Thursday, March 31, 2011

Should I....should I not???

It was a year ago at this time Chad was being released from jail. He had spent another 8 months for shoplifting and violating his probation. My dad was working with a case worker from the county jail trying to get him into an apartment. There is some type of program that helps inmates when they get out of jail/prison for pennies on the dollar compared to what the law-abiding citizens pay for rent or mortgages. It was a slow process and we were told that Chad would need to stay at the mission for the first few days he was out until they could get his apartment for him. Chad had made it clear to our sister that he was not staying at the mission. So being I was the only one in the family that would remotely think of taking him back, I was asked if I would let him stay with me until he could move into his own apartment. I did so but made it a point that I would only do it for a few days, until he got his own place. He wasn't too sure about my offer since we hadn't spoken in quite some time when I kicked him out for relapsing (regret)! But with the other option Chad was facing, he didn't have too much of a choice. I asked myself over and over and over again, should I do this or should I not? Should I let him back in my home, even if it is for a few days? Should I take another chance with him? Should I open myself and home to the risk it is having an addict living with me? What could a few days hurt? I got the call from my dad Chad was out. Dad dropped him off at the mall and I picked him up later that day when I got off work. I was anxious yet nervous to see him. It had been over a year since we spoke, since I last saw him. He walked out of the mall and I walked to him and just took him in my arms, as he did me. He was exhausted and looked it. He was a little apprehensive at first, cold...distant, but I knew it would take time for both of us. We went to TGIF for some dinner. Some REAL food I guess you could say. He kept telling me he wasn't hungry and not to worry about it but my stubborn self did it anyways. He had watched movies all day at the mall until I picked him up. I could tell in his face...his eyes...that he just wanted to lay down and get some sleep. On our way home I had decided all in about a matter of seconds that I was keeping my brother with me, for as long as it took. I wasn't going to let him go into an apartment by himself, with nobody to talk too. I felt as if he were too fragile to leave alone and the best thing would be for him to be with and around those who loved him. So all bets were off and I didn't care, he was staying with me and that was final. I was working two jobs to help support us. I had been working two jobs before Chad came home and continued to do so until he was able to get a job. He bonded immediately with my dog, Lacey. She was head over heels for her Chadly as he was her. It was so good to have her there because she kept him busy, kept him occupied and she gave him something to do. It was almost as if she were his therapy while home all the time.

Thanks to Chad, Lacey is now a HUGE fan of peanut butter. She can eat it by the spoonfuls. And she loves popsicle's.....thanks again to Chad. I sent a picture of Lacey to him. He wrote back saying how much he misses her. She was so good for him. There are many who come out of the system with absolutely nowhere to go but the rescue mission.....or the streets. I was asked by his P.O. why I took him back. My answer..."because he's my brother and I felt that if I would have let him go on the streets or to the mission, I might as well have just put the needle in his arm myself." Maybe I shouldn't have taken him back. Maybe the streets or the mission is where he needed to be. Lots of addicts go that route and it becomes their darkest moment, their rock bottom, their way out of their addiction if it's TRULY not where they want to be. I'll never know if Chad would have turned his life around and remained sober if I would have turned him away. I did what I did because it's what felt right to me. Yes it was a risk, yes it was difficult, yes it may have been the absolute wrong thing to do, but I did it and even though he didn't make it with his sobriety, I have no regrets with my decision. I got six more months with him. Six more months of memories, good and bad. Six more months of laughs, tears, hugs, pranks, foot-steps, breath, and "time" with my brother. It went by all to fast. Maybe the instinct I had when I decided so quickly to keep him with me was God's way of saying this is your last shot. I don't know, not sure if God had anything to do with it. But I'm grateful for the little bit of time I had left with him on the outside and THAT is something I thank the good Lord above for.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A great ending to a not so good week.

