Last week, my mother kept calling me daily to discuss “ your brother.” Her calls came in at 7.30am every day after church where she “prays for you all.” There is nothing prayerful about her calls as she keeps accusing me of failing to help my brother.
This has been the never-ending conversation since the start of the year.
My younger brother has a drinking problem which has been getting worse over time.
Some years ago, I detected that he was having addiction and truancy issues just after he completed high school. My mother did not think it was a big issue and called a “phase” that would go.
I proposed a rehab and the manager of the facility diagnosed, recommending a one-month stay.
Two weeks later, I went home and was shocked to find him at home, not in the rehab.
“What happened?” I asked my mother. She explained the patient had convinced her he would change his ways after a one-week stay at the facility!
“He told me that after seeing the negative effects of addiction, he would give up the alcohol and drugs.” I was livid with my mother but contained my anger, only saying “Perhaps you could have called me before you made that decision.” I did not want to bother you, she said casually.
From then on, things just went progressively downhill.
My brother’s addiction has got worse and he has been locked up a couple of times.
During the last December holidays, my mother kept calling me that something needs to be done or my brother would die.
To make matters worse, my other siblings joined in the push, saying I had to do indeed act.
The pressure was too much and I found myself snapping: “Listen! Last time I tried to intervene, I was all by myself; you do something this time.”
From the look of things, my siblings have done nothing and so I know that my mother’s calls are going to be about asking me to intervene and I really do not want to.
So, I decided to ignore her calls.
Imagine my shock when a few days later Shiro called me from Dubai and asked: “Why are you doing that to your mother?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked her. “Well, you have been avoiding her and now she tells me she is even sick about it.”
I decided to let Shiro share the details of her conversation.
It turns out my mother claims that she is sick because I have refused to deal with her stress.
She then went on to describe all the things my brother has done.
At the end of it all, I realised that my mother had successfully co-opted Shiro into her crusade to redeem my brother.
Resigned to my fate, I said: “So, what do you want us to do?” She said: “We shall discuss this further? I will come home next week. We will go to the village and chat with your mum about this issue.”
This was not clearly what I had hoped for, but no use fighting a battle I was bound to lose.