Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I'm concerned for my little brother.

I left home when he was just turning 11. We'd been close up to that point, because I looked after him a lot. But when I left he didn't have a computer of his own and couldn't type fast and so keeping in touch by e-mail wasn't really an option, and long-distance phonecalls were expensive (and meant I'd also have to talk to my parents). A couple of years later I moved to London.

My response to the environment in which I was raised was to keep my head down and stay out of the way, to be very very good in an attempt to control things so I could stay safe. I turned up to all my classes, was courteous and pleasant most of the time, did reasonably well in school despite spending most of the time I should have been doing homework sitting by myself crying. From the outside I looked like a "good girl", if perhaps a bit clingy and needy. I wouldn't like to say how much of that was due to nature and how much was due to nurture. Eventually--years after I'd left home--the depression was too much, some people were able to convince me to get help, and I've told the rest of that story here before, in bits and pieces.

My brother's response, once I'd left home, was to get involved with a rather rowdy crowd at school. Lots of partying. Lots of alcohol, lots of illegal drugs. Theft, dealing... My brother got into trouble. My parents didn't know what had hit them, of course. But he muddled through somehow and has stayed mostly out of trouble for the last few years.

He's just split up with his fiancée and spent the summer with his parents. And now he's off to the other side of the country to try and start again. He's excited, a bit nervous but very hopeful. And he should be able to do it: he's a bright kid, and a hard worker, and good with people. He's got a good qualification and he's good at what he does.

But I'm aware of how very vulnerable he is. I remember the way my world crumbled when my first love and I split. I know how I feel about myself after extended periods of time with my parents. I'm grateful I did not have to deal with both at once.

I'm also aware of how little I know this charming young man who I abandoned to a situation I couldn't bear to stay in. He's online these days, and I'm trying to get to know him again...that's going to be slow work. I don't see what else there is for me to do about it, from the other side of the world.

Besides pray, of course.


Ernest said...


What a sad, but hopeful story. You cannot hope to control what happens to others. We have to live our lives and make our own mistakes to learn from.

Just being there, available, prepared to listen might be the best thing you can hope for.

But you are connecting - maintaining that connection, through thick or thin will be so important for you both.

I wish you well and will think of you both when I say my evening prayer.


Song in my Heart said...

Thank you, Ernest.

it's margaret said...

Song --he will be in my prayers. Is he in the States? If there is anything I can do on this side of the pond, let me know.

Song in my Heart said...

Thanks, Margaret. He's in Canada, on the east coast... don't think there's much advantage to your location over mine.