short story i wrote in devon about suffering due to your familly - enjoy!
As you grow up, the concepts that scare you are usually such things as the dark, spiders or ghosts. But what if it was some thing you couldn’t escape from with just a few kind words and a night light? What if it was something that was always there; always a comfort and always a fear, something you couldn’t live with but that you couldn’t live without? What if it was your family?
From the age of 12 the sound that got my heart racing and my blood pumping was the sound of my brothers’ furious voice drifting up through the house, doors slamming, things breaking, my dad shouting and my mum crying. It was a sound that terrified me to my core because it was something I could never control but that always seem to catch me up in the middle of it. It would start with a disagreement, then a confrontation would emerge and eventually my brother would get out of hand. He’s two years older that me and stronger, so when he turned on me in his fury I was helpless.
When you eavesdrop as a child you expect to here uninteresting topics being discussed such as finances and possibly at best ideas for your next birthday or Christmas present. I would hear my parents discussing whether or not to call in outside help, to help restrain and control him. As I grew my understanding of the situations increased and I began to realize I was able to talk to him when he would listen to no one else, and for a time my brother was normal. When you hear about people who are affected by problem siblings you never fully understand what they have to live with: every time anything happens I am left with my eyes burning, my heart pounding with fear and grief and an emptiness that feels like it will never be filled threatening to engulf me.
When my brother began to get out of hand again I thought I could stop him like before, except he began to ignore me. My voice became insignificant to him, like an irritating noise in the back round that he could easily block out. I had never felt so helpless. My parents tuned to me, they had no other choice, and they needed my help. However I had lost my influential power and could do nothing, their pleading expression still haunt me: my mother silently crying and my father looking as if he would rather be in hell than endure the pain that was coursing through him. My parents could not control him, I could not control him, and I was no longer overhearing my parents’ conversation, I was part of them. I was the one they kept turning to; and my heart broke a little bit more every time they did. I would have given my very existence to stop the pain my brother was inflicting, but what good would that have done? He didn’t care what happened to me any more.
In some ways I feel as if I skipped out the part of my life when I am supposed to be carefree and wondered straight into the episode where I am holding everyone together with every fibre of my being. Where no matter how hard I try or how much I struggle, little pieces of me keep slipping through the cracks and my life slowly begins to fall apart. Never free to do just what I wanted to do or to say what I pleased; always scared that if my parents lost the only child in their family they could truly rely on they would fall apart. We were in need of a miracle, but nothing was coming to help us. We were on our own and the fire in my heart was going out. The path I was speeding down was heading straight for a dead end and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When you are the one everyone relies on, who do you turn to when things become too much? The crushing weight that was pressing down on me and on my family was becoming too much and we weren’t going to last much longer. I was 14.
Any ordinary child of this age hates the idea of going back to boarding school, and not seeing your family for a long period of time, but for me it was beginning to become a haven. Somewhere I could be myself and not be afraid of the consequences, I could bury myself in insignificant school work and attempt to please everyone by stretching my self so far that I had no room to think about what I would return to when I got on the train home. I found friends who were what kept me going and who I would be lost without. I began to write, first in a scrap book that held all my problems and deepest fear that were so close to becoming reality. I would cry, but as the months drifted past I realized that the only one I was crying for the one who wouldn’t care. I began to wish with all my heart that I didn’t care about my brother, but I couldn’t block it out. It was a constant presence in the back of my mind that gnawed away at my consciousness until I couldn’t take it any more. I just wanted it all to stop: the pain, the hope, everything. Where did I go wrong, what did I do to deserve this. I knew the answers to both of these questions as I had had almost a year to think about them: nothing. This was just the path that some people were put on due to no fault of their own, and it was part of the life that had been chosen for me. I began to wonder how to make it stop, how to stop caring. I turned to the only person who might be able to help, who could change things: God. I started to prayed, every night: praying that something would change, that someone would come and save me from myself. I had gotten so used to my hopes being crushed and my dreams being denied that I barely noticed as my final plan failed.
Just when I thought that it was over, that the emptiness was going to win, as I began to fall into oblivion two hands reached out and caught me. They lifted me up higher than I have ever been and stop me from falling. They were angels: they were my two best friends. My world started to come alive again, a new light was seeping into the darkest corners and hope engulfed me as strongly as the darkness had days before. As I returned home my hope was visible infectious; my parents fell into the trap more strongly than I would have believed possible. I new things were changing and I was only too ready for them, what I hadn’t comprehended was that my parents were not. When my brother returned home for our week long break my parents fully expected for him to be in as high spirits as they were. I saw it coming before they did and tried, with the experience of years behind me, to stop the inevitable. That night my brother left, he packed his small bag and with out a backwards glace, his phone or any money walked out of the door. Without my knowledge my wish of loosing all emotion had been fulfilled but not in the fashion I had expected. I had not lost the emotion; I had become stronger than it. I felt a twinge of the old abyss threatening to open its self once more, but then a force stronger than any of it took over: love. Nothing could conquer the love I felt towards my parents and my best friends. I turned, knowing my parents would have the all too familiar look of agony on their faces, but I was ready to face it this time. I had all I needed for the moment, and was able to block out the pain that was still present but which I was stronger than, for the moment. I knew that the repression of my emotions would come back and haunt me later, and I would pay for the ease of it in the present, but when you are only given one option you don’t have any other choice.
Suffering is different for everyone: some can handle it and others can’t. Some fight until they have nothing left and others let it overpower them without hesitation. For me it was the things in my life that I realized were worth fighting for that managed to pull me through. That sometimes you have to suffer to find your true purpose and when you do most things find there way back to you, and gradually your life begins to feel whole again. Time will heal all wounds is a saying that I have only just begun to understand and I will never underestimate the significance it holds.