“My Brother’s Eulogy”

My brother did not have an easy time of things. He was, as most of you know, an alcoholic. Like all of us he faced problems and situations throughout his life that were both challenging and demanding. Some he brought upon himself. Like all of us he would evaluate the situation and create a plan of action, but unlike most of us who take steps to follow our plan and move forward, my brother did not.
Instead, the more he thought about what he needed to do to work through a particular situation, the more depressed he became, eventually seeking comfort  from his old friend’s Smirnoff and Bud. Time after time they became the solution to his problems until the solution became the biggest problem of his life.
My brother was very talented. He had so much untapped potential. As a teenager he exhibited a natural ability for freehand drawing . I remember the first time I saw some of his art. He was about 19 and just out of high school. I’d stopped by the house and had gone back to his room to talk to him. As I entered his room I noticed two life size sketches on his rough textured closet doors and believe me they were very good.
As I admired the works I asked him which of his friends had drawn them. He told me he had done them that morning using some broken pieces of Kingsford charcoal! At first I laughed and didn’t believe him, but then noticed that his hands were black and his clothes were stained with charcoal. I’ll tell you, I was amazed! I remember telling him how good I thought they were and asked if he had any more drawings I could look at. He shared some of his other work with me, they were incredible and rich in detail. I encouraged him to look into art school and do something with his talent.
A few years later, after I had returned to college and was working part time for Canyon City Florist, Ted came to work for us as a delivery driver. In no time at all we were hiring another driver because Ted had demonstrated his artistic abilities as a floral designer. His work was amazing! Even Taylor, the shop owner and designer who had a degree in ornamental horticulture, couldn’t believe that Ted had picked up on designing as quickly as he had. I tell you my brother was a very talented individual! Again I encouraged him to pursue a career utilizing his talents. There was even some serious consideration in the family about possibly opening a small flower shop with Ted as the lead designer, but that didn’t happen, his problem resurfaced and put an end to that idea.
The last time I spoke to my brother was in November. It broke my heart, but I continued to employ the tough love that the family had agreed to use in dealing with him. I told him that we would all be there to support him if he would just get the help he needed and commit to a program. I assured him that we would do whatever we could and be there to support him when he got out. He simply said that he would try and hung up.  I feel awful for not being there for my brother, I know he was a tormented soul, but he needed to come to terms with his illness. Tough love was our way of trying to sway him in the right direction.  Now he’s gone.
This is not what we wanted, this is not the resolution we were looking for. We wanted Ted to get the help he needed. We wanted Ted healthy and back in our lives again. He had such potential and was such a different man when he was on the sober road. I loved to see him happy and enjoying life rather than loathing it and hiding from it.
I loved my brother, even though he probably didn’t think so, I simply didn’t like what he’d become. I will not miss the loud angry, Ted, that he turned into when he was drinking, for that was not my brother.
I will miss the kind and considerate brother he could be, the big hearted teddy bear full of hugs, love and laughter. The little brother I hoped and prayed he would one day be again. It is that brother that I will truly miss.
I love you little brother, You will always be in my heart.
I hope you have found peace at last.
Give mom a hug for me…
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5 Responses to “My Brother’s Eulogy”

  1. sally jean ramirez-navarro says:

    dear johnny, i was sad to hear about the passing of YOUR BROTHER TEDDY. my heart goes out to you, your dear father and my sweet friend COOKIE. i can only imagine what your family is going through. i remember growing up how close your family was and how your dear mother was so proud of all of you. i can still remember the sound of her voice and how friendly she was with everyone. i’m sure TEDDY knew how much you all loved him but he wasnt capable of breaking his addiction even though i’m sure he would of – if he could have. MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND ALL OF YOU AT THIS TIME OF LOSS AND BRING YOU PEACE OF MIND AND HEART. SINCERELY YOUR FAMILY FRIEND , SALLY JEAN RAMIREZ-NAVARRO

  2. Carlos says:

    Mr. Saucedo,

    From the moment I first read about your brother’s passing and your subsequent comments in the newspaper, I couldn’t help but feel how heartless and insensitive a brother could possibly be. How even at the very final moments you could be so unforgiving and express such anger for your own brother. After I was finished reading the newspaper article, I felt sad, angry, resentful and the desperate need to shake another human being into realizing the error of his ways.

    I could not believe how someone else could feel what and how I’ve felt so many times and for so long about my own brother’s destructive ways. For those that cannot understand such feelings, I say the following. That anger, hatred and resentment is felt for that monster that has consumed your loved one. And yes, ultimately whether you like it or not, you can’t help but despise your own brother for hurting someone you love so very much (himself). You hate him for not caring and loving himself as much as you care and love him. I’m a grown man in my late forties who still cries in silence with a sense of desperation. I too have a younger brother in his mid forties that has for many years been fighting addiction and hurting himself. My brother, like yours, is also a very loving, caring and incredibly talented individual. And I too, have, recently resorted to the tough love approach. I haven’t heard from or of him in about six months.

    Maybe its more of a selfish approach than a productive one but there is just so much the heart can take. We too (the addict’s loved ones) have lives, responsibilities and many others who depend on our emotional and mental well being. How long could you possibly plead him or her to stop hurting themselves?

    John, I started reading your blog and to be honest you, I didn’t finish it. The grown man was once again brought to tears. It was like seeing inside of me. The sadness, anger, hatred and resentment came over me. I feel for your loss dear brother, may you and yours now feel a sense of comfort knowing that the monster will longer hurt your dear little brother.

    Thank you for sharing John………

    This message is dedicated to MY, dear little brother;
    I wish sooner than later you realize how beautiful life can be and how much you’ve been missing. I wish one day you see yourself as we see you and come to understand that life is full of trials which should make us stronger and bring us together, not break us apart. Most of all, I really hope someday, before your untimely death, you get to realize just how much I’ve always loved you and wish you were a part of my life.

    I love you and miss you, “querido hermano”

  3. Bruce says:

    John,

    I was sorry to hear of Ted’s passing. I’ve seen him nearly every day at some point for the last few years. He would stop by my store and ask me to sponsor him…If I dared. I always told him that I would, but he would need to quit drinking first. As you know, you can lead a horse to water…

    I met Ted years ago at some meetings at the Alano Club in Covina. He was doing well then. I believe he had about a year, then stayed sober possibly another 4-5 years. He worked for a roofer from the club and apparently was doing well. He looked very much like the picture you attached above.

    It’s sad to see a life that goes to waste when they know there is another way, but addiction is a hard road. My brother passed recently as well back in November. While he had a heart attack, there was an excellent chance that it was brought on by something else.

    I know that you were there for him if he wanted help, he told me as much. I sat with him for about 2 hours just a day or so before he was found out behind my store. He talked about what he was going to do…someday…when he got sober again. But he also told me that he just wasn’t ready. If I could’ve wrapped up recovery in a basket and given it to him I gladly would have.

    My condolences for your loss…

    Bruce

    • contento49 says:

      Thanks Bruce, I know he had a lot of hope for the future I found evidence of that when my dad and I were going through his things, lots of recent self help literature and the like, I only wish he had been ready. It was difficult doing the tough love thing with him. But we all wanted the sober Ted back. Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate it. I will share your post with my family.
      Thanks for being a friend to him.

      John

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