It's humbling to know that your brother picks up tin or scrap metal along the side of the road for an income. He brings a meaning most of us really don't know to the word 'frugal.'
His road has not been an easy one, yet I wonder at times how different life might be if your focus is as laser-sharp as his now seems to be. Most of his time is centered on staying sober. The in-between moments are filled with stretching his few dollars and concern for friends who are in similar boats.
At Thanksgiving, Kelley said out loud that he was thankful for being alive. Being grateful for anything has never been easy for Kelley, and I believe his whole world must look a lot different now that he recognizes-- he's here.
I have not been a good sister to Kelley. Frankly, I have always been a bit scared of him. He was either angry or drunk and this doesn't do much for relationship building.
My baby brother has looked after him in years past by pulling him out of this bar or that and taking him home. Had I been around, I am not sure I could have done that. If I did, I am ashamed to admit that my concern for others would have been greater than the concern I felt for Kelley.
To appease my bad-sister conscience, I like to imagine a web of energy that connects me to Kelley. Right now I have a direct line that is running from Winona to Sioux City and it follows him on his countless walks to meetings, the grocery, or metal hunting, all the while sending little messages.
"Yes, you can do it. You are doing it."
"Yes. I do love you. I always have."
"Your new friends are lucky to have you."
"Keep it up, Kelley."
Maybe it's a cop-out, but it's what I have for now. It's a start.