This I Believe: Family

Mike - Orlando, Florida
Entered on December 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe in the strength of a family, separated or not. It was only this past year that I actually realized this but it has been one of the most influencing realizations in my life. For as long as I can remember, my family has been the backbone of my existence. I could always turn inward for help and come back with a solution but this past year, I had to act as the backbone of my family.

The day my backbone split was the day that my parents told me they had decided they were getting a divorce. On this day I felt I had to step up and become support system that once had held me up and had offered me answers so many times. I was in my room upstairs, somewhat isolated from the rest of the house. I heard my mom yelling and my brother slamming a door shut downstairs, and unsure of what this was, I went to check this out. I asked my mom what was going on only to find out that my brother had confessed to her that he had been using pot for two years. This was as much as a revelation to me as it was to her. The worst part was he was only thirteen at the time so this news was devastating to my mom who had been going through tough times already, financially and with a relationship. She broke down in my lap, and roles then switched with me acting as the parent, comforting her and telling her it was going to be okay.

I kept my composure throughout this day, and assisted my mom in regaining hers. I just kept rationalizing the situation with her and kept telling myself that it could be far worse. This moment has impacted my outlook on life and family. It is reflected on my mental and emotional strength each day and will probably continue to define those aspects of my personality for the rest of my life. I thought for sure this would be the last straw for us all, but we all came together and supported each other. We sought help for my brother and he’s never gone back to do it again. I think the only way that he got healthy was from the support of the family.