My family is, as most are, a bit dysfunctional. Mom and Dad are still married to each other (45 years next month), and I have four younger brothers. There is no doubt they all love me, and for the most part we get along well. But I never get a call on any holiday, including my birthday; they skip visiting when they’re less than an hour away, and when they do visit are apt to dump the kids here and go elsewhere. Basically I don’t exist unless someone needs something.

The email reads in part:

David (not his real name) went to court Monday; he got four months in Tarrant county. I’m sure you’re on his visitors list.

David is my youngest brother, and we’ve been here before. He’s in jail again, this time for a probation violation and DUI. (It’s the DUI part that keeps him in trouble.) I love him with all my heart, but there is nothing I can do for him, except maybe visit. I’m angry, but not at him. It hurts to see him there and I don’t want to go. It’s not fair or right that they would ask.

As I’ve said, we’ve been here before. Two years ago I got a phone call, David’s in jail. Can you…? I made the calls, found him a lawyer, paid the lawyer, visited him every Saturday afternoon, and cried every Saturday night. When he got out I let him stay here, fed, clothed, took him to church, and made sure he got to his probation visits, until he could get transferred to Missouri. All of this put a lot of stress on my family, finances, and marriage.

They came and got him and took him home, and no one asked my opinion. They didn’t ask my opinion when they let him bring liquor into the house and get stupid drunk, or when they turned him loose with a truck that was in my mother’s name. They didn’t ask my opinion when they made everything too easy for him, instead of holding him accountable for his actions. They’re not asking my opinion now either, just giving me a list if things they think I should do.

And all I can do is sit here, cry, and write about it, knowing damn well I’ll be headed for the jail Saturday morning before work. Then I’ll cry all the way home.