My brother was officially declared a missing person this week, and nobody told me.
Last week, his psychiatrist decided he needed to be admitted, and drove him to the hospital. When they arrived, Troy got out and ran. I used to think it was funny, all the experience my brothers have at running away from the cops. No psychiatrist would stand a chance at catching him.
The police called my parents to find out if they’d seen him, and my parents called my brother C. Troy is impossible to trace at the moment, because he no longer believes in corporations and doesn’t own a phone, a car or a computer. He was sighted standing on a bridge looking at the water, then a few hours later on another.
He was found, at some point, and returned home, for some reason, until he disappeared again. Again, the police called our parents to report that he was suicidal and missing and to find out if they’d seen him. They hadn’t. Troy lives a few hundred meters from our parents, by the way.
He was found again, and returned home again, but isn’t answering the door to anyone. He’s schizophrenic and off his meds.
The first I heard of any of this was this afternoon. I was in the car with my parents, turning onto our street, when I heard mum mutter “God, Troy looks awful“. When I looked up from my phone, all I saw was a glimpse of his back as he walked in the direction away from our house. My heart leapt – Troy! – because he was gone for so long and any proximity, any confirmation that he still exists is exciting. No matter what state he’s in.
“Is Troy not doing good?” I asked my mother, and she told me he’d been suicidal and gone missing a number of times in the last week, and the police had been calling.
“When was the last time you saw him?” I asked.
“Mmm…about three weeks ago?” she guessed, and my heart sank. I’d been hoping that he’d gone to them, but more than that, I’d been hoping that they had gone to him.
I felt edgy and uncomfortable pressing it any further – afraid of what I might hear, I think: “he’s a lost cause, Rea, there’s nothing we can do”; “he’s not really our responsibility” – but I persisted, sounding a little uncertain. “Well, shouldn’t we go and see him then?”
“He comes over when he wants to see us – he kept walking, so he obviously doesn’t want to talk.” Her tone wasn’t dismissive or uncaring, but just so, so passive, and I wanted to shake her.
“But shouldn’t we do something?”
She didn’t respond, and got out of the car. My dad had been silent throughout the conversation: a relief. He doesn’t like Troy.
I can’t let myself be angry at my parents, but I am. Troy is destructing and they aren’t even trying to help him. I know he’s an adult but I just can’t see it that way – he’s my brother and I want him to be protected and cared for and I hate that he’s all alone. He would open the door for our mother. Even in his worst psychotic episodes, he has literally run at her with his arms open for a hug. It hurts to know that he loves her so much. He lived in our house for years, and he calls her parents Nan and Pa. When he was 13 and he broke his arm, she tied his shoelaces for a month. How can she know that he wants to die, that he might die, and not even walk up the street to knock on his door?
She is who she is, and I have to accept that. She is caring and loving but she can’t step up when it really counts. It’s easier to accept when it’s directed at me than when my brother is suffering.
My brother C and I are about to go to his house and bang on the door, call out to him to let us in, push letters under the door. And then I will have to decide whether to call the crisis team and try to have him admitted. I’m so afraid that he’s going to die if I don’t. I’m afraid he might be dead already.