I am not the only Scapegoat in my family. The original Scapegoat is my brother. He is 7 years older than me. My mother had him with her first husband.
Words I have heard used to describe my brother by family, teachers, and acquaintances: Bully, Scumbag, no good, Liar, Drunk, Useless, Violent, Intimidating, Will never amount to anything, the list goes on. He’s been arrested numerous times for DUIS, Assault, and other less stupid things. He’s never served any real jail time. I don’t know how. He joined the Army for a few years after getting married. He managed to get into bar fights, get caught smoking pot on guard duty, and while stationed in Germany went AWOL and came back to the states. He was given a dishonorable discharge.
After all this he put himself through school for computer programming. He was a genius at it. He drank and spent money but was good at his job.
My mother raised him alone for 7 years. He was the light in her life after his father committed suicide while she was pregnant. She was always in his corner no matter what. People always complimented her on what a “good little boy he was”. That changed when my father entered the picture.
At her funeral there was a disturbance concerning my brother. He was inside the funeral home while the rest of us waited to go to the cemetery. Two of my uncles went in and had it out with him.
I look back now and think that they were wrong. He had just lost the one person that was always in his corner, always believed in him. He must have felt truly alone in that instant. A father that kills himself before he’s born and his one supporter gone. The grief he felt must have been tremendous. I know because it’s how I felt. But no one comforted him. So he got drunk. I couldn’t watch. He had just hit on my best friend in front of his kids and our mother had just died. I was a mess myself so I left.
I am deeply saddened that none of us has looked deeper for the reason of all his pain. He refuses help or to talk about his drinking and gambling. I dread the late night drunken phone call. I’ve stopped answering. There is only so much my heart can take. This heart that remembers going on his paper route with him, remembers him scaring the monsters away under my bed and practicing his wrestling moves on. I am one person who hurts too much as it is. So brother I love you but I can’t go down with you anymore.