I wonder if it’s possible to be crazy and not know it. I think I am a caring person, but considering all the arguments I’ve been getting in lately with my siblings, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the one who isn’t tracking on all synapses.
I don’t, of course, really think I’m crazy, evil, manipulative, contrary, witchy, or any of the other things people have accused me of being recently, but I have to concede the possibility. My theory has always been that people project their own characteristics onto others, and so whatever people tell me I am, it gives me an idea of who they are. And yet . . . how well do we really know ourselves?
I’ve been trying to get my problem brother back to Colorado because the sister who has come to help with my father insists that he goes or she goes. I cannot take care of the elderly man by myself, and so I am conceding to her wishes that my brother leaves. Most of my family want him gone, not just out of this house but out of their lives. Some think he is the source of all the contention in the family, and perhaps it’s true. It’s also possible my brother holds us together because he is the universal scapegoat.
None of my siblings care that he is being forced back onto the street in this hellishly hot place. But I do. I know there will never be a good place for him, not here, not anywhere, but he should at least be with his things that are stored in Colorado. But he is resisting my efforts — he thinks I am manipulative and only want to see him dead.
I am under a deadline (not the lethal kind) to get him out of here before my sister puts a restraining order in place with the help of a social worker, and yet she claims I want him out of here for me, not her. I don’t get how she thinks, and so I wonder if I’m crazy. I suppose getting him back to Colorado is for me in a way — I cannot bear to simply throw him out like so much garbage. Despite his nastiness, schizophrenia, alcoholism, he is a person. Are we only to try to help those who are worthy of our help? I am tired of his abuse, but after fourteen months, I can wait another week or two or three. But she can’t.
And so tomorrow I pick up a rental car big enough for him and his stuff, though I have no real hope of his ever making the effort to finish packing and letting me take him to the cooler (yet no more comforting) streets of northern Colorado. It will be wasted money, and I will find no comfort in the thought that at least I tried.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.