Annual Reflection

This Christmas is going to be one to remember. I am going to see my son for the first time in a year. It was last December this time I saw him last. So much has changed this past year. I have changed so much this past year. This time last year I was broken, hurting and coming off of drugs. I was smoking crack and throwing my life away in Edmonton. I was giving up on everything in my drug induced darkness. I came home to the farm, beginning of November 2010, determined that I had to get into a program for drug addiction. The application was sent to the wrong address and they never received it. I was certain this would help me and was the place for me. But… through a series of events it never happened and I think that was for the best. I came out to Gold River, Vancouver island B.c to visit my father and little brother for Christmas. A few days turned into a few months and one circumstance led to another which led to me getting my own place in Campbell River. Something I did not anticipate and was quite unsure about it – but now have peace over it. For it was the last time I’d get a chance to know my little brother Justin. It was the last Christmas I’d get with him, in 2010, and shortly after, the last birthday I would share of his with him – and he with mine – then in May he had his tragic accident and passed away…

So much has changed in Gold river – while remaining the same. For years I dreamed of a return to Gold river – and in a way these dreams were like nightmares that tormented me. I dreamed of the old friends I left behind, picking up where I left off with them – in high school. In my dreams I was back in school, like I was then before I left so suddenly when I was 16. I dreamed I was searching for them, Matt and Catherine in particular. Two of my best friends at that time. I missed them dearly, and still do… and though I’ve been back to the town that brought us together, I’ve not seen them at all this past year. I have not seen anyone I really knew or was close too, everyone my age and from my classes, have moved on. It’s not at all what I imagined or pictured or had hoped for – and its like I am still waiting for part of those dreams that bothered me to come to life – to become reality. I would very much love for that to be, to be reunited with old friends. Hug them and share the love I have for them still.  I believe in time, I will… I have finally come away from smoking pot. It’s been more than a month now since I’ve stopped, with no desire to smoke it again, despite being stressed out. I was drinking a lot in its place for awhile but have also greatly reduced that – as my sadness over my brothers death has lessened, though I am certainly missing him now, this time of year.

In church the other day, yesterday, I was crying my eyes out for him. Missing him – and my son, But the focus was there on my brother and how hard its going to be to not cry this year – remembering the last few Christmases we spent together. I keep seeing him in my minds eye, the Christmas of  2007, the last one we all spent together as a family together – he handed out the gifts, a tradition that passed down from my dad, through the brothers, and finally, Justin being the youngest, it was now his turn. He wore the Santa had and joyfully passed out gifts and smiled his big smile. I wish I had some pictures of that year now…

Yes Justin will be so missed, but not forgotten and I hope the family feels as I feel, to pay a moment of respect to him, to remember him – to talk about him and share a memory of him. So he will be with us – and yes I am sue I will cry and the family will mourn, but it will be in happiness and in love of him. We miss him so much. I love you my dear brother Justin. Rest well in heaven, along side God and all the angels this Christmas, may it be an amazing Christmas for you too, with he Father in heaven.

We rarely see tragedies coming… I remember in 2007 how I spoke to the family, stood up in front of them and played the little drummer boy, talked about God and how I saw God working in our family. I stated it was Miracle that we were all still alive and still together, a family so big. We were blessed. And it was true, we were blessed as many families experience the loss of loved ones, all too soon sometimes. Now Justin is Gone, he is passed on… because he chose to drink. Simply put – alcohol killed my little brother. The very thing that made him the way he was, his disabilities given to him thanks to drinking during pregnancy Curse the evil stuff! It is pure evil and brings out the worse in us. In my brother it brought out schizophrenia and made him a dual personality. He got too drunk and confused and that’s what led to his death. Sadly, we did see this one coming, at least my father did. He warned Justin and his friends, and even I for years would have the thought, that I could not bare to lose my little brother. How cruelly ironic that it came to pass that my father was right.

This is one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to deal with. But God gives me strength and courage to go on, to live life fully and to be blessed. I will write and use my talents, speak and be a Godly man, kick my bad habits and change my life and change the lives of others who were like Justin, or who struggle with addictions, that kill people everyday, even if their death is not immediate, it is surely killing them. Hang onto your loved ones this year, be safe and drink responsibly and celebratory; not to just be drunk.

May you all be blessed in the new year, make wise choices and grow closer to those you love.

Merry Christmas and happy new year!