A Month of Blogs Day 11 (Your Siblings)

 

As most of the time, image made with Copilot.

I only had one sibling and he was my brother. Garth was a rather selfish person from the start, and had traits of a very dishonest person, and an addict from early age.

Don't get me wrong, I loved him, but he could honestly not be trusted. There was more than one instance where he took something of min and traded it for booze from one of his friends. He also ended up bringing stuff home from came (military summer camp for the reserves) - this included actual explosives one time. You got to remember my father was a cop, and did nothing about this.

He was 16 the first time I saw him extremely drunk. He came home (after driving) and fell down the stairs. I remember how upset my parents where. I also remember them not yelling at him. There was inequity in how we where treated you see. I would have been yelled at - but they knew he was messed up inside his head, and went softly instead.

We where not very close I have to say. He kept his distance most of the time and preferred to be with his friends than with family. I remember on more than one occasion, he full on blamed Mom and Dad for "destroying his life". The fact is, he got away with a hell of a lot of stuff I'd have been punished for, and my parents where nothing but loving and supportive (mostly) toward us. He was given every chance he desired and still managed to mess his life up, then blamed it on anyone but himself.

He went into the army, and became a field engineer. This amazed me, because to be honest, he was not all that smart in my mind. In fact I think he was slightly below average. He did poorly at school and just managed to pass every time. In high school, he went to a trade school, instead of an academic school. I don't know what classes he took there, but the place had a reputation for being very lax on teaching and it was extremely easy to pass classes there. The other thing is, it's a trade school, and he did not have any skills related to the trades when he came out.

In the army, he once again was given every opportunity to advance. Instead, he drank a hell of a lot and ended up hurting his knees rather badly on a training exercise where they had to ski down a mountain. He was sent to the military hospital in Ontario for surgery. My parents flew out there to see him. I remember Dad was happy that he got to see the war museum while there.

Garth was actually offered two choices, training to work in an office, or a discharge and a low grade disability pension. He took the pension and was out of the army. Like me, he drifted from job to job. I don't know if it was for the same reasons as me, or his drinking and sticky fingers that did it. He did not communicate with us all that much.

I remember when Dad died, after the funeral, instead of being with Mom and myself (and other family), he went out drinking and came home drunk off his ass. What little respect I had left for him was lost at this point. After, he went back to Alberta and drifted some more.

Later he came back and was living with Mom and I in the trailer we lived in (we shared expenses). He talked Mom into a very large $25,000 loan. She co-signed it and when he defaulted on it, she owed it all and the interest. He also had a $2500 debt to a band he hired and never paid. Mom ended up paying them off as well. To pay it off, she had to sell the trailer, and depleted her life savings. She was left with only around $2000 in the bank after this. My brother left in the middle of the night and we lost contact with him for years.

Eventually he did mellow out a lot, and started to actually show affection toward us and his son. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic at this point in time. He had messed up his family life, lost his son and his wife. He was living in a very slummy apartment in Alberta.

We took several trips out to see him and got to know him again. When Mom was diagnosed with cancer, he was not able to come out to see her, as he had no money,  it was all going to drugs at this point. Mom died without seeing him again. He was devastated by her loss. Finally he had realized who actually loved him, but it was too late.

A number of years later he called me from a mental hospital (long term care) and we talked a now and then. He was in there for about 6 months. When he got out, he started using again and ended up dead the first night he was free. I'll never know if it was suicide, or he just went back to his usual dose and died from it, being his immunity to the drugs was lost in the 6 months he was clean.

His son had no way to contact me and it took 3 months for him to get hold of me. I have this thing where I know when loved ones are dead, the exact moment they die, I feel a shock to my system and they are strongly in my mind, and I know they are dead. I've always had this, so I knew he was gone. I looked for an obituary for weeks, but cold not find one (there was none). Finally his son found me on Facebook (I don't know what took 3 months though) and messaged me. I talked to him on the phone and he told me he had died.

For all the shit he had done to us in his life, and to his son and former wife, I still loved him. His loss was just as deep as if we had stayed close all those years. He was cremated and placed in the same plot Mom is in. I've never been out there to see him, I don't tend to visit graves at all you see. Like my parents, I'll keep thinking of him for the rest of my days. There where good times, but not may of them - I'll hold onto those memories.

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