My mom asked me not to tell anyone about this. Mom, if you read this, know that my intentions are good.
If you're wondering about my brother, he's in jail. I don't know how long he's going to be there, but he won't be at Thanksgiving dinner this week. When you ask my mom where he is, she's going to say, "He's at a friends house" or "he eating somewhere else" or "I don't think he's going to make an appearance today". She won't say "he's in jail". He's embarrassed. She's embarrassed. It's all a vicious cycle.
He's had problems for years, and he's never been able to handle them well, and a lot of his bad choices are starting to catch up with him. Sometimes, I think he's a really bad person. When he's fucked up, which is just about all the time, he is a bad person. I try to remind myself that it's the drugs; it's not my brother that steals and lies and cheats. But I have a hard time liking him when I spend too much time thinking about the things he's done.
And my parents. Oh my goodness, my poor parents. They've given every ounce of everything they have to try to help him. They've paid for therapy and attorneys and rehab...and still, here we are; there he is. Their hearts have been broken so many times I sometimes wonder if they'll ever fully recover from the damage the last 5 years have done. Momma is so sad. Daddy is heartbroken. I know they're doing what I do; they're picturing that adorable little redhead that strummed an invisible guitar and tapped his little foot every time someone started singing "doo doo doo doo doodle doo doo, dooo doo dooodle doodle doodle doodle doo!". They're wondering how that little boy became this "man" who can't tell the truth and would prefer to take what you've got rather than ask you for it. This "man" with a drug habit to support.
How did we get here? I don't know, and at this point, it doesn't matter. Reality is catching up with my little brother, and my parents, my mother especially, are afraid the world is going to point a big fat accusatory finger at them and scream YOU DID THIS!!! YOU FUCKED UP!!!
If you see my mom, don't ask about my brother. If you must ask about him to be polite, accept her explanation with the comfort of knowing she's carefully considered her answer to make sure she's not lying to you, even if she's not exactly telling the truth.
Don't blame her; this is not her fault. Don't blame my dad; he didn't cause this either. They both have been nothing more than loving and supportive, and everything they've done has been only with the intention of helping my brother become a man, a good person, a productive member of society. If that hasn't happened yet, it's not due to lack of effort on their part.
Don't badmouth my brother. Yes, this is his fault, but you pointing it out isn't going to make it any easier on anyone, and it'll hurt my parents even more.
Let's just not talk about him, okay? Let them get through this with minimal trauma; it's pretty fucking traumatic without having to rehash it all with everyone, you know?