August 24, 2008 6:34am CST
Hello. This is hard. My brother has been in and out of jail since he was 17 years old. My mother did not treat him well at all as a child. I tried helping him when he was 16 but he was doing things that were destructive to my apartment and I could not afford him. He would spend time in jail and get out but do something really stupid and get arrested again. It was never for violence but for stealing/robbery. But came you blame someone who has been on paper and they cannot find a job? Society does not make it easy for you to get a job and establish yourself especially now that background checks are the norm. You are constantly judged eventhough you have served your time. It sucks. My lifestyle is different than my brothers and I do not trust him because his 20's has been filled with nothing but anger, breaking the law, probably he was on drugs, etc. To be honest, I am scared of him and scared to get back involved with him. He called me one time several years ago and I did not take his call. He left messages like "Pick up the phone. We are family. Is this how you treat family?" I didn't pick up the phone because I knew that whatever he wanted to tell me or ask me would add stress to my life or be some sort of bad news. And physically and mentally, I could not handle any more bad news at the time. But I guess he called to tell me he was going back to prison as I later found out. Lastnight, I decided to search online to see if I could find him. And I did. He is in prison for 10 years for robbery. He has been in prison since that phone call I imagine which is nearly 3 years. His first photos look like the brother that I last saw. Young, healthy, and vibrant. Yeah, he looks untrustworthy to me but he looked healthy. The next year's photos, you can see that he looks halfway vibrant but then he looks angry. Really angry. Then this year's photos, he looks like he has gained some weight, he has aged, he looks sad, really sad, and he looks like a zombie. And it has only been 3 years.... My first instinct is to go see him, write him, send him some money and open myself up to him. But I have a family that I do not want to expose to him. And I am scared. I also know that prison is changing him but not rehabbing him and I don't know what to expect. But he probably thinks that noone loves him and I know he doesn't love himself. I am torn. What should I do?