I visited my family on the weekend. My sister was there, with her child. She looks as though she is at the end of her rope.
Her husband is nice guy, but unfortunately he has chosen a long, slow suicide. His principle vice is smoking, and he smokes a lot. "I just love it," he says. He has destroyed his lungs, and has emphysema. He also has sleep apnea, but refuses to use his CPAP machine. "It makes too much noise. I can't sleep when it's on," he says. He has a host of medical conditions. His feet and legs swell up. His blood is so thick, they actually can't take samples with a needle. He has cancer on his bladder. He went to have an operation to remove the cancer, but he had an apnea episode on the operating table. His Oxygen levels were so low they stopped the operation at mid point, and the doctors now refuse to operate on him again, as he will not make it off the table.
However, her principle problem is her son. She wanted to have children all her life, but her first husband was sterile. She now has her son, and he has Asperger's syndrome. He is intelligent, but he has no filters. Anything he thinks of saying, he says. Anything he thinks of doing, he does. He embarrasses her in front of company. He puts himself into danger every opportunity that comes along. He has a temper that verges on the nuclear, and his fits last for hours. At my mother's house on Sunday he asked for a sandwich made of white bread, but she would only give him whole wheat, as she believes white bread is unhealthy. "I hate that!" he screamed at her. "Can't you do anything right, you imbecile?"
"Did he just call you an imbecile?" I asked.
"That's okay," she said. "He normally calls me a moron."
"And he's still ambulatory?"
She decided it was time to take him home, and he screamed and called her names, punched at her, while she tried to discipline him. She sounded exhausted and worn out.
Not surprisingly, she also suffers from depression. Her depression became so debilitating, she is now on long term disability, which means her pay has gone down. Her husband is completely out of work, and gets nothing from his work, so money is also very short.
In addition to this, there is also my brother. He is an alcoholic. For years he looked as though he was frozen in time. Now, every time I see him, he looks a little worse, like all those frozen years have caught up with him, and each of those years brought another one with it. He loves his nieces and nephews, and they love him in return, but he, too, is performing a long slow suicide. We've tried talking to him. He won't budge. He has been drunk pretty much since he was about sixteen, which means he's still a sixteen year old at heart, and never developed the coping mechanisms most of us do. A miracle may be his best shot. At the very least, Pray that he returns to church. He hasn't been, except for funerals , baptisms and first communions, for years. I fear for his soul, should he die in this state. And, while death is inevitable, for some it is more inevitable than others.