May 8, 2006, 3:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A few days ago I was channel surfing when I happened upon True Hollywood Story: Chris Farley. I have a fairly high tolerance for smut and trash so I almost always enjoy this show. I was never really a huge Chris Farley fan. I will laugh for a half hour at Jim Carrey's talking butt cheeks but Chris Farley pitching into a coffee table, I don't get that. The show documented Farley's early years as a devoted Catholic and an overweight kid clowning around to get friends. It then went on to chronicle his rise to fame, his addictions and his death. Truly a sad story and one that has haunted me since I saw the show. Normally I wouldn't be so wrapped up in a show, but this story is so painfully similar, minus the financial success, fame and death parts, to that of my brother's.

About three years ago I had to finally sever most ties with my sibling. Summer always seems to be a difficult time for his problems. We spent a weekend in Denver celebrating Loren's 10th birthday at Elitch's Sixx Flags and a Denver Rapids soccer game. My brother, D., came along for the fun. During the afternoon of the Elitch's trip I knew things were on a downward spiral when he began to disrobe to get in the wave pool. He was probably far over 300 pounds at the time and none of us could ever remember seeing him shirtless. I also knew, from his various tales, that the more far gone he is the more his love of nudity.

As far as I could tell he was the only one in the park packing multiple flasks of Jack Daniels. He was the only one who nearly drowned my six year-old daughter in the wave pool and, later in the afternoon, he was the only person I could see passed out on a park bench. Loren was a little too young to grasp the whole thing, but I think Cass understood some of it when she was gasping for breath while being dragged under six feet of water by a slurring 300 pound man.

Later that same summer D. watched our townhome while Matt and the kids and I went to Utah for a weekend visit. I returned home to find smashed glass all over the floors, bloody hand prints on the walls and my brother passed out in Loren's bed. His face was covered in scabs, dried blood and bruises. While the children were brushing their teeth, their uncle stumbled into the bathroom and attempted to talk to them. He stank and slurred a stunningly lame tale about self pity and how hard his life was. I was passing by the bathroom and I happened to catch the look of confusion and horror on the children's faces as I glimpsed them in the miroor.

That was it. That was the defining moment. Sadly it was not the near demise of Cassidy or the ruin of Loren's birthday. It was watching the two of them lose a bit of their innocence. That image of Loren and Cassidy brushing their teeth with my beaten and bloodied brother drunkenly swaying in the background will forever stay with me. 

The heartbreak of addiction is horrible. My brother has not overdosed yet. He has confided to me that he has many times come close. But the life he leads to feed his addictions is filled with anger and violence and it will not surprise me when I someday will likely be on the receiving end of a very sad phone call.

I will sometimes go months without thinking of my brother. But since that THS episode I have been thinking about him constantly. I picked up the phone and called him today. Save for his heavy Xanax prescription he claims to be clean and sober right now. It was a good chat.

For about three years when Loren was a baby D. was clean and sober. I will forever miss that part of my brother. There might be some afternoons like today when he is clear headed and sober. And I will always hope for more.


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Thank you for that post. For letting it all hang out there and saying it so well. I’m sorry for what you’ve had to go through with your brother, but I understand. My dad is an alcoholic, and while we haven’t cut him out of our lives, we see him very little. Partly because he’s a couple of hundred miles away, but mostly because of his behavior. The last time we were in his apartment, six months ago, we arrived to find him passed out with broken glass all over the floor. (No bloody handprints, though.) He picked a verbal fight with me and my sister that day and thought nothing of letting his two-year-old granddaughter wander around the living room amidst the shards. We will never go back to his apartment again.

He came to visit recently, and everything went okay. My daughter had a good sober few days with her grandpa, which is all that we wanted.

Hopefully, your kids can have some good sober days with your brother someday. Something pleasant and neutral to live in their memories, yknow? Kids don’t need to know all the gritty truths while they’re still young.

Comment by merseydotes

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