And a burden was lifted…

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

My brother Jay never claimed he was innocent.

He has, from what I’ve been told, been extremely forthcoming since the night of his arrest about the crimes he committed.  He told us, at the time, that it was a relief to finally have everything out in the open.  The first time  I heard that, I wept at the thought of the guilt he’d been carrying with him, and for the realization that I had no hope of innocence to cling to.

When I went to visit him, the first thing I said over the phone on my side of the glass was that I loved him.  He lowered his eyes, unable to face me, and cried.  Without saying a word, I knew he was feeling the guilt and shame of being loved when you don’t believe you deserve it.  I know, personally, that weight that has to crush you before it can finally give you peace.  It broke my heart to watch the waves of shame wash over him and not be able to put my arms around him.  But I was grateful, at least, that I could be there still when he was finally able to look back up at me.  I told him I loved him again, and he didn’t need to look away.

That moment passed.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve watched from afar as Jay struggled against the truth.  The whole truth.  While he willingly told his own story, content to bear the consequences for his actions, he twisted and turned and tied himself up in knots in order to protect himself from the pain of “betraying” other people he cared about.

Half truths.  Half lies.  Desperate attempts to rewrite history in order to have some control over the future.

The relationship between Jay and my mother began to unravel, as relationships do when you try to pad them with manipulation and fabrications.

I saw the markings of a con man in my little brother.  I saw the tell tale signs of the career criminals we grew up around who share just enough to make everything “OK” without ever really carrying the full burden of their mistakes.  I watched the little boy I knew disappear into a cloud of smoke and mirrors and feared for what that would mean for his unborn child.

I thought maybe all the love that we could give him would never be enough.

And then the dam broke.

After a long phone conversation with my mom’s husband this weekend, Jay finally broke.  Really broke.

He told the truth.  The whole truth this time, despite knowing all that it might cost him in terms of what he’d come to see as “love” and “support”.  Regardless of the unknown consequences, he surrendered completely.

Specifically, he finally talked to the investigators about everything and everyone that was involved in the robberies.

And the truth, it seems, has indeed, set him free.

He talked to my mom yesterday and said “It was really hard to do, but as soon as it was over I knew it was the right thing.”

The burden has been lifted from him.  He is still facing the same consequences he was last week – years, probably, of a life behind bars.  But now he faces those consequences with a clear conscience and an open heart.  And that, I believe, will make all the difference in who he is when those years have passed.

I can breathe again.

The man who held my babies in his arms lives.  The soft hearted boy I loved and protected as a child still exists inside that man.

The kind of love that I have feared would never been enough has, at last, triumphed over the mystical green ooze.

And my hope has been restored.

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  1. avitable says:

    I’m glad that you were able to have your faith restored like that. I always knew that the influence of you and your mom would be much better than anything passed down by blood from his father, and I’m glad that Jay was able to demonstrate that to you.

  2. Nanna says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  3. Kristin says:

    Thank goodness!

  4. paula says:

    i’m so glad for you and your family britt :)
    that he decided to finally tell the whole truth is great for all of you, particularlly for him

  5. wonderfully written.

    and, for what it is worth, i’m still praying for all involved. much love to you all.

  6. Lee says:

    Still thinking of you and your family but I glad a small glimmer still shines

  7. suze says:

    I’m so glad for all of you.

  8. Sometimes you really have to hit rock bottom in order to change.
    He must feel like 100 pounds of weight has been lifted off his chest.

  9. Laurie says:

    I am sure you (and he) feel as though the fog has lifted. I am sorry you are all going through this. Thank you for bravely sharing your story.

  10. I’m happy for him, and for you. The truth, no matter how ugly will for sure set you free. Sounds like he needed some love & faith too. (hug)

  11. sisjake says:

    If Jay is a first offender he should get a lighter sentence for having cooperated. Judges don’t like having their courtrooms tied up by defendants who don’t admit guilt, even when the guilt is so obvious. He will learn from this experience, and can move ahead once he pays any debt to society that the judge orders. Keep supporting him, he will have future “down” days.

  12. Chibi Jeebs says:

    I’m glad he was able to tell the whole truth; I know it’s trite (and I apologize for that), but the only person he was hurting by hiding details was himself – it’s SO bloody hard to live with half-truths.

    “…I knew he was feeling the guilt and shame of being loved when you don’t believe you deserve it.”

    That one got me in the gut. We went through this with my brother: he honestly thought what he did – what could have happened – was unforgivable. He struggled with that (and went through a pretty rough depression) for a long time. All you can do is love him.

  13. Darla says:

    I can understand him wanting to protect the people he loves.

    The worst part about lying is that you have to become someone you are not in order to keep the lie alive. And that eats at and eventually destroys your soul.

    I’m glad his soul is being restored. As is your hope. :)

  14. sue says:

    Hugs and prayers still coming your way. I’m so glad he unburdened himself…and restored your faith in him.

