It’s unfortunate I’ve seen so many friends and family fall into the trap. The trap is what I consider to be a fundamental breakdown of our society, and it starts with very simple morals and values that have been lost with time. It will be up to you to find inspiration within this story I’m going to tell you, because it’s a very sad story. But it’s a story that I will tell in desperate hopes to get across to you before it’s too late.
By law, he was my stepbrother. By me, he was my brother. We met at a very young age when my father dated his mother, and as time passed and that relationship didn’t go anywhere, my mother married his father. (Quite odd, I know.) Throughout our childhood, my brother and I shared a lot of the same interests. One very common ground that we had is that we wanted to be soldiers. We would play “Army” everyday, pushing our way through high grass in the woods and mimicing “military tactics” that probably aren’t used in our military. Anyways, the point is that we were best friends, brothers, and loved each other for a genuine reason- We enjoyed the same activites. As time passed, we grew apart – But that didn’t change the fact that he was my brother.
I had little to no relationship with my brother throughout middle school and high school. We spoke and saw each other, but we didn’t play army anymore. We met friends that had similar interests, interests that changed as we got older. The most common at this time was drugs. You know what they say, misery loves company. He got heavily involved in drugs and one day, that addiction became haroin. The forbidden fruit. Once I reached the age of 17-18, many people I knew were using haroin. Naturally I had to distance myself from these people- because if you’ve ever dealt with a drug addict, you know it’s very hard to help someone who doesn’t want help.
As time went by, I saw him posting Facebook statuses that I couldn’t ignore. They were deep, they were dark, and they were cries for help. I reached out to him many times, but he would not answer me. He didn’t even read the message. I knew he felt as if he had dug himself a hole so deep that he could never climb out. This wasn’t true because he was full of so much talent and potential. I continued to reach out with no response. Although I became discouraged, I didn’t give up.
One day I was at 7-11 buying a soda, and he walked in. At first glance, I didn’t even recognize him. We exchanged looks maybe two or three times, and I could tell that he was embarassed. He was skinny, dirty, had long nails and holes in his clothes. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I said his name and he realized at this point it was inevitable that he had to engage in conversation with me. I know he wanted to avoid me because it was hard for him to look in my eyes and lie to me when I knew exactly what was going on. He tried to buy a lighter and the lady in 7-11 carded him. He said he didn’t have his license on him and begged me to buy him a lighter. It was no big deal to me, it was a damn lighter. I put it with my soda and he offered to pay for me. I declined, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. We stepped outside and I looked him in his eyes again, and said the words that none of his other “friends” had the balls to say to him. “You need help”, I said. He replied and said “I know.” He gave me a quick talk about all the things he was going to do, and very quickly told me he had to go. I hugged him because I knew he needed it. I watched him hop into a sketchy car where a driver and two other passengers stared at me as they pulled off. They looked angry. Almost like me attempting to help him was going to hurt them. I stared at them back with hate in my eyes. My blood was boiling, because I knew these people were enabling him. I didn’t give a fuck what issues they had, all I knew was that they were enabling my brother. The young kid I used to play army with, sleep over with, talk about girls with – Was now a fully grown adult in one of the worst situations you could find yourself in. And I hated every single person that had anything to do with it. That was the last time I would see my brother alive.
He hung himself. He got into some trouble with the law because of drugs, and now that he was facing addiction, depression, and a possible jail sentence – He did the unthinkable. He was gone and there was no longer anything I could do about it. He was younger than me so I felt some sort of responsibility or guilt for it. I felt what any normal person would feel, I felt like I didn’t do enough. I felt great regret that I didn’t go out of my way to sustain a relationship with him throughout highschool and after. I felt a million different things. When I attended his private wake, I was the first person to see him. It seemed like he got the old “spruce up the drug addict treatment”, some half ass music, and some half ass flowers – dirt still under his nails. It made me so much angrier, but I couldn’t do anything with this anger. Whoever it was that dressed him did not even make sure that his hospital shirt was pulled up enough to cover the humungous bruise of where the rope wrapped around his neck. I kneeled next to him and said all the things I wish I had said earlier. I pulled his shirt up so his parents wouldn’t have to see that bruise. They had been through enough. I told him I loved him and I went home and cried, and cried, and cried, until it just wasn’t physically possible to shed any more tears. He was gone.
