days in ICU. He was Baker Acted and transported to a mental facility that would monitor him. A caseworker was assigned to help him and our family figure out what his options are at this point. Since Jon has no insurance, is an addict, with outstanding warrants for his arrest and is mentally ill, there really isn’t a place out there that addresses this big mess.
I know in my mind I can’t save him, but my heart, well that’s another matter. When I was younger and single, rallying to my brother’s aid was a lot easier. But now that I am older, married and have three children, it has become harder to drop everything. Sometimes, it feels so heavy to love him. I never know when the other shoe is going to drop.
It’s easy for me to have it all figured out and to know exactly what he needs to do to heal and find happiness, but I’m not an addict nor am I mentally ill. I know lecturing him does not work. I have spent way too much time trying to figure it out for him. The reality is…at the end of the day, he has got to want to do the work, nobody can do it for him.
It has been difficult to watch him sabotage his life and his relationships, the very relationships that have come to his aid time and time again. He has ripped away at the fabric of this family. He has stolen time, money, memories, health, trust with his illness, wreaking havoc on anybody in his path.
I continue to struggle between what to do and how much I can do. For now, all I can do is simply…love him.