My Favorite Brother

I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother. Not the one who entered rehab Friday (of course, I’m thinking about him, too), but my brother who died in April. Cirrhosis. Hepatitis. When we did the intervention on Friday, I kept looking at his son. I wondered if he felt angry that we hadn’t intervened with his father. I looked at his sadness, his tears, and felt so terribly guilty that I had not done this for his father. Was he thinking we didn’t care as much about his father? We didn’t love his father as much?

I remember being told that he was getting worse, that my parents had fired him from the family business hoping to spur him into action. It had been effective in the past. But this time, he’d given up. His fiancé fell and hit her head (intoxicated at my niece’s wedding), and three weeks later she went into a coma. She never regained consciousness and died two months later. Because she was still drinking, none of us thought she was good for him. And then she died, and he dealt with his grief the only way he knew how.

Why didn’t we get him help? Why didn’t we at least try to intervene? Why was this time, this brother, different?

His sons likely are asking these questions. I need to figure out the answers so I can talk with them about it. They need to know their father didn’t matter less. They need to know I didn’t love their father less.



  • You did then what you knew how to do… I have no doubt you will find the right words and that your nephews can find some healing in them.


    • Perhaps it was because the one brother died that you went as far as intervening for the other? Its a tough conversation. I am sure the words will come to you at the right time.


      • Shoo, the only reason intervention came to mind is because my therapist suggested it when I was telling her how sick he’d gotten. I was taken aback I hadn’t thought of it before. We all sat there, watching, pleading, imploring, and couldn’t get through. We felt helpless. We thought there was nothing left to do. I’m grateful we were wrong.


    • You’re right, Lynne. I didn’t think about intervention. I’d seen him go through rehab a number if times, and I guess I thought if it was that bad, he’d go again. This time was different. But I didn’t know that.


  • You learn from experience. I agree, you would have responded to brother number 1 differently if you had an experience previously that told hou what to expect. Now that you know there might be a way to save your brother, you are doing it with the second brother. I find myself thinking that way about my parents. I learned so much dealing with mom’s last illness that I will do things differently for dad. It doesn’t mean I loved mom less, just that I learned from that experience.


    • Thank you. That helps so much. In hindsight, we could have known. But there is such a stigma with alcoholism that people tend to turn a blind eye. They don’t want to see it. But now, I am learning, at great cost.


  • These are difficult times for you! Ask yourself why you are the ‘mountain’ of strength for your family? Siblings are all different, with different needs wants and desires…there’s no ‘one size/solution’ fits all.

    You seem to be at some kind of gateway…meditate on it…don’t get stuck in asking ‘why’…there is no why..only an opening and a closing.


  • I’m sorry. It’s not your fault.

    I’ve personally learned that other people have free will, and that there is little I can do to counteract that; there still is no mind control. I’ve found that all I can do is change my actions and my attitudes, as much as that completely sucks, the feeling of being so completely helpless.


  • We both are living with pain, regret, addictions. I hope you find the words and courage to reach out to your nephew. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Hugs to you.


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