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David the 4th oldest

Discussion in 'Catholic DIR' started by Mark Dohle, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Well-Known Member

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    davidwithgranchild2.jpg


    David the 4th oldest

    Growing up in a large family for me was a great blessing. Family life can be experienced as difficult, but also, I believe for most, there are more blessings than there were of problems. Each sibling is unique, and the process that is involved in growing to understand each one of them, has been a great help for me in my life in grasping some little comprehension of those around me. Below is some history that I shared with my brother David. I had the privilege of spending a great deal of time with him over the last 6 years because of health related issues. I grew in my love of him, as well as some deeper understanding of his inner life. Though I feel that was always at the surface. The relationship between brothers can be complex, and if the brothers are very close in age, the complexity only gets more complicated. David and I grew at the same rate, which I feel is what started the issues that we had with each other over a four year period when we were both in High School. We were both 50/50 in how it was worked out. For my part, I believe I was the most unforgiving. David was always more generous than me when we were young, and he was always more gentle and quiet than I am, or was.

    I have trouble with mourning. Writing helps me to get in touch with it and to express how David and I interacted with each other. In the end there was a deep healing between us. Mostly on my part, for I believe David did not carry much of a burden because of me. Such was in deep seated gentleness when he was not drinking.

    When I wrote most of this in 2003, Judy (my sister), wisely told me not to share it, because David might not understand why I wrote it in the first place. I believe she was right. I am thankful for her help in this regard.—Br.MD


    ++++++++++

    David the 4th oldest. A complicated relationship
    Written in 2003


    David is my younger brother; is one year and five months my junior, and probably is the one that I have had over the years, the most complicated relationship with. When we were very young, pre-teens to be exact, say from the time I was 10-14 we were close, we did lots of things together, spent lots of time in the jungle, went swimming with the other kids that I hung out with, and just had a lot of fun together, with some fighting in-between, something that brothers and sister do.

    That all changed when I started to mature into my teen years. What caused the problem that arose between us was I was a late starter, and my brother wasn’t, so we pretty much grew head to head all the way thru my teen years. So at one time friends, we turned into competitors, with lots of physical aggression between us. We would often fight, and the fights would be prolonged, going on for an hour or more. I suppose that one thing that was to my advantage was that I was calmer when I got angry, and also I tended to not react quite as quickly as he did. I used this to my advantage, and for the most part I guess I came out as the winner, if any kind of winning can be had from such an exercise.

    I used to get him into a head lock. I had very long arms at the time, they almost dragged on the floor when I would walk around (well not quite), but I was strong and he quickly hit the floor, and there we lay, me exerting pressure until he got purple, then releasing him a bit so color would return; asked him if he gave up, he would hit me, so the cycle continued for quite a while. The other 6 kids would sit around and watch; they enjoyed it, and would even have snacks while watching. We never did anything to really hurt each other; even at my angriest I would never for instance hit David in the face that is why I would get him in a head lock, less chance of either of us doing any real damage.

    It became so bad, our fighting and competing, that I think I got to the point that I actively disliked him; hate would be to strong of a word. I always knew that I loved him as my brother, but during that time I did not like being around him, something would happen, and BAM, POW it turned into a B level Batman movie event, we just did our own stunts.

    When I became an adult, this feeling did not go away, in lingered and at least on my side a barrier was erected that I did not know how to let down and really did not want to. So over the years when I would visit my family, my time spent with David was more often than not a chore, but I did spend time with him. I don’t think he ever realized the inner struggle I was still having with him.

    I think it was more than just about the fighting, I think there was some jealously also going on. He was better looking than I was, and girls would not be shy in letting me know that, not much fun when you are a teenager. I was insulted that I had a younger brother better looking than me; such was my immature vanity, but I guess normal for a teenager.

    In 1996, the year the Olympics was in Atlanta, David wanted to come up for an extended visit with me; actually my father asked me to let him come up, he was having some problems and it would be good for him to see me. Oh yes, he was an alcoholic, and when he drank he could become very mean. So against my better judgment I said ok. On one level I was happy that he was coming, perhaps we could mend things, after all it was over 30 years ago that we were teenagers, time to put it behind me, and perhaps if he was having trouble with me for him to do so also.