Last week I was with a group of people. We were in a meeting and the topic of inmates came up and their medical treatment. It wasn't a long conversation but just enough was said to rattle my cage I guess you could say. It all boiled down to how scary inmates are when they are shackled up and isn't it nice to know where our tax dollars are going. Everybody laughed in on the conversation while I just kept my head down. It certainly struck a nerve and I found nothing funny about their comments. My taxes are going right along with theirs to fund everything from the state correctional facility, to the politicians salary, to the programs that assist the illegal immigrants and so forth. I would much rather keep that money that I bust my back for and spend it on what I choose too, but thanks to the laws of our land and the idiots who see over it, I'm not at the freedom to do so without severe penalty. Yes, I'm more sensitive now and I think the others would be too if any of them were in the situation I and my family are in. I'm not blind to the fact of where my brother is nor am I naive about who pays for him to be where he is. I'm just his heartbroken sister who has feelings and a more fragile heart than I have in the past. Although many are in the same boat as me, I would never wish this on anybody to go through. When I woke up Saturday morning, I wasn't my normal self. I was quiet, sustained and kept to myself. It was quiet in my house. Everybody was sleeping but me. I sat down on my couch with my cup of coffee reflecting on the dream I had the night before. The dream that put me in "her name"s house. I remember in my dream I had walked to her home but I wasn't able to get to the front door because construction was being done in her house. Her neighbor said I would have to take the detour all the way around the block and up the hill and enter through the back side. It seemed like such a hike to get their. It was dark and I don't even know what I was doing there in the first place. I could see her house as plain as day. Just like it looked in the news reports. I went through the back door and somebody had already moved in. A man lived there but wasn't home when I walked in. I remember walking slowly through the apartment looking at his bed, looking around at the walls and wondering where exactly did this all happen in her old home? What happened that caused Chad to do what he did? What could have possibly made him take her life? Right then I woke up. My first thought was why in the world did my dreams take me to her home? Why would I even dream of such a thing? My day was a little off the norm for me and I felt SO tired. Bags under my eyes, fatigued, and felt just like a puddle of sludge. I went to see Chad with my dad yesterday. This was our second visit and of course, it was snowing!!! It was my turn to drive and I kept praying that God would watch over my dad and I and make sure we made it safely. Driving in the snow is one thing, driving in it with your dad as the passenger?????? Well that's another thing. I felt like my dad's life was in my hands and it's usually always the other way around. After breakfast at McDonald's we were on our way. And before I knew it I was taking another detour. A bridge was being moved so we had to get off the freeway and go into town and go all the way around to get back on the freeway. How coincidental that I had to take a detour in my dream to get to her home and I was now taking another detour to visit my brother. I almost didn't get to see Chad because I was wearing all white. The inmates wear all white so you have to dress in other colors so the guards can tell the difference between the visitor and the inmate should something happen. It's so obvious my brain doesn't function well in the early morning. I had forgotten that I can't wear an underwire bra and remembered just as I was getting ready to walk out the door so I had to change, but the all white thing went completely over my head. Looks like I will be buying an outfit specifically for my visits with Chad so I don't have to think so hard on those morning's if what I'm wearing is prison appropriate. Chad is doing SO good! He looks amazing just like before and was in good spirits. He is taking a current events class that he likes and staying busy with his time. He is completely bald and looks so good. He's tired of dealing with his hair. He had this pink patch on the side of his head and I asked him what it was. When he was in R&O, they only give them one razor but it's not enough to shave his head. So he was able to get some of that hair removal cream like Nair. So he applied it the first time and it didn't take all the hair off. You aren't supposed to rub that stuff into your skin but he did and it started to bleed a little but the hair on that part of his head didn't come off. So he completely defied the instructions where it says NOT TO USE more than once in a 24 hour time period and put it back on his head. BURN BURN BURN!!!!! Buuuuuuuuuuuurn. LOL...he said he woke up a couple days later and saw something on the side of his head. He went to touch it and it was a BLISTER that had formed on his head that peeled right off his head when he pulled it. Ew gross!!!!!! But I was laughing so hard when he told me about it and so was he. His head got burned in THREE DIFFERENT PLACES. It was an awesome visit. But the very, VERY best part of it all was it was a CONTACT VISIT. So that hug I thought I would never have again or would possibly have to wait for YEARS to get, I got yesterday. The hug that swallows me into his chest and I have to stand on my tip-toes so I can reach air, I got yesterday. The hug that squeezes me so tight that my back pops, I got yesterday. Twice!!! Once at hello, the other at see-ya. The next time you hug somebody, hug them as if it will be the very last time you will do it. Mean it!!! Don't be afraid to squeeze a little harder than the time before. Don't be afraid to put your arms around somebody and let them know how much they mean to you or how much you love them. Hugs are simple and they ROCK. Hugs are comforting!!!! They have the power to give so much and can make all the difference in sombody's world. I can't wait for my brother Chad to once again swoosh me into his arms and be able to do the same in return. XOXOXO

Monday, March 21, 2011

As a matter of numbers!

#2.......the number of balloons of heroin Chad said he took for the day whenever I would ask. Even when I knew it was so much more than that.

12x8......the size of his cell he shares with another.

500 South.......the street "her name" lived on. I passed it this weekend, not her home, but the
street as I made my way up North. It's a pit in the stomach kind of feeling when
I see that street name.

2034.....the year Chad will be eligible for parole. TWENTY THIRTY FOUR!! While I was
already made aware of this through Chad, I'd once again like to thank our media, the
tribune this time, for once again putting this horrible story on display.

90.....the number of pieces of evidence taken from the crime scene.

#5.....the gas pump I last saw my brother freely walk outside without barriors. Little did I know
that my brother had already committed the crime that would forever change two families
lives....for good!

15 to life.....nothing much to be said here.

440.....the dollar amount he took from my bank account in less than 24 hours to get high.

5600 W. 4100 So......the intersection I last saw pump #5.

5.....the amount of gas I put in "her name" pump #5.

3.....all it took was Chad to have these three things and I knew a relapse was coming. Job, cell
phone, and wheels!!! RELAPSE!

27.....the age of Chad when he entered the penal system for what may be the rest of his life.

62.....the age I will be when Chad is eligible to face the parole board.

2:00.....the time I got the phone call telling me they found Chad and he was alive and "ok".

176264.....I know him as Chad, but he is now a number to the state.

10/4/2010.....the exact date my life was rocked upside down and two families lives were ripped
to shreds. It was also the day Chad's heroin addiction came to a screeching halt
for which I hope is for good.

Numbers have never been my thing. But it's funny how so many I can relate to Chad. He called last night and he is still doing really well. I have had a harsh case of blogitis. So many things going on and such little time. I've been thinking of Chad more at night again lately, when I lay my head on my pillow and look out my bedroom window. I've been a little depressed about him. I guess it's just part of the cycle and I take it as it comes. But the good thing is, I will be visiting him this weekend and that is something so good to look forward too.