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How Can I Help My Brother? (Excruciatingly Long: Sorry)

Posted by sylviatexas (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 3, 07 at 13:42

My brother Martin was married & divorced years ago & had 3 children.

His wife's family had a lot of power in the small town where they lived;
they bullied their daughter into ceding her parental rights to them, & they had my brother's wages garnished for child support before the divorce was even final, so he was financially strapped, unable to fight them.

They kept his 3 children, wouldn't comply with visitation, sabotaged his relationship with them, etc.

One reason for their behavior was that they're controllers, but there was a chunk of family money that was to be used for the children's benefit.
They never had to account for it, & it's gone.

Alan, the oldest son, especially was isolated from his dad, but Martin always kept the welcome mat out.

He felt that, since Alan had married & had a son & got divorced & probably had realized that his grandparents' interference had had a part in the dissolution of his marriage, that it seemed like Alan was beginning to see things as they really were & that maybe the time was coming to heal some old wounds.

Labor Day week-end, 28-year-old Alan, his 6-year-old son Michael, another cousin, aged 3, & the grandmother were killed when the van that the grandfather was driving passed a semi in a no-passing zone & came face to face with a tow truck.

The tow truck dodged to the right, but the van, unable to go right because of the semi, went the same direction.

The grandfather, the man who took Martin's kids all those years ago & who now took Alan permanently & who took Martin's only grandchild, was the only survivor.

He walked away.

The district attorney's office has declined to indict him, since "there were no drugs or alcohol involved, & the only fatalities were all family."

That's so unjust:
they were family to people other than the man who killed them;
they were 2 generations of Martin's family.

(Martin's other children still don't get it;
they feel sorry for their grandfather, Martin's daughter even gave up her apartment & moved into "Alan's house", the house Alan rented from the grandparents, to help her grandfather.)

I guess Martin is doing as well as can be expected, but this is a bitter pill as well as a shocking tragedy.

On the advice of close friends, & due to the insomnia & rage that were taking their toll on me, I've had to let it go.

(Mind you, if I had the power to see to it that that man never had a minute's peace in this life, I'd do it.)

My brother has been married for a number of years to a wonderful wife, (don't know where he found her, I've told him he must have some good karma!) & she's been a rock.

Martin is a very "internal" person:

He doesn't talk, doesn't pound tables, doesn't, as I do, call everybody & howl & holler & rant.

Today is the first time I've brought up the subject since the funeral:

I emailed him the poem that Mary posted about the stone.

I don't want to ignore his grief & rage, but I don't want to aggravate it, either.

When the accident first happened, I posted on a couple of forums asking for thoughts & prayers & the responses were warm & wonderful.

I haven't even forwarded the links to those threads to him, I just don't know if it would make things better or worse.

any thoughts?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How Can I Help My Brother? (Excruciatingly Long: Sorry)

I don't want to ignore his grief & rage, but I don't want to aggravate it, either.

That's the tough issue. Sylvia, you're a loving and thoughtful sister. I wish I had some good advice to give you, but all I can do is quote an unusually fine and caring psychiatrist, a friend who told me after my daughter Jill died that some people grieve silently, and in fact withdraw into their grief, and we have to let them do it. I myself dealt with my grief by talking and crying (and talking and crying), but I had to let this person grieve in his own way.

It's fortunate that your brother has a strong and loving wife.

My sympathy to all of you.


RE: How Can I Help My Brother? (Excruciatingly Long: Sorry)

"we have to let them do it."

"I had to let this person grieve in his own way"

You're right, of course.

I was fretting that I should be *doing* something, but you're right:

He does grieve, indeed does everything, inside himself.

Thanks, Susan, you've taken a burden off my mind.

RE: How Can I Help My Brother? (Excruciatingly Long: Sorry)

Oh, you're so welcome, Sylvia. I wish you and your family the best.

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