Siblings Voice: Dear Big Bro
I’ve never really fully typed this story out before or talk about this story much. I was 19 when I lost my big brother who was 23 to heroin. I honestly try to black it out of my memory. I’m from the “wonderful” town of St. Charles located in Illinois. You might have noticed that I put wonderful in quotation marks, because the town is far from that.
My brother is just one of many young lives that were taken far to soon from such a drug. My brother was quite shy throughout High school, but that all changed after graduation. He really blossomed into a very unique and deep thinking young man. Unfortunately when shedding his shy high school persona it would end up leading him to his untimely fate. Death. My brother battled addiction from heroin since he turned 19 up until his death. I remember being in high school and hearing of other overdoses, I hadn’t imagined my brother to be on it as well. He was my big brother, I truly looked up to him and was very naive about the whole situation entirely now looking back on it. I remember, (once I found out he was using) one day going through his room and finding used needles in his shoes. I confronted him about it and he told me that he was clean, and like a dumb little kid I believed him. See told you, naive. My brother was in and out of rehab multiple times but nothing worked, and I can’t possibly go through all the struggles we went through as a family.
My parents had divorced when we were younger and my dad was living in Texas so we figured we could send him to rehab down there after the failed attempts up in Illinois and since he did not know anyone it would actually work. My brother struggled down in Texas as well, and was not able to get clean, even after going through rehab. He opened up to my dad and told, at that point my dad had lost faith in the rehab process and basically put my brother on house arrest. Funny enough that worked. My brother went through withdrawals with no car, with my dad working from home this system actually worked. Everything seemed to be looking up. He was sober for six months, and within that time period he wanted to go back up north to where all his friends were and family. Understandable we concluded. While up in Illinois he started to fall back into old habits like drinking and blacking out and smoking regularly. He didn’t use though. My father warned him that he would need to be completely sober, but my brother like any young adult thought he knew more.
Now we get to the hard part… the events that led up to the night of his death. He had been seeing a girl who also was a recovering heroin addict (seems to be almost a silent epidemic) One time when they went out they got black out drunk together and that must’ve triggered her to feel like she was falling into old habits as well and she left my brother to go back with her previous boyfriend who didn’t partake in making her feel triggered. Now the last day my brother was alive my mom and him hung out all day. They had a wonderful time she always recalls. At the end of the night my mom decided to go over to her boyfriends house. When she left him they hugged and she said “I really don’t want to go I had so much fun tonight” my brother then replied with “They all say that but go anyways” my mother didn’t piece anything together or think anything of it. She left for the night and wouldn’t return till morning. I remember exactly where I was at school in Texas when I received the call. My dad was the one who called me and gave me the news. My brother who was clean from heroin for six months, had used that night and was found dead, face down on the bed in his room at my moms apartment. This phone call would forever change my world. I will forever struggle with the events that led up to and followed that day. He was my one and only sibling.
My big bro. I wrote this poem for him shortly after he had passed and I’d also like to share that. As for anyone going through or who has gone through a similar situation as this, if you’re reading this just know that your not alone.
Heroin doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t have a certain “crowd” that uses it. So if you know someone who is using or dealing with a similar situation, don’t be naive, get the facts, you could save someone’s life. Dear Frankie: You were more than you’ll ever know, A friend, a son, but most importantly my big bro. When we were younger of course we fought, And as we grew, we each got taught. Now you were led a stray And for that we all must pay. Over the years we watched you fight. And towards the end the future looked bright. I thought I had my big bro. back Little did I know a big bro. I would soon lack. I only hope your now at rest And just know I feel blessed To have been able to look up to you throughout my years. Now I write this with tears. I forgive you for everything you’ve done, And all I wish is that you would have won. I try to reason and say you escaped the pain, That the heavens have the gain. But alas it still kills me inside To say that my big bro. has died. I try not to see it in that light Because I know you’re up there all in white. I just want you to know Frankie you’ll always be my big bro.