Well, it's been a long time coming, and I've been craving it, so...now I'm back! Writing a little something for you, and for me. :)
I'm on this journey with my brother, Scott. On August 6th, I flew to Oregon to save his life. He was depressed to the point of (almost) no return, was wanting and waiting to die. He had given up. At nearly 700 pounds, who could really blame him?
For two months in Oregon I went crazy on his ass, implemented a new diet and exercise routine, and chatted with him daily about the positivities in life, the potential he has, the reasons he could focus on to get better. It worked.
I brought Scott back to Vegas with me a month ago. And here's where the story really starts. I've been feeling sorry for myself. I've been feeling like I've taken on too much, burdened myself with the ginormous responsibility of Scott's disease. I've been full of anxiety, full of doubt, and full of SHIT. Last night I realized something that brought me back to reality. A family dinner. So simple, so normal, so very honest, and so, so important.
When I first moved to Vegas, I adopted a brilliant little family almost instantly. Through a mutual connection, these people became my home-away-from-home, my link to job sources, my personal GPS in a city I had never driven in before, and my place to share, hug, and laugh. Last night they all came over for dinner, and Scott was introduced, instantly accepted, and loved as though they'd known him forever. We ate like it was Thanksgiving, we talked about nothing and everything, we played poker and ate some more. We bickered, rolled our eyes, debated things, laughed. We hugged, shared, winked, and smiled. A real family dinner.
After our guests left, Scott and I rehashed the night, laughing about everyone's quirks, and feeling generally satisfied. And then Scott said this, "I just LOVE a family dinner, it's what I've enjoyed most in life, and what I crave!" It wasn't until we were done chatting and I retreated to my room that I really thought about that comment, really thought about what that dinner meant.
Scott has not been to a family gathering for several years. We have a large extended family, and everyone gathers for one reason or another several times a year. I have missed some events because I'm far away or because of work. With Scott's inability to travel, he has missed them all. It has been YEARS since he experienced that camaraderie that comes with a family dinner. Years since he's felt the feeling of "family". And it brought me to tears.
There are lots of things in life we all take for granted without even knowing it. Family seems like it rides the top of the list most often. What Scott taught me last night was that I'm stupid, selfish, and forgetful. What I have been able to experience in this life is Mount Everest in comparison to Scott's little sand dune of life experience. And I am truly grateful for that. But, most of all, I am in awe at the beauty of the journey in front of us. The path we are on now, together, is something I cherish, and something I would never, ever want to give back. Who gets to be a part of something like this, really? Who gets to bring someone back from the brink, and live the process so truly? Who gets to give someone hope, and reap the rewards of that on a daily basis? Well, I do. Me. Wow! What a gift!
I regret to say, the reason I haven't written about all of this since a few weeks into my Oregon stay, is because I've been unable to shake my "poor, poor me" attitude. I was ashamed of it, but couldn't get away from it. I didn't want the world to know how utterly selfish I was. All the while, my friends and family have been telling me how strong I am, how wonderful I am to take on this "project", how great of a person I am for it. And all I could think was, "what the hell am I doing, and WHY am I doing this to myself?" Yeah, not the most humanitarian or selfless way to think or feel. But it was there, so much so that I sort of forgot what this is all about. Don't get me wrong, though, because there is not ONE MOMENT that I've regretted the reason...to keep my brother alive, and to help him live that life how he wants to, without the restrictions he has now.
I am of a different mind about it all today. I have finally come to a place in my heart and mind that isn't punishing, but happy...isn't doubtful, but proud...isn't sorry, but thankful. It feels much better to be in this place. It feels right, and productive. It feels hopeful, and I needed that...for myself, and for Scott.