I can’t help but feel like he was set up for failure. As somebody who has contemplated suicide myself in very dark times, I knew how bad his pain had to of been to actually go through with it. I knew he made his own decision when he put that hypodermic needle in his vein, but I couldn’t help but to blame everybody. Everybody that watched him slip downhill into an abyss. His father, his “friends”, the people in the car with him, the same people that post on Facebook today about how much they miss him, when in all reality, they helped dig his grave. I had to let go of this anger and hatred in my heart. I wanted to kill whoever it was that sold him haroin, and at some point I was ready to do that, and willing to accept the consequences. Now admitting something like this is hard for me, because people are going to look at me like I’m crazy. Quite frankly, I don’t really care anymore. I didn’t hurt anyone, because I knew deep down in my heart that if I did, and I went to prison, than I also wasted my potential. All the people I could help, all the people I could touch, would never meet me or be inspired by me. I would only be known as inmate number ?. We’ll never know what that number is. Because I decided to turn a negative into a positive.
Many kids are headed down the same path as him. And although we all make our own choices, they are systematically being failed from birth. It is important to have a strong relationship with your children, regardless of what is going on in your life. I don’t care what you and your significant other are going through, I don’t care if you were cheated on, fucked over, or got your heart broken. You brought a child into this world and it is your job to set an example. He had no example other than a father that was notorious for beating his wife. When I attended his wake, I had to look into his father’s eyes, and I saw his pain. But I didn’t feel bad for him, not one bit. Not even a little. I had to bite my tongue. I had to keep my mouth shut. It wasn’t the right time to say anything and it wouldn’t bring my brother back. There is a reason why it is important to get your children away from technology and to the dinner table together. There is a reason why it’s important to spend time with your children and teach them. Instead, we have parents that are so wrapped up in themselves and what they are going through, working countless hours everyday to provide for their children, and when they get home, they’re tired. Rightfully so. So it’s easier to give your child an Xbox or an Iphone and tell them to go have fun with it, right? You have a headache. You had a stressful day. Your significant other left you for somebody else and you can’t get over it. Whatever it is, the day that these important morals and values were lost, is the day that my brother and a million kids like him slipped away. And once they’re gone mentally because you weren’t there to set a good example when they were young, their gone forever. They’ll never listen to you again. It’s over.
Now I’m not saying that this is anybody’s fault. You can do everything right in life for your children and still come up with the same results. But I will say that most of them are being failed. Their role models are mainstream “drug dealers” that don’t really deal drugs, gangsters, drug users; people that portray an image of negativity that they might not even live. And you think this is cool, right? I did. I wanted to be a gangster. I wanted to be Pablo Escobar when I was young. Luckily for me, growing up in the hip hop era, I gravitated towards a new role model. His name is J. Cole and he is the one who inspired me to write this article and do good with my life. One day he will hire me because he will see the platform I’m trying to provide for children like my brother. You may call this a delusion of grandeur, I call this a big dream. Failure is not an option. I know some how, some way I will find him through hard work and he will recognize what I’m setting out to do. My other role model I ran into was my general dentist. A doctor with a beautiful wife, children, successful dental practice, a nice home, car – But humble and down to earth. The problem is that kids will continue to look up to drug users and Pablo Escobar rather than doctors and lawyers. But this isn’t about me.
I promise that your pain, suffering, embarassment, and agony will not be in vain. I will tell your story and though most people will remember you as a drug addict that killed himself, I remember you for the great person you were. That kid that played army with me, that kid that used to skateboard with me, that kid that was failed by society and the people around him. I almost went down your path as well. But I didn’t. I know you are in Heaven looking down on us and that you love me – and in your name, I will help people avoid your fate. Within that effort, you will always be a piece of me and your legacy will never be forsaken. I will take you with me everywhere that I go. Every person I help, every person I reach out to and every person I love will be in your name. Therefore no matter how much time passes, and when the people that did drugs with you stop missing you and posting about it, your story will never die.
As sad as this is, it’s one of the most inspiring things that I’ve ever wrote. There were various ways I could have chosen to deal with this pain, and most of them were extremely unhealthy. But that isn’t what he would want. That’s not what he wants looking down on me from Heaven. To anybody reading this, when you see somebody who is down, just say something nice to them. You never know what they’re going through or how much shit they have piled on their plate. Don’t ever bitch to me about how haroin addicts get Narcan for free and your Epi-pen costs a ridiculous amount of money. Those struggling people aren’t your enemy. It’s the people at the top that engineer this shit that are your enemy. It’s sad this has to be explained. Sit your children down. Make them sit at the dinner table, take the technology out of their hands, and teach them how to grow into prosperous young men and women. Because if you don’t, you might just lose them forever.
I love you brother. Rest In Paradise.