Survivors Guilt

Survivors guilt. There aren’t words for it. It can be experienced in all different ways. You can have this guilt even when everyone who was involved is still breathing.

Everyday gets a little harder. Therapy will help, but that’s only once a week. I have to use the tools I’ve been given to make it through situations as they come between sessions. My biggest vice? God. My next biggest? My children, my family. Without these, I would be nothing.

When you spend your whole life trying to save someone who didn’t want to be saved, you continue to feel as if you’ve failed. As if you didn’t do enough. Maybe had you tried harder, done more, asked more questions. Just maybe. When they finally succumb to all the bad they surround themselves with and you run out of options, you’re finally forced to face reality.

My brother is very much still alive, but he has made his choices. He’s given in to his vices. He’s disowned his family that loves and only wants to help him, he’s entirely given up the fight against becoming someone he shouldn’t want to be.

I survived trauma. I did my best to save him, too. I spent more time and energy than I had at times to do what I could for him. He never wanted the help, he never wanted to get better. This is how he lives with what he endured.

It feels wrong to continue down my path of healing, to keep fighting for a better life for myself and my family. It’s heartbreaking to know I’m choosing to get better, and he’s choosing to numb the pain in ways that could ultimately take him from us. Not that it already hasn’t, but for now he’s still breathing.

Every single day, I wonder if it’ll be the day we get that phone call. I dread it, and it eats away at me constantly. I’ve done everything I can to try and hand this one over to God, but I’m scared. I’m terrified. For at least this moment in time, there is hope. Hope for him to heal, to get better, to see the brighter side of life. But, how much longer do we get to hold onto that hope? I don’t know what God’s plan is for him, and it’s terrifying to trust that whatever happens is what’s meant to be.

My family is a wreck, and it makes it more painful that he feels nothing. Being a “fixer” this is the ultimate breaking point for me. There is nothing left I can do, I am out of options. I can keep praying, have faith, hope, and I can turn it over to God. But, there’s no more talking. No more giving him a safe space to go when he has nowhere else, no more money to foot his addiction, no more communication to know he’s at least still surviving. And it’s hard. So very hard.

My family could use some rather large prayers right now, and we appreciate them more than you can imagine. We just want our brother, son, uncle, friend back. We want him to be better, and to thrive instead of barely skating by on the edge of surviving. We miss him, and he’s only an arms length away.

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