Sometimes I wonder where he would be had his mental illness never set-in. He’s 21 years old, and the last 6 years of his life have been exhausted in splintering mental anguish. I can sense his frustration; his teenage years robbed from him by way of his mind. At times I feel as if I have a better grip on how he feels than any of his psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. Better than our parents. Kevin is my brother, and he has a type of schizophrenia. He has delusions, a lack of emotions, and he socially isolates himself. Kev lost curiosity in most activities he was once involved with.
Catching Kevin smiling is a rare sight. It’s a rare sight, but it is an optimism that keeps me, my other brother, and my mother and father hopeful. Kevin has the most heart-warming smile in the entire world. I try, day to day, to get caught up in Kevin’s life. I try, day to day, to make him shine off one of those smiles for everyone to witness. I try to be his brother, his best friend.
One thing that Kevin responds to above anything else is family. Old pictures of Christmas morning; our parents sitting on the green sofa, drinking coffee while us three brothers anxiously waited until the picture was snapped so we could tear open more presents and show off our new belongings to each other. Kev will gaze at these pictures, as if attempting to experience the feeling that was once there.
Replicating those feelings is unquestionably one of the most important things to help my brother. Nothing is more healing in life than the presence of family. Family gatherings, where uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents, cousins, brothers and sisters can make one another burst with laughter and create good times, are the most significant events any human being can ever experience.
Family heals. This, I believe.