Saturday, January 19, 2008

Little Brothers

Two moments of sadness this past week. First, my little brother by blood, the one I grew up with, suffered the death of his grandmother. She was not my grandmother, and her passing did not move me much, but I feel for him. My grandmother died not too long ago, and I miss her still. The funeral took place in a viewing room at a funeral home. It was open-casket. The priest gave a fairly formulaic speech, did the rites, and then we walked out. The priest did a fairly good job; he didn't seem to know her or the family. That was my Wednesday morning. Thinking of you, little brother.

The other moment just occurred. As I have mentioned here before, I am a mentor with Catholic Charities. My Little is now 13. He is a bright, energetic, sensitive young kid. Everyone remarks on his smile. Anyway, he just called me, and told me in his always-quiet voice that he couldn't hang out tomorrow. We were going to finish putting together the Lego Ferrari I got him for his birthday. It was clear he had been crying and he wouldn't tell me what had happened. And he said he didn't know when he would be able to hang out. He then told me, with a little urgency, that he had to go. I heard his mother saying "Get off the phone," and he sort of whimpered a little. I think I said OK, or bye or something and she yelled at him to get off the phone again.

I wish I could go there and take him out of there, if just for a half hour. I was in his shoes, on the other end of the phone, many times as a kid. I was constantly getting into trouble for which my mother's preferred method of punishment was some sort of deprivation. I would be forbidden to see my friends, or go out, or watch a TV show, or have a snack. So I felt deep empathy for him. I know he is lonely, and that his mother is stretched to the limit. And I think he has been branded as a problem and a troublemaker. If making trouble is how he gets his mother's attention, I know from experience, their conflicts are unlikely to abate any time soon.

I also miss the chance to hang out with him. Playing and putting Legos together and eating pizza is a nice break from law work. And I know it means a lot to him to be treated as specially as we treat him here in the Beckett household. So, I'm thinking of you, too, little brother.


La Misma said...

It sounds like you're the right person to be in your Little Brother's life -- giving and empathetic. I'm sure that's making a big difference to him even during times when he gets in trouble. It means so much, it could even influence him around his need to challenge authority - I mean it could.

I'm sorry for your other little brother's loss.

beckett said...

Tx. LM, I hope so.

vacuous said...

Your commitment to your Little Brother is awesome. I'm sure you are influencing his life positively.

Anonymous said...

Regarding a commitment to a "little sister" who came into my life via a program Vacuous and I know about.

The situation was similar: parent-child clash, perhaps unreasonable.

My decision: stay out of it, though I had to bite my tongue. I even deleted the numbers from my cell phone temporarily, so that I wouldn't impulsively butt in.

Result: things are now back on course, maybe even better than before.