  15. Micki says:

    Though, as you said, it probably won’t change the outcome, I am sure that having healed the rift between him and your mom has helped tremendously. My heart hurts for your family… I admire your courage to share and hope that it all turns out as well as it possibly can.

  16. Sybil Law says:

    Restored hope and burdens lifted is indeed a wonderful thing.
    Best of luck to you and Jay and everyone else. You’ve got the important stuff already – love and support.

  17. NaysWay says:

    I know you don’t want to see him come to these realizations in that place, but I know I don’t have to tell you how great it is he got there sooner rather than later. Although… I just did. Crap. Sorry. :)

  18. Kelley says:

    Sending warm thoughts and prayers to your family Britt…as always.

  19. eggplant43 says:

    First, you brought tears to my eyes by telling this story of redemption. I believe that the person to whom we lie the most is ourself,and I believe that Jay stopped lying to himself, when he decided to tell it all. That will be the foundation of his road to recovery.

    I have always enjoyed your writing, this however was stellar.

  20. mel says:

    Good for him. I’m glad you continue to have faith and continue to support him. hugs.

  21. Nyt says:

    Reading along, both here and at your Mom’s blog. I’m struck by something. And of course, the reader never knows the whole story, but it appears that in rescuing your brother from the “ooze”, two more have been claimed by it. Without arguing culpability, his whole truth will more than likely cost the mother of his child her livelihood and their child a somewhat “regular” start in life. I wonder where you are with that.

    I agree that confession is good for the soul and that joy has difficulty penetrating the dark without the light of truth. But I can’t help but wonder. To what end? There currently appears to be no other benefit other than the cleansing of one man’s soul. While saving a single soul is nothing to sneeze at, I just can’t help wondering about the other souls… the ones that weren’t saved, the one that had no choice…

    • sandra says:

      @Nyt, I wouldn’t say two more have been claimed by the ooze, at all. Quite the opposite, actually; I’d say that having a father who has faced his demons — and likely a mother who will have to face hers — will teach that child more about how to live an honorable life than having a mother with “her livelihood.”

      Also, I don’t know how any child could possibly *not* resent one parent for letting the other take the fall for a crime. Living a dishonest life will always result in the dishonesty coming back to bite that person in the ass in the long run — regardless of whether or not the short-term is easier.

      • Nyt says:

        @sandra, That’s the ending everyone hopes for. It’s not always the ending that comes to pass. Parenting is a high-stakes crap shoot and it takes many, many years before the dice stop rolling. There’s no predicting the future, there’s merely playing the odds.

      • Hilly says:

        @sandra, I could not agree more with this reasoning, to be honest. I started out wondering myself how this would affect the woman and the unborn child but seriously, how can one raise a good child on a card house of lies that could tumble any moment? I just don’t see that being a positive thing.

    • Nanna says:

      @Nyt, Actually, what we do or don’t do won’t cost “the mother” her livelihood. It is what SHE did that may do so.

      Certainly, it is not what we wanted for EITHER of them – you have to realize that we love BOTH of them – but with every beat of our hearts, we believe that the very best thing is for everyone to own up to their actions, take responsibility, take their licks and move on.

      • Nyt says:

        @Nanna, I’m positive in my heart of hearts that none of you wanted any of this for either of them. Nor am I knocking anything that you might do for your family. In my earlier post I said, I’m not arguing, debating or questioning culpability. I was just struck by the idea that while your son’s unburdening of his soul may be good for him, it may cast this woman and his child farther into the abyss that you all fought so hard to stay away from.

        As readers, we only know that which is written. As parents, we only know what our children tell us, as spouses we only know what our spouse tells us. The rest? The rest is faith, and choice. If you choose to place your faith in “whole” truth being the best thing, then it most definitely is the best thing. For you and for your family. It is, after all, your path to walk.

    • 2stinkinQt says:

      @Nyt, I agree with you. This kid is batting zero right out of the womb. Seems like a smart choice would of been to spare the Mom. What do we gain from her being in prison? Raising another Parentless child?I don’t know her, I am assuming she must be someone fairly scary and wicked or else.. they are just taking her down because today that will make them feel better? Well for whatever reason. I hope everyone sleeps better.

      • Hilly says:

        @2stinkinQt, I think it’s nice to be worried about the Mom, I really and truly do. I don’t like the thought of any pregnant woman having to face charges and go to jail but how lenient would we all be if she were *not* pregnant? Not very.

        I think the big deal is that if Jay continues to tell little lies to cover up for her, his case could be much worse. Once you tell one lie, you have to keep telling more and more and more and everything could get tripped up.

        I think this is a horrible situation for ALL involved, honestly. And truth be told? I don’t know what I would have done.

        I just don’t think we can judge until we are in those shoes, yanno?

      • Miss Britt says:

        @2stinkinQt, no, she is not scary or wicked, anymore than any of the rest of us are who make stupid, stupid choices at certain points in our lives.

        I would like to clarify that no one you’re talking to here is “taking anyone down”. Nothing any of us can do at this point will make us responsible for someone else’s actions.

        And this child you speak of? That CHILD is my niece or nephew. And he or she is certainly NOT batting zero. At all.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Nyt, your concerns are valid and something that everyone in my family has wrestled with, even before finding out about a pregnancy. It’s one of the reasons we all lie, or consider lying, in our daily lives – because we tell ourselves that we’re “protecting” someone from the pain of the truth.

      I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t wish any pain on anyone, especially Bre, who is and always will be now a member of our family.

      But I don’t believe it’s our job to try to manipulate our futures if in doing so we have to compromise our integrity. I don’t think you can pile on more bad choices in an attempt to right old ones.

      I have faith that if we take the most right steps we can when they are presented to us, in the end, we will all be better for it.

      Ultimately, nothing I can do will ever make me responsible for Jay or Bre’s or anyone else’s actions. I am, as a sister, simply relieved to see my brother take the next steps with as much integrity as he can muster.

  22. Melissa says:

    and the truth shall set you free.

    this is wonderful news…for ALL concerned.

    and validation for your mother. all parents worry if they have raised their children correctly…and despite what jay may have done…what he knows is right and proper has given him…you…creed…and your mother hope and freedom again.

    Prayers will continue. God bless your family.

  23. trishk says:

    It’s good that the truth is finally all coming out. I’m sorry that it took this long and your family had to go through so much. Sometimes we make the biggest mistakes we make are trying to shield those we love.

  24. I’m glad his worst burden is lifted. And yours and your family’s as well, hon. I hope you can all breath easier.

  25. Hockeymandad says:

    So happy it sounds like all of you can breathe a little easier.

  26. Sarcastica says:

    I’m glad he’s told the truth! Like you said, it’s liberating and it will make his jail time experience better than it would be if he had to carry the guilt around.

    xoxo

  27. Finn says:

    A light breaks on the horizon… and it is good. xo

  28. SciFi Dad says:

    I’m glad you were able to find some solace in what is obviously a difficult time.

  29. Becca says:

    I’m glad you and Jay have found peace with this! Tell him to stay strong!

  30. Selma says:

    So glad to hear this. Shows the measure of Jay as a man as well as his love for his family. I am sure this will make it easier for him to deal with whatever lies ahead.

    You are all still in my prayers.

  31. Hilly says:

    I’m amazed that a few people actually don’t think this was a good thing. I mean yeah, I can see why but come on, how can being completely honest be bad?

    I think this is good. Very good. He can now go forth and suffer the right consequences without taking on the burdens that he shouldn’t have to. And also? He will sleep better at night and feel better all around.

    Blah blah, you know how I feel. I’m just chatty today so I can avoid my own life, k thanks. :)

  32. “I saw the markings of a con man in my little brother. I saw the tell tale signs of the career criminals we grew up…”

    My heart has been trying to spit those words for 30 years. Those exact words. You have been a catalyst in setting me free from a similar nightmare with a 30 year old son.I have renamed you “Little Braveheart”.

    Ask your mom who I am. The story is too long for this forum. You are a mentor to me in ways you will never know and I’m 50! Keep living your truth.

  33. This made me cry. I’m so glad. *hugs*

  34. I’m so glad. Telling the whole truth must have made him – and you- feel like a huge weight had been lifted. You’ll all get through this.

    Sending love and hugs to all of you!

  35. mepsipax says:

    Good luck with everything. That all sounds like it sucks so bad. I know your pain and it is not fun.

  36. Pearl says:

    Good for him. I hope he can hang on to the feeling of knowing that he has done the right thing.

    Pearl

  37. Sharing your story is indeed brave, and I’m wondering if it’s also therapeutic for you. It used to be that you would never tell anybody about such an experience – the neighbors and your community would ostracize you. How awesome is this blogosphere that you get so much support instead? Yay blogosphere!

  38. Such strange, hard times. Keep walking through them, Britt. xo

  39. Karl says:

    Having been at the bottom a number of times, I can say from experience that it sometimes requires being completely “broken” before we can face those nasty truths we’re fighting so hard to avoid inside ourselves. It’s been painful for me to watch my friends – my *chosen* family – to reach the bottom of the pit. But I always know, when they finally hit that lowest of lows, that healing is about to begin.

    I never say to them, “I’m glad you’re there now. Here’s where it starts getting much better” – because if I heard that from someone while *I* was at the bottom, I’d go postal on their ass. But it’s true. You’re witnessing it.

    I’m praying, Britt, that this is where it starts getting better for Jay, and in turn, for your family.

  40. lettergirl says:

    I love this dearly, Britt. Reading your earlier post about your stepfather, and then reading this — makes me realize how forgiveness cannot grow from deception. Because Jay is honest, you can heal.

  41. Al_Pal says:

    The truth shall set you free. So mote it be. ;p

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