Irma swept through our area this week with fury and destruction, downgraded from, ultimately, a Category 5 hurricane to a tropical storm by the time we felt the effects. She left debris all over the CSRA. Some, including myself, had trees down, some were left without power, some even had damage to their homes. And I would like to take this time to thank Irma for coming by.
Obviously, I’m not thanking Irma for the destruction that she caused for some people. My thoughts are with all of those who received damage — especially those south of us. Florida will be feeling this for months to come.
The reason I’m thanking Irma is far more self-serving. Not only did Irma make my kids’ rigorous schedule of practices and games cease for a couple of days, giving the wife and me a much-needed break, but we got some company, too. My little brother lives in Effingham County, one of the counties that evacuated because of the storm. My wife and I invited him and his family in to get away from the storm. This may seem like an easy thing to do but, my relationship with my little brother hasn’t always been sunshine and roses.
Without telling all of his business, he’s had a troubled past. Some people may be able to relate. Many of us have a loved one who loses their way and gets mixed up in things they shouldn’t. Some of those loved ones never find their way out of it. I’m happy to say, I think my brother has found his.
His life path has led him to jail on occasion. After serving whatever time he would get, he would get out, hang out with the same crowds, make some more bad decisions and find his way back behind bars. Its a frustrating cycle of which I had all but washed my hands. You know the feeling: “I’ve had it! I’m done with this and won’t let him drag me through this cycle over & over!” However, no matter how much I try to separate myself, it’s my little brother. It killed me to see the life he was living.
The last time he got out of the pokey, I was skeptical. I figured he would do the same thing as always: fly straight for a few months then start with the debauchery again and into find his way into another jumpsuit. Then came Irma.
When my little bro came to stay with us, I feel like I met a new man. I don’t know what it was, but something finally clicked for him. He carried himself differently, spoke differently, was fatherly to his children and talked about how important work was to him. This last bit is huge. I’ve never met a person so allergic to manual labor in my life, which is hard to believe because, after all, I know me. We had some deep conversations, and I discovered that he has new priorities in life — not because he told me, but because I could just see it.
So, this is why I’d like to thank Irma. Thank you for bringing my little brother over so I could see the changes for myself. He’s still got a rough road ahead of him, but now I believe in him. That’s something that I haven’t done in a long time.
For anyone else that may have a friend or family member that struggles the way he has, don’t lose hope. Be sure to talk to someone about it if you need to; more people understand than you realize. Hopefully you’ll see a change in that person, too. And, hopefully, it won’t take a hurricane to see it.