My husband got upset with me today. I reminded him about how he needed to write to his brother and that he had to do it today. I asked him while I was at work if he had done it and he never responded. I called him on my way home and asked again and he said no. I told him how I was disappointed in him and that I would write to him instead. I told him how bad it would look that I wrote to him and his brother didn’t. He got upset and hung up on me.
But I really was disappointed. His brother has no one and really needs to hear that someone cares about him right now. It’s been months of him sitting in a jail cell and he hasn’t heard from my husband. I just imagine my brother-in-law must be so afraid and feel as if my husband doesn’t even care. His older brother moves away and never talks to him and doesn’t even write when he finds out his mental illness landed him in jail and he won’t have a court date for six months. It must be so lonely, depressing and scary. But despite the bad situation he’s in, I’m glad they’re medicating him. I hope he stays on his meds when he gets out.
Because my husband decided to give me the silent treatment when I got home, I decided to get some things done. I returned an overdue book to the library. I walked over to the hardware store and got a new battery for my pedometer and light bulbs for my salt lamp and candle warmer. I wrote that letter to my brother-in-law. I fought to get my pedometer to work for a half-hour. That’s when my husband asked if we could talk.
He told me how it hurt him to hear me say I was disappointed in him. Both because he doesn’t want to disappoint me and also because of what he hasn’t been able to do. He says it’s very hard for him and he thinks about his brother every day. I reminded him that I’m not going to know that he’s been trying to write to his brother and can’t figure out how to say what he feels unless he tells me. To me, it just looks like another thing he says he’ll do and just never does.
I showed him the letter I wrote to his brother.when I was addressing the envelope, I got this horrible feeling that my brother-in-law was going to be so angry at my husband that he was going to write back and tell him this awful, anguished letter, using the things I said as fuel to destroy my husband emotionally as payback for making him feel discarded. Having this sick feeling that his reaction to my letter could destroy my marriage, I decided it best that he read it and know what I said. So I let him read the letter I wrote. I was honest in it and let him know that we care about him and support him unconditionally. That he can always turn to us for help when he needs it. I also made sure he knew how his brother had been trying to write to him but can’t think of the words to say (things that seemed plausible, and were a good excuse for why he hasn’t heard from him) and an example of a time where I witnessed his love for him. I told him to try writing to my husband as I knew he’d love to hear from him.
After he finished reading the letter, he thanked me for caring about his brother. For the rest of the night he kept hugging me and thanking me for being understanding about it. But he made no effort to write his own letter. I fear he’s taking my writing a letter and encouraging his brother to write him first as his cue to sit back while everyone else takes care of it. I really hope that’s not what he’s doing.