When I was 11 my big brother had been hospitalized for the 5th time and ended up in a group home shortly upon release. He was 22.
I visited him at the group home and he seemed so distracted and uninterested. He didn’t seem depressed, he seemed like he really couldn’t care less. He keeping looking outside and walking away when I tried to visit with him. He would stare at me blankly sometimes and other times he would just continue on with what he was doing and act if I wasn’t there.
I would bring out my coloring books and eventually he would sit down and color with me. But he still didn’t say much. When I had to go home he would get up and walk to his room without saying good bye.
After more of this I assumed he really didn’t care if I showed up or not. So my visits started fading a bit. I’d go and see him with our parents, but I didn’t go visit him as often. One time I blew him off completely. I had said, “Sure J, I’ll see you next Tuesday.”
When Tuesday rolled around I had gotten in trouble at school and didn’t go. I didn’t go Wednesday, Thursday or any other day. I didn’t think he would notice. That next Sunday when I went with my parents to see my big brother and he didn’t even look at me for a while. He was angry with me.
I told him I had gotten in trouble at school and that was why I missed the days. As the family was leaving the Sunday visit he reached out and took a hold of my arm. He wouldn’t let go for a while. He said, “You NEED to stay out of trouble and come see me.”
Then he handed me a large letter that boiled down to how hurt he was that I had quit coming to see him and how lonely he was sometimes and just because he didn’t say much when I was there, didn’t mean he wasn’t happy I had come.
Just sitting quietly and coloring with him really meant a lot to him. I had mistakenly assumed that just because he didn’t express his emotions, he didn’t have any anymore. That wasn’t the case at all.
Just because our loved ones might not be able to express it, doesn’t mean they don’t care. They are still in there somewhere. We just got to keep working to get them back. Good luck to us all.
Thank you for letting me post.