Don't Make The Same Mistake I Did

Don't Make The Same Mistake I Did

By Cigi Edwards 05/16/17

I will forever regret every word I said to my brother that night. I will always regret not telling him that I loved him. 

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Cigi Edwards

My brother had Tourette's Syndrome (TS). We tried not to classify this as "suffering," but growing up with TS was not easy, for anyone. It was him having an uncontrollable tic at eight years old so constantly that he needed chapstick applied. Only to lick that off and become immensely frustrated and pained. So, we would apply chapstick at night when he was asleep just so the cycle could be repeated the next day.

And when we thought the next tic couldn't be any worse, it was him jerking his neck from one side to another which caused him muscle aches. I would get called to the school nurse to calm him down and rub his neck for him.

I remember asking him to just try to control it, try to stop it while we were out playing basketball one day. He complied, of course. But, he lost. TS won. 

The look in his eyes made me immediately tear up. I wished that it was me, and that he did not have to battle TS. But even with the constant pain and bullying, he woke up every day ready to tell me a funny joke or a random fact (meanwhile I'm rolling my eyes and never giving him credit. He knew he was funny already. I didn't have to flatter him every time). 

Growing up with Dajen was difficult. But also, such an adventure. I learned more about mental health as a young kid than any other kid I knew. I learned so I could educate people who genuinely knew nothing about TS. 

I couldn't judge someone who knew nothing about it. They were "lucky" in a sense. They didn't have their life revolve around it. They never had to worry about the pain a loved one had to endure with TS - both physically and emotionally.

When I was a kid, I was open to learning these things about Dajen. But as an adult, I somehow lost that willingness to learn more about my brother. Dajen Earl Edwards was an addict and he lost his battle February 6, 2016. Two months prior to his passing was the last time I saw him and spoke to him. I was a bully. I was the ignorant one. I will forever regret every word I said to him that night and will always regret not telling him that I loved him. 

His eyes were the same pained eyes on that basketball court when I asked if he could stop ticking. But I was too blind to see it. Too mad to open my eyes to see his pain, his struggle, his disappointment in himself. 

I made the mistake of not loving an addict. Sure, using the first time was his choice. But becoming the addict. That wasn't his choice, that's not who he was, who he wanted to be, how he would have wanted to have been remembered. He was funny - he knew it. He was the best hugger - he also knew that. 

Don't make the same mistake I once did and judge someone for not understanding something. 

Not only did TS win, but in the end, heroin won, too. 

You can have your hatred, trust me, I have mine. But if I would have just understood the help he actually needed, I wouldn't be living with the regrets that I do daily. 

And if you think it won't directly affect you, think again or you better shut your eyes for the rest of your life. 

The statistics of deaths from overdosing are increasing daily. A sad fact. 

So, instead of pushing hatred and judgement, why not ask someone what you can do to help. 

This may not be easy at first but, love will always goes further than hate.

Cigi Edwards is a full-time student and full-time employee. She lost her only brother to an overdose. She now is the Vice President of her mother's nonprofit organization, "Sowwy," which works to keep the homeless and addicts warm and clean. She also hopes to spread awareness of the necessity of education of addiction. 

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Cigi Edwards.jpg

Cigi Edwards is a full-time student and full-time employee. She lost her only brother to an overdose. She now is the Vice President of her mother's nonprofit organization, "Sowwy," which works to keep the homeless and addicts warm and clean. She also hopes to spread awareness of the necessity of education of addiction. You can find her on Twitter.

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