Background info: I moved to Central America in 2016. In 2018, two weeks before my brother's passing, my parents and my brother came out to visit me. We were all very excited about the trip. After my brother died I went back to the United States for a month to be with my family and have a service. Then I returned to Nicaragua to continue living the life I had there.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Being back in Nicaragua is good.
It’s refreshing. It’s different.
However, this is the last place I saw my brother.
I hadn’t thought about it until I arrived.
My boyfriend owns a hostel here.
Andrew was ecstatic to come stay in the hostel and meet new people.
We talked about it for months.
He’d never been to a hostel before.
It was a completely new concept to him; to meet people form all over the world, to learn about the places people come from and how similar or different they might be.
My brother always had some social anxiety.
He was excited but nervous.
I spend every day in this hostel.
I replay memories of my brother here over and over again in my head.
I can’t stop.
I see him sitting at the table conversing with the two German brothers.
I see him doing handstands on the deck.
I see him sitting with my parents in the wooden rocking chairs by the pool.
I see him playing beer pong.
Two days ago we went to a beach where my brother surfed his first wave.
He stood up on his first try.
He knew he would. He told us he would.
He was confident about it which is something he never was.
My parents and I cheered with excitement to see him catch his first wave and then his second.
I was so overjoyed that I went out there to join him.
I grabbed my surf board and carefully ran across the rocky shore.
Andrew didn’t like that the beach was so rocky. It hurt his bare feet.
I can still see his face with his eyes squinted shut and his mouth open trying not to say “ow!”
He was always a bit more delicate than me.
I was adaptable and flexible.
I found thrill in being outside of my comfort zone.
Being out of his comfort zone only brought anxiety.
But I was elated to see him catch waves because I thought that it could be
a new hobby for him while he was here.
I thought that maybe it’d distract him from his desire to drug-seek.
It was wishful thinking.
So I grabbed my surfboard and ran to the water.
I paddled out to where he was as fast as possible and congratulated him, unable to contain my excitement.
He didn’t seem to be nearly as delighted as me.
We rode a wave together.
My parents swore they got it on video but my parents also don’t really know how to use their phones.
The video was lost.
That would be our first and last wave together.
Two days ago, when we returned to this beach, he was all I could think about.
I didn’t surf. The waves were monstrous and I was intimidated.
My boyfriend, Horacio, went in the water.
I was nervous for him.
I found a hammock to relax in while he surfed and plugged my headphones in to block out my surroundings.
I made it halfway through one song when I felt my eyes fill up and my nose start to drip.
I couldn’t hold back the tears.
Quickly, I grabbed my belongings and began to walk along the rock-infested beach.
I walked away from everyone, craving solitude.
I found a rockless spot on the beach to lay my blanket.
Before I even got there, I let out an oppressed sigh and the tears rushed to my face.
This wasn’t just a few tears which is what I’d been doing the whole time I was home since I was always surrounded by people, specifically my parents.
I didn’t want to be sad in front of them because they were already destroyed enough. I didn’t want to contribute to the devastation.
This was virtually the first time I had been completely alone since my brother passed away.
I ugly-cried, knowing that nobody was close enough to witness.
Snot poured from my nose. Every time I thought I was finished, more tears came out to play.
I lost all control.
I rolled around on my stomach, kicking and screaming like a child refused candy.
I buried my face in my blanket and wailed, leaving a wet imprint.
This can’t be real.
How can I bring him back?
How did we get here?
Endless thoughts ricocheted in my mind.
Along with the thoughts were my regrets, which are twice as painful.
They’re the things I avoid thinking about, knowing the weight they add to my heart.
A weight that I feel I’ll never lift.
I should’ve spent more time with him while he was here.
I should’ve introduced him to more people.
I shouldn’t have felt ashamed of him.
I should’ve gone out to bars with him more than just the one night.
I should’ve made more attempts to help him feel comfortable.
I should’ve had more patience.
I should’ve suggested more sibling activities.
I should’ve talked to him more.
I am livid with myself.
And these are just regrets that I have from my family’s trip to come visit me.
I have tons more from my entire life but these are the most relevant and cut the deepest because it was so recent.
June 2 they arrived.
We’d spent months planning.
It was right after my brother was released from probation and was allowed to leave PA.
And I fucking sucked when he was here.
Horacio told me that Andrew told him that he knows I love him.
I hope he still felt that way when he left Nicaragua.
Andrew was disappointed. The hostel, usually booked, had few people due to a political crisis plaguing the country.
One day he told. me, “You know this isn’t really what you guys made it out to be.”
And I was annoyed because I felt that he was being selfish - only thinking about himself when all of Nicaragua is suffering.
But I felt bad at the same time because I knew his expectations were high.
I invited him to eat with me and my parents. He said no and that he was going to stay at the hostel and wait for something to happen. “Because that’s the way life should be. Things should just fall into my lap.”
That also annoyed me because of course I disagree. If you want something you need to work for it.
I can’t help but think that if he had enjoyed himself more that maybe he’d still be alive today.
Maybe he’d have been motivated to get better - stop going down the dark path he’d been on for years.
Maybe this trip could’ve been revolutionary for him.
But it wasn’t.
And I feel incredibly guilty.
I was a bad host and I’m furious with myself for acting the way I did.
My last days with him and my only true good memory is that wave we rode together.
“Lost my love, lost my light.
I can’t find them anymore.
If there’s something I could give,
I would’ve given it before now
‘Cause I came back a little broken.
Things don’t fit anymore.”
-John Butler Trio