I was sitting on my couch at my apartment, studying for my calculus final (that I was sure I was going to fail. We all know I’m terrible at math, nothing surprising here). Stressing over the inevitable doom that was my final, I was so very happy to hear my phone ringing. Any distraction is a good distraction in those situations, right?
It was your wife, my stepmom. I answered and she told me in an unsteady voice how you were in the hospital. It had finally been too much. You couldn’t talk, couldn’t move. Your brain had basically re-booted and they weren’t sure how long it was going to take to get you back to normal. “One more binge like this and he’s not making it back” they had told her. The next day you started to speak again. She called to update me and relayed, in confusion, how every time they asked you what the date was, you responded that it was April and told everyone to be careful because it was probably snowing outside. It wasn’t April. You were stuck on the day I was born, April 2, being in a similar room back then, but for a very different reason now. You were there for three days.
After that, everything was different. A curtain had finally been shifted, door finally opened, light finally shed. You changed, slowly, but in such a significant and wonderful way.
I can’t say enough that everything happens for a reason. The universe had allowed you a second chance with my step brother, who was young enough to need your guidance, your love. I saw you trying harder, paying more attention, taking the time to explain things to him. When I came home from breaks at college, I saw you packing his lunch every morning. You even gave him extra cookies to trade at lunch for other snacks from his friends. You know all of his friends’ names. You know what he likes and dislikes. I honestly can’t express how happy it makes me.
When I talk to you now, I know you actually care about what I’m saying. You tell me how proud you are of me, of how far I’ve come, of where I’m going. I love my step family and couldn’t be more grateful to have each of them in my life.
Sitting and watching Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen every time I come home. Listening to my little brother explain for the umpteenth time that no, hiding in the tree until you’re one of the last players left in the game is not the correct way to win Fortnite. Taking our dog for a nightly walk during the summer, you holding Cammie’s leash, my stepmom and I walking side by side, my little brother whipping circles around us on his scooter. These are my favorite things about being home now. These are the moments I would choose again and again. This is what I am eternally grateful for the universe giving back to us.
I hope this doesn’t hurt you and I hope you can forgive me for telling my version of the truth. I’ve held onto it for a long time and I think it’s time now. Everyone deserves to heal, and I think it’s only fair that we get a chance at that too. I love you.