His Wounds Were Far Too Deep

March 10, 2009
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POISON
Our family was ok, nothing was going wrong,
Until you started to hang out with the bad crowd, and then the poison came along.
At first we didn't notice, at first it didn't show,
Until you were addicted, who would ever know?
It sunk into your body, it sunk into your mind,
You acted like it didn't, you acted like it was fine.
Things started missing, especially the person I looked up to and loved,
You were like a rock, your life crashing down with a thud.
We had to do something so the poison wouldn't get worse,
We needed to stop it but you wanted to quench your thirst.
The poison has control of you and still might now,
But you are doing better and still I wonder how.
You can be so strong, when others would be weak,
I can see the poison draining out of you, please just take a peek.






I wrote that poem about my brother for English class in eighth grade. I did not fully understand what was happening inside my brother until I was about ten. My mother explained to me that our family has a history of problems with drug addiction and that it was what was in Jacob's genes that made him act the way he did. My father always tells me that all three of his children are intelligent but that Jake was blessed with unbelievable gifts. I remember Jake was always amazing at whatever he did. When he was fourteen he had a job teaching kids older than him how to play lacrosse, and he could throw a baseball faster than nearly all of the kids in his baseball league. Jake also did not have to work hard to succeed; he got always straight A's in school and everyone absolutely loved him, myself in particular, because he was hilarious and knew how to make anyone laugh. Out of all of the members of my family I have always felt the closest to him because there was always just an oldest brother/youngest sister connection present. I looked up to him, followed him around, and thought he was the coolest kid on the planet because he listened to Nirvana and went to skate parks. He always was protective of me and I just enjoyed having him around.

Being four and six years younger then my brothers I could not really join in their competitive games, especially considering they usually ended in fighting. I would watch Jake and Sam throw snowballs from the side line, but I did not mind because I had a special duty to perform. Every so often Jake would pretend that he was critically injured from the snowball Sam had thrown and would run dramatically over to me. Jake would ask me to fix the arm that had been hit while pretending to be in agony. I would pat his arm with even more snow and give it a kiss, thinking that a kiss could cure any devastating wound. Jake would thank me, acting like I had performed a miracle in curing his pain and would continue on back to the game. As we grew older I wished I could cure the poison with a kiss on the arm, but I soon realized that his wounds were far too deep.

When my brother was in seventh grade my parents took him out private school and allowed him to attend a public Middle School, where there were more kids and more difficult academics. Half way through the year there was a change in Jake; his A's had turned to D's and he developed mood swings during which he would get angry for no reason. Jake never invited any of his old friends over anymore and he started to hang out with a new group that my mother always described as being 'shady.' I did not know why my parents were arguing and yelling at Jake all of the time. I thought I did something wrong; Jake did not talk to me or hang out with me like he used to.

Over the course of four years I watched my brother change into a stranger that I did not know anymore. I was in third grade when I heard my mother screaming at Jake one night. I heard Jake slam his bedroom door shut and a few minutes later shatter his window. He ran down the stairs crying with mixed emotions of anger and grief, holding a hand that was shedding blood and had glass embedded in its palm. I was overwhelmed as I watched my brother fall to his knees and saw tears stream from my mother's eyes as she picked him up and walked him to the car.

I began to see less of Jake the summer of his freshman year and even less during his sophomore year. When I did see Jake, however, I always saw his friend Dan. Every time Jake was home it seemed that Dan was with him, and wherever we went, Dan was with us. He had even stopped calling me Maria and started calling me sister, the nickname Sam and Jake had come up with for me. It was during Jake's sophomore year that I found out what marijuana was and that my brother was using it. One day I went into the shed to get my bike; as I opened the door I saw a cloud of smoke and the figures of several boys and my brother Jake. He yelled at me to go away and closed the doors quickly. He later bribed me with money in an attempt to get me to keep my mouth shut, but I told my mother anyways. Later that week she found 'pot' in his room. I had never seen my mom so angry in my life, and Jake was grounded for an extended period of time. That weekend Jake begged my mother to let him go out with Dan, but she did not budge even though she rarely ever held to her punishments. It was about one o'clock in the morning when my mother received the call from her best friend Mrs. Solomon. Dan and Jake's other friend Jack's car slid while speeding and crashed into a tree. Both died that night in March at age sixteen. Jake went to both of their funerals, but we never talked about what had happened after that.

Jake became more and more emotionally unstable, and had started getting himself into harder drugs. It was during this time that my parents decided to pull him out of high school and to send him to a rehabilitation facility located in the city. Jake did not stay there very long, and he soon he moved to Minnesota to get help there. After a few months in Minnesota he moved back to Buffalo. From there he continued to hop from half way house to half way house.

Jake continually cleans up but shortly thereafter hits rock bottom. I do not blame Jake for his continual struggles with addiction, because his emotional instability and the drugs he took to feel normal turned him into a different person and completely took control of his body. Because of him I learned how poisonous drugs are and how difficult it is to keep away from them once you have started. A person stops maturing at the age in which they start using drugs, and because of this I feel family roles have been flipped between the two of us. I am now the older sister trying to care for and protect the thirteen year old boy stuck in a twenty-one year old body. I know it is a battle to stay away from drug abuse, and currently Jake has his G.E.D, a full-time job, and seems to have been clean for a few months. Even though his wounds may never be healed, I am and always will be thankful to have him as a brother. My father once told me God has a plan for Jake, for if he did not he would not still be here. I believe him.





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