    So the big day came, I drove to the airport and picked him up. On the way home we stopped off at ‘Little Five Points’, a hippie like area that drew a lot of tourist. We went to a restaurant that specialized in food from Columbia; at least I think it was from that country. Before we got to the restaurant, I did bring up his drinking and said that he could stay with me only if he did not drink. He promised, which I wanted to believe, found it hard, but gave him the benefit of the doubt. During the meal, over good food and laughter, I found the old feelings of closeness returning, the anger that I felt and the disliked left me, and I found it easy to again feel connected with my brother. When this happened, I talked to David about it, how I felt, that we really reconnected and that hopefully our relationship would improve. I am not sure how it was from his side; I don’t think he carried that weight around with him. In very many ways he is a better person that I am, and I think the area of letting things go is one of them.

    He stayed for a month, and it was good, we got along, though from word of mouth I heard that he was drinking; something that did not surprise me. Sadly I waited until I got some concrete proof, since he could look me in the eye and say he was not drinking. Well soon after that I found him drunk outside sleeping his stupor off. The next day I had a talk with him and told him that he had to go, that he knew that I would not tolerate him drinking while he stayed with me. He got very angry and tried to manipulate me into letting him stay, but I would not be moved on this point.

    On the way to the airport, I told him that I am not judging him, that we all struggled with addictions, but his specific problem caused too many percussions in the home, theft being one of them; he did admit to stealing money for alcohol.

    He went down to stay with my sisters, who soon had to ask him to leave, he then went up to his ex-wife’s house, they were still friends, and stayed there for awhile. One day she called me and pleaded for me to take him back, I said I can’t. She went on, relating to me how he was become verbally abusive, and was worried about its effect on the children. I told her to call the police the next time it happened, but she was worried about the children. I said just sit the children down, they were in the early teens, and just tell them what you might have to do, they will adapt to it.

    A couple of days later, David called me and told me that his wife told him he had to leave. As we talked I decided to be truthful with him, since I was really worried about what was going to become of him. When not drinking you will not find a kinder or more generous man, always ready with a smile, and kind to a fault, and I am serious when stating this. So I told him that he is well loved by the family, his kids, and his ex-wife also, though they are divorced. As we talked, I was able to relate how because of his drinking, he was becoming more and more isolated, and that if he did not try to do something about it he would soon have nowhere to go, since he could not live with anyone, in fact when drinking it could become unbearable. To his credit he did listen and is doing better. I think the main motivating factor is his love of his children, when sober he has a great relationship with them, but when drinking they back off, giving him plenty of space.

    Hopefully as he gets older he will be able to quit completely, at least that is my prayer; if not his future could be bleak and lonely. It is a painful situation, but I am glad we again love one another, and we can talk, and laugh together, also that he understands why he cannot drink and be around me.

    Life is full of problems that cannot be ‘fixed’, but there is always hope.-Br.MD
     
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  2. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    So real and touching. My nephew is battles alcoholism. Sweet and smart.... but "woe is me and somewhat disrespectful" when drinking. We had him at our home for one year and he never changed.

    One day I said to him, "Z, if you know you aren't going to change, please rent somewhere. You can come and eat at our table anytime you want, as long as you are sober".

    He went and rented a room. He is now in a program which hopefully he will complete this time. We continue to talk... I continue to pray.

    There is always hope :)
     
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  3. Stonetree

    Stonetree Member
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    Thank You for posting your memories and finally your hope. My family wasn't a parallel of your family in respect to numbers or age difference. However, later in life alcoholism did come to be a problem for the oldest sibling. Her problem eased after she aged to almost 50. She was an alcoholic for about 20 years. Those years were just a waste(meaning sad).As she aged she returned to her old self and her kids and her were on good terms when she left this world at 72 yrs of age.Our mother was in her nineties and survived her. @ KenS and Mark, hope springs eternal.
     
    #3 Stonetree, Jan 19, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
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  4. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Well-Known Member

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    There is always hope, God's love and compassion are infinite. Thank you. Yes to be truthful, yet loving, can bring about deep healing and change.
     
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  5. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Well-Known Member

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    I am so happy that your sister came back to the family. Thanks for sharing part of your experience.

    peace

    mark
     
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