Unnecessary Guilt : Forgiving Myself & Moving On

Updated: Mar 8

(Art by drawing.nona)

My brother has always been the main man in my life. We grew up so close to each other but at some point of time, he needed a father figure and he couldn’t find one because our father was nowhere to find.

On top of that, he started to struggle at school. I tried to help but I couldn’t force him to study. Besides, my encouragements and pieces of advice felt flat. Therefore, my brother answered the call of the streets.

For a long time, I thought it was my fault. I mean…

"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" – Genesis 4:9

I felt like I should have, I thought I failed him. He was growing up, turning from a boy to men and he needed guidance. I couldn’t help – notably because I was going through depression. I wasn’t talking to any member of my family – actually I was talking to nobody – and I became a loner. In the meantime, my mother had totally given up on her mommy’s duties and was in the middle of her mid-life crisis. She literally left us all behind and totally ignored the fact that my brother was going through deep stuff too.

I remember, one day, he confessed to her he was sad and hurt, that he lacked of the presence of our father. This was a very emotional scene for he was crying and stuff but in my family, we don’t do tears, so I had to walk away before I get emotional too. Do you think my mother did anything with that information? The only thing she did was to tell my sisters and I: “Be nice for your brother, he is going through it.” Therefore, I tried to be more present, to re-socialize myself for him, to supply everything he needed but I failed. I failed my brother. I was not able to direct him on the right path. How could I have since I wasn’t in a good place myself?

The years went on and on and I grew further from my brother. I barely know what he is doing with his life and we live under the same roof. I am the kind of person who accepts full responsibility for the wrongs done but in this case, it took me some time to understand that I had done my part. I tried every single day to be there for him but you can’t help someone who refuses to be helped. I blamed myself for his downfall; I blamed myself for not making sure he was doing the right thing.

I finally got to realize – while I started to open up about it – that I was not guilty. I didn’t let my brother down. I did not. I prayed for him, supported him, motivated him, helped him. I did my part. I did what I could but at the end of the day, he did what he wanted.

Moreover, where was my mother? And my father… She should have taken care of her son. She failed him. This is kind of ugly to point fingers but I needed this relief in my life so that I can let go of the guilt that was preventing me from moving on. So, I forgave myself. I asked God for forgiveness, peace and relief and He delivered me. I feel better now, but I would certainly feel better when the sun will shine again for my brother.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” – John 14:1

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