Saturday, April 14, 2007
I saw this picture at Michael Yons site; and it game me a chill.
See, that picture, that looks EXACTLY like my brother at 18. When I say exactly, I mean that if I took his picture (I don't have one of him older than 13) and put it up next to this one, you'd think they were the same person.
Now I don't want to project my brother onto this soldier or vice versa; it's just that the resemblance has really effected me right at this moment.
Not that I would wish life in a war zone on anyone; but his life would have been so much better if had had made a choice to be a soldier, instead of a drug abuser, and a drug dealer.
Now, we don't get along... that's an understatement. The man my brother has become is someone I can't stand, can't be near, and can't have in my life. I can't tell you how much he has stolen from me, and from my mother. I can't tell you the trouble he has caused. He burned my house down on my 19th birthday. He nearly made me kill him two years ago.
...But he's my brother, and I'll always love him.
Next Thursday will be my little brothers 28th birthday, and it's likely to be his last.
A few months ago my brother was diagnosed with an aggressive malignancy in his stomach lining. At the time it was the size of a golf ball, and growing rapidly.
My brother has refused treatment for his cancer.
As of a couple weeks ago, the mass is now baseball sized. He's unable to eat solid food without vomiting, he's vomiting up blood... but of course he's self medicating with illegal prescription drugs, along with certain "recreational pharmaceuticals". He's unlikely to survive more than a few more months.
Apparently he's decided that he wants to die, on his terms, and as high as he can possibly get.
The thing that gets me the most about that pic though, is the eyes. That kid has the stare.
My brother has never been a soldier, never been at war.. up until he started dealing drugs seriously had only seen real severe violence once (when we were kids I was in a fight where to kids died. My brother was there).... But he's had the stare since he was about 13.
He's been angry since he was born, and he's never been able to control it, focus it, or work it out. He has no interest in anything but baseball, and trying to drown his anger and rage and bitterness by getting as high as possible.
...But he didn't have to die. His prognosis was good; his cancer was operable, and with chemo would not have spread. It would have meant some debilitation and pain, and nausea and all the other things that go with cancer treatment.
But he didn't want to. He's chosen to die instead. To some extent I can say to myself, well, he's seen my mothers lingering illness... always declining, but always hanging on, just barely; and he didn't want that...
... But... it's in the eyes you see...
...he doesn't really want to live, and he hasn't for a long time. The cancer hasn't changed that, it's only provided the means.