Nothing wrecks your heart like remembering the bad times.
I do remember the good times, I really do... but the bad times are what made me who I am. Because when you grow up with two brother who do heroin (among other things), parents who are divorced (shortly after they adopted you. Know it's not my fault... but that knowledge is hard won) and a family that is unable to cope at times... it's those bad times that really stand out.
I cherish every second I got to play softball with my dad and basketball with my brothers, but what I remember the most was being woken up at 2am to go bail my big brother out of jail. I love every smile that big brother gave me but it doesn't change who i am and what I've seen and heard. They had problems and like it or not I grew up with those problems as my own. Or at least as part of my day to day life. I might not have done the drugs but I grew up with them looming over me.
It hurts when I think about. But without it... I would be a rotten person. I take a lot of granted still and I act like I'm an air head a lot of the time. But in all honesty if I can't joke about things and see what good came out of spending my childhood worrying about if I would ever see my family together again I think I would spend my adult life crying about it.
One day about ten years ago I was told my brothers had overdosed and died... but were revived. They overdosed together in a hotel room that is now just barely down the street from where my two best friends live. The next two years were both the hardest and best of my life. Best because I finally saw them healthy; struggling but healthy and worst because just getting out of elementary school I had to be the one to comfort my family. And I had to grow up and do that fast.
When I see my brothers (One is 5 years sober this Wednesday and the other is 11years sober in July) I thank the paramedics that saved their life every time I see them smile. I my parents for joking with me about it and teaching me to see a lighter side. I even thank the counselors and teachers at school... because even though I don't feel they made a huge difference they gave me another way to cope and a bit of backbone.
I feel older than I am. Much older, but that's because I saw rock bottom and knew what it felt like to lose everything before I was stepped foot in junior high. My first memories are of a broken home that I desperately wanted to keep together. I watched my parents cry when they didn't realize I could see it and I held them when they did.
I spent years of my life in NA and AA meetings watching every person regret missing time with their family and recall things I was told by men that probably died years ago. I lived through things nobody should ever have to see or hear.
And I did it all with a smile.
Yes I hurt because of this and it made me who I am today. I'm 24 years old and this defines me as much as any happy memory I have... if not more so.
But right now... I'm just a happy little sister that is thrilled to see her oldest brother reach 5 years sober tomorrow. A little sister who counts herself lucky that she didn't turn a blind eye when he showed up intoxicated to lunch a little over 5 years ago and who intervened with her family to see him go back to rehab.
He's a stronger person than I could ever be, even if we had to help him reach that point. And I love both of my big brothers for fighting to see the day that I dyed my hair pink and my dad shrugged it off and told me "Your brothers were worse."