I knew he would ask about my brother, Buddy.
How do you frame an answer that doesn't sound horrible and horribly sad when heroin is involved? Reality is that we simply live our lives while we wait for "that" phone call.
So, about an hour ago, I bucked up my courage, dialed the number and began a pleasant birthday call, hoping this would be the time that he wouldn't ask about Buddy.
After a few minutes, it came. As gently as is possible, and in a lighter tone than my heavy heart feels, I gave him a review of Buddy's current condition and recent hospital stay. It was hard, but right.
We talked about Buddy's choices in life, then moved to the harder thought that probably soon, I will be calling again to tell him that the drugs finally win. He took the conversation better than I thought he would.
But my heart is hurting and so heavy tonight.
...may there be mercy and peace as I continue to hold hope for Buddy.