But that’s not to say that I believe in vampires, werewolves, or creatures under the bed. No, the monsters that scare me are people who feel there is no escape in life. The ones that give up hope and leave us in the end shaking our heads wandering what, if anything, we could have done differently? You see, all stories in some sense are full of monsters. They come in various shapes- But the stories that leave us trembling, at least for myself, are the stories that die with the one’s that wrote them.
Four years ago today my brother died. There are some that may say his death was the result of his own stupidity. Others will sit aside their judgment and look for a thread of mercy to dangle down. In the end the result is still the same. Death is death.
His monster destroyed him. It left his new wife and unborn child alone with nothing but a picture and a distant memory. His monster- As much as some hate to discuss the truth- Was addiction.
For me it is much different. My brother is my monster.
He is the one that haunts me. He is the one that has caused my heart to skip a beat, pulling the blood from my face, leaving me pale, gasping for breath and in shock. He is the one that has left me time and time again wondering what I could have said or done differently. The truth is, there is little anyone could have done to have made much of a difference.
I have learned a lot since that night when I cried in my wife’s arms. Since I picked up the phone to break the news to my father. I would hope I have grown to be both a better man, husband, and father since that time. Only time will truly tell. But a few honest facts ring true deep from within.
- There is no difference between recreational drugs or prescription drugs. Abuse is abuse and an addict is an addict. Makes no different what the source to satisfy the urge is.
- One needs space, time, and the Love of God to properly grieve and find closure.
- Sometimes there are no warning signs. I don’t care what some “So called expert says.”
The lesson to learn from here is quite simple. The past can be both alive and dead at the same time. It all depends on one’s perspective.
For a long time I thought about the phone calls leading up to his death. How I rushed to get off the phone. How our differences drove us a little further apart. Guilt can be a powerful manipulator. It can cause you to obsess about the “What if” for days and nights at a time. It makes the past alive, and leaves that monster you want to escape from lurking in the corner, controlling you, laughing, stealing everything you have in life.
I was there at one point, and it took a long time to escape the pain and talons of guilt’s clutch.
But with both God, and others, I managed.
It’s amazing how the “What if” changes once you step away from the dark shadows and into the light. The motivation behind questions you would ask if you could journey back and have that last conversation changes so much. Even the questions themselves change.
I have a list of questions I would ask my brother given the chance. For a long time they were about what I deemed was his stupidity. Now that I’ve escaped the shadows- They center on God, life, love, family, and Rated B Movies (A topic we both loved).
But what about you…? John 10:10 says “A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” What is the Thief taking from you…? Is it some regret from the past…? I invite you- Step away from the Shadows and into the light.
It’s okay to glance back every so often while in the light. To think about what could have been. But be careful with those glances, for the shadows lurk and can easily pull one back in.
For in the Shadows you find nothing but sorrow, and in the light, is the fullness of life, in a relationship that only He (Christ) can satisfy.