Recent happenings have reminded me how much I have taken my family for granted.
We all get older. My brothers are older, my mom is older, my niece is older, and the dogs are gone. I don't think of myself in years, I don't feel much different or better than I did six years ago. I'm happier, but not different. At least I think I'm not.
I return to my home and see that nothings different; everythings the same. The only things that's different are the people. My brothers, they've grown into men. My mom's a grandmother, my dad's passed, my brother's a father. The house we grew up in is still The House. I live, love and cherish it, even when it's where I lived the worst and best times of my life. I can't help but remember it for good. The House, in all of its flaws, is good.
Growing up wasn't easy, a rarity for sure. I have three brothers, a drunk father, and a very yelly mother. Each of my brothers is unique, totally different. It sometimes seems like we have nothing in common, and sometimes like we're not brothers at all. Growing up together wasn't easy. We didn't get along, and sometimes it seemed like we didn't want to. I didn't want to, not when I was younger.
I used to think that leaving my family would be the best thing. Eventually I did, cut off everything from everyone I knew and just lived for myself for a while. I thought it was the happiest I could be, but there was always something missing. My family wasn't there, but I didn't think they would fit. I would make my own family, a better family. I would build something for myself that was perfect.
My family forced me to come back, eventually. I was resistent, but it seemed like things were only going downhill. I didn't want my family, but they needed me to be family with them. I was resistent, but accepting. Illnesses and children started to work their way into the family, in and out. I saw and started to miss them. The things about my brothers that I hated had started to fade away, maybe long before I noticed they were gone. I realized my mother and father, despite their faults and their failings loved me. They did what they did to love me, and nothing else. And I loved them back.
Days before my father's passing, I said to myself, "I'd probably be fine if I never saw him again." Being around him was rough, and even though he was a loving father, he wasn't a good father. He did many bad things, but still made me into the man I am today. I couldn't have gotten here without him, for better or worse, and I don't think I would be as awesome if I didn't have him. I loved him, more than I thought. I needed him more than I could imagined.
That morning is the saddest I have ever felt, and I don't ever want to feel that pain again. Unexpected, but that's how death is sometimes. I don't know what's worse, sudden or over time, but I know neither is good. I cried that morning, and all that day. I couldn't walk and I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep either.
Now I need my brothers more than ever, and they need me.