There is a photograph (Maddy)

There is a photograph that my mother has at her house in Boston. It’s a picture of me with my sister Maddy on her high school graduation day.

In this photograph you can clearly see me holding back tears of joy. I was elated to be present with my family at that moment. It was an unfamiliar feeling, as I had spent most of my sister’s life either absent, or terribly insane and or Intoxicated. I was about a year sober at the time the picture was taken.

I am 11 years older than my sister, she came into this world as a fantastic surprise on April 2nd 1997. She was born the day after a unprecedented April new England blizzard. I’m taking about waist deep snow, in the spring time. My mom was lucky to make it to Jordan hospital in those conditions.

When I went to the hospital to see her, I felt a stronger kind of love then I ever had. It was the best day of my life.

To be perfectly honest: most babies are pretty ugly yoda/ET looking little creatures. Not my little sister, she was a Gerber baby with a head of blonde hair that was almost white.

I never left the side of her crib.

I lived to entertain her. I was positivity smitten with this new little human. I organized tea parties for her stuffed animals in her crib, even though she was an infant and likely had no idea what was happening.

As I hit my teens and started on my road of addiction there grew a distance between us. When I was 19 and Maddy was 8, our parents split up. I took it very hard, and escaped home to live with my girlfriend in Boston. I was not physically present or emotionally available to my two siblings at a critical time in their lives.

Whenever I did visit home in Plymouth I was belligerently drunk with a side order of drugs. My poor little sister was afraid of me for years until I cleaned up in 2014. I regret this so deeply that I can feel it right now.

My brother Dylan is only 2 years younger than I am, so there is a closeness from childhood experiences that we share that I don’t get to have with my much younger sister. Dylan couldn’t run away from home like I did, and he became Maddy’s guardian.

I have lingering guild for taking the escape route at that time. My parents' divorce was more than I could handle emotionally, and I had become a full blown alcoholic.

I’m talking about drinking every day, bourbon breakfast to stop shaking and almost daily blackout. Textbook alcoholism featuring a rainbow of drugs. A hopeless alcoholic can’t manage to love themselves let alone anyone else.

I wish that I wasn’t some distant Spector of a brother to my siblings.

That’s why I’m trying to contain tears of grateful joy for the camera In that photo. I was humbled and amazed to be present that day.

It might have been the first time since I was constantly beside Maddy’s crib.

I hope it isn’t the last time.



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