Now you are ready.
All I wanted to do was to save her, yet I it was not my responsibility. I wanted to be the one to help her out of her troubles, yet she did not want that help. She was like a daughter to me, like a little sister to me, and yet she was so foreign to me and everything I stand for. No matter what I did to help her it was never enough.
I wanted her to listen to me, I wanted to yell at her, I wanted her to think of me as her older brother, I wanted to show her the error in her ways, I wanted to advise her, but when it was all said and done I had to walk away from her. I had to forget about her and