I was a smothering 5 year old second mother when my little brother Nicky was born. I changed him, fed him and almost literally smothered him to death with hugs and kisses. I was plastered to his side at any moment I could be. I was attached and enamored.
Over the years, the attachment changed but the love never did. The little brother I once knew became a stranger, but I still loved and yearned to find and reconnect with the little boy who used to sleep walk and pee in our garbage cans, allow me and my friends to dress him up as a Backstreet Boy and play with toy cars.
I feel like I've already been through all the stages of grief about 200 times in these first days since finding out my little brother passed away: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I realize nothing I've ever said to anyone in my shoes helps at all. It still hurts like hell. The emotions have crashed down hard and exploded inside me and left me with few moments of dry eyes. One of these emotions being guilt. Was I too hard on him? But no, tough love is what people need sometimes and it's because I love him so much that I ever said anything at all. I truly believe he knows that now and maybe even knew that deep down when he was still here.
When you love someone struggling with depression and addiction, you grieve twice. Once for the shining person you once knew and loved who turned into this complete stranger you still love but don't like anymore. And again if the inevitable happens and they're taken from you.
One thing you must remember is that depression and addiction are very real diseases. They are a personal living hell for those going through it. They truly don't mean to be horrible to those of us that love them. They don't feel worthy of that love and so they push and push us away until we are left with only negative emotions attached to them.
One thing you must remember is that depression and addiction are very real diseases.
But this is not our loved one. It's a demon they fight and fought every day of their lives. It's something that I, as Nicky's big sister, felt obligated to fix for him and I got frustrated with him AND myself when I couldn't. He told us countless times that we'd be better off without him and let me tell you, if he was feeling half the pain in his life that we feel from losing him, he would know without a doubt that we are not better off without him.
I can only hope that he's at peace now, in heaven playing softball with our dad. I know he is. They've both already visited me, whether anyone believes in that or not. But it doesn't help. I know this is still only the beginning of my grief that I will fight every single day until we meet again. Nicky and Daddy, please watch over all of us, comfort us and send us signs to make us laugh through the tears. Like at the beach today when that huge seagull that looked nothing like the rest of them kept being obnoxious with our trash. The look he gave me when I shooed him away was classic Nicky. Little shit that he was!
I want to honor Nicky by helping others who struggle with addiction and depression, as well as their families. That's the point he wanted to get to in life here and I can only hope to carry that out for him, with his help every step of the way from heaven.
by Marissa Meleske