I Had A Brother

I had a brother.
His name was Roger.
He was born on April 2, 1980.
I was 2 1/2 years old when he was born.
I don’t remember life without him around as a child.
He was my annoying little brother. We fought and endured sibling rivalry like many do.
I know we played too, although I would have never admitted it when we were young.        He liked to push my buttons like little brothers do.

For a significant portion of my teen years my brother was not around.                          Addiction introduced itself to Roger. They got involved, really involved.                        Things changed.                                                                                                                      It was hard.                                                                                                                              A couple of times it was scary.                                                                                               It was definitely messy.                                                                                                            I was 16 at the height of things. My baby sister was 6.                                                           It was hard – for everybody.

Eventually Roger found a sub-culture he seemed to fit in. For a few years he would visit from time to time when he passed through town.
He met my first son as a newborn and held him so gently and carefully, being aware he wasn’t the cleanest. It meant a lot to me that he came to meet my son and hold him.

Being himself, he would tell us wild stories of the adventures he had. They were never dull. At the same time you could see there were many more stories that went untold simply because they were painful and we became, whether real or perceived, too distanced to relate or even make the attempt.
For a majority of the time since they met, addiction stayed involved.                                  He tried hard, over and over but it’s grip was strong.

Eventually, his addictions caught up with him.

An overdose…revived at the scene…vegetative…1,177 miles from his birthplace…surname given…family contacted…days…decisions…waiting…

I had a brother.
His name was Roger.
He died on April 2, 2004.
I was 26 1/2 years old when he died.                                                                                        I will remember life without him now and wonder what may have been.                                He was my annoying little brother. He liked to push my buttons like little brothers do.

I miss him. Especially today.

Stacey & Roger

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45 thoughts on “I Had A Brother

  1. Thank you for sharing this post and being vulnerable in your pain. I have a younger brother who fights addiction, too. He is sober and enjoying a new amazing life. I know we are lucky. I watched him code on the ER table in front of me when I was 30 years old. We are robbed of our loved ones when addiction takes over. Society wants to label them and judge them but our hearts remember the person they were before the demons took over. Like your brother in your photo, smiling, happy, carefree… Hugs to you!

    • Thank you MelAnn. I really appreciate your words! Very true for me as well. Each year we take some time to celebrate the wonderful parts of him. There were many!
      I’m so glad to hear that your brother is doing well. It’s so hard for all involved. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the siblings but simply put, it’s hard for every single person involved no matter who that is. Thanks MelAnn!

  2. I knew Roger. He seemed to like me, but he wouldn’t let me know where he hung out. He was my youth kid at church, but I couldn’t get him to come. I witnessed his graduation from Teen Challenge, and things seemed positive and bright. But that sub culture brought him back “home” eventually. I miss you Roger. You liked me. I liked you. I wished you hadn’t left us. You were so real when you needed to be.

    Love you Stacey, very precious, meaningful times with you, and Roger.

    John Sanny

  3. Stacey,
    My heart hurts with you today. Beautifully written. Oh how you miss what could have been. Your brother was born the same year as my son. I’m glad that you have some good memories to hold when you think of Roger. Adorable picture. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Stacey, what a touching, tender story. You, being his sister can probably tell it better than anyone else. We have known the leviathan of addiction with near and dear ones too. EVERYONE is affected and caught in the strangle-hold. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Praying right now that your heart is flooded with peace and that the memories you hold dear are the most prominent when you think of him.

    • Yes, there’s nothing beautiful about addiction. It’s ugly plain and simple. It’s sad how prevalent it is. Sorry to hear that you too have had to experience pain in this area. Thanks for your words Caryn. Appreciate it.

  5. I don’t know you, but I got to your post through a friend….I have a brother too who is not yet lost, but almost…..I pray I will never have to write a post like this, but I think about it all the time and I really feel your loss. No matter how prepared you feel or how bad you think someone has strayed, you are never prepared for the worst. I pray for you family today, thanks for sharing your story.

    • Hi Paula, Thanks for finding me here. It sounds like we have some things in common unfortunately. I hope, hope, hope that your brother is able to climb up and out of his troubles. And know that I really resonate with you on just how hard it is for family, in particular with us being siblings. I hope too that you’ll never have to write a post like this! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story as well. All the best to you.

  6. I typed a comment and then had problems with my WordPress.com password. Oops. So sorry if this shows up twice. Anyway, I just wanted to say that this is really, really moving. It’s very raw and must have been difficult for you to write. I know you must miss your brother dearly every day and some days it probably seems a lot worse than others. I could feel some of that pain in your words. Prayers for peace for you and your family, and lots and lots of hugs.
    Steph

    • Hi Steph,
      Thank you for your words! Yes, it’s true. Some days are harder than others. Missing what will never be is hard. It was hard to write but it was so cathartic.

    • We try to do something to remember him each year. This was that for me this year. It was a tearful and beautiful thing for me to do. I’m glad I did. Thank you Kathleen!

  7. I stumbled upon your blog and although I do not know you I wanted to let you know how touched I was reading this. What a beautiful way to share your story. Thank you for helping a stranger with your words.

  8. Oh Stacey, this is so precious. I’m so sad with you and so glad you wrote this, a brilliant insight into what it’s like watching a loved one grapple with an addiction. Love to you today.

  9. Remembering your brother today, Stace! And my heart is with you and your family. His life was valuable and he will always be missed. Love you.

  10. Hi Stace, It is ironic that you write this as I was just thinking about him the other day…..I remember the stories and I am glad you have the memories of your time together. Nobody can take them away from you. In our losses may we grieve right but enjoy who we still have. Love you x

  11. Stacey, I remember the day of his memorial service in April of 2004 and going into a closet while at college and praying for you all. So sorry….may the Lord comfort your heart today.

  12. Stacy,
    Thank you for sharing from your heart. I remember ten years ago.
    I think of you and Jon and pray for you often.

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