Steven was my only brother, my only sibling. We grew up in a military family, and moved all the time. We were always leaving friends behind, but we always had each other. I love my brother very much. I was five years older than him, so I was always "in charge". I had to look out for him, baby sit for him, and be the "big sister". Steven always seemed to have a hard life. He didn't know what he wanted to do. He had no way to pay for college, he worked at jobs he hated, and he was lonely a lot. He got in some trouble with the law when he was a teenager, and that just haunted him the rest of his life. It is hard when you have a criminal record that follows you wherever you go, forever. It makes it hard to get a good job later down the road. It just messes up your whole life. Steven so desperately wanted to turn his life around. He was afraid of making me and our mom disappointed in him. He cared a lot about what we thought about him. Steven suffered from depression. He wanted to get help for that, but he had no insurance. It seemed that there was no one willing to help him, or direct him to any kind of help. I think that is one of the reasons that Steven turned to drugs and alcohol. I remember him admitting to me that he had done every drug out there and I was shocked, and yet somehow I just knew. But the thought of him using heroin just really hurt me. The thought of needle marks on his arms just makes me sick. I was afraid my brother would die. I knew what a dangerous life he was leading. Every time I wouldn't hear from him for a few days, I would start to worry. He was living in Seattle and the drugs were just rampant. He finally couldn't take it anymore. He was afraid for his life and missed his family, so he moved back to the east coast. He stayed for about 5 months. During that time, Steven was clean from heroin and cocaine. We saw each other at least once a week. We hung out, we went to the movies, we went the mall, we wentout to eat, and we just had fun. But I think he started to miss Seattle and the drugs. It was like a magnet and he insisted on moving back. I remember telling my mom, "I'm afraid that if he moves back there, I will never see him again", and I was right. I got the call when I was driving with my 3 kids in the car to go see their grandma. My mom called me and sounded upset; she said I needed to come over. I asked her if it was about Steven, and she said, "Why? Did you talk to him?" She sounded weird, frantic, but calm. I knew something was wrong because she wouldn't tell me over the phone and she said, "Honey, just come over." I remember walking into her house and she just had this look on her face. She had a look of shock, sadness, and pity. She didn't want to be the one to tell me. My step-dad brought me into the living room and made me sit down, and said "Steven died." The week that followed went by in a hazy flash. We had to "tour" cemeteries, look at casket catalogs, buy memorial flowers, and pick out clothes for my brother to be buried in. And then we had to see him, lying in a casket. They put so much make-up on Steven so he would have a "natural" appearance. They sealed his lips shut. His skin was so terribly cold. I wanted to go home, but it was so hard to leave him. I didn't want to say goodbye. That was the last time I ever saw my brother. It has been two months exactly and I still can't believe it. It is so hard to accept. I think about him everyday. Sometimes I expect him to call me, and then I remember he is gone. I am so incredibly sad, but I still have to be a wife, and a mother, and that can be difficult when experiencing so much pain. Steven was a drug addict. But he didn't deserve to die. He was funny, and quiet, and thoughtful. He loved animals, and cartoons. He loved Christmas and music. He loved his family. He was my brother. He is my brother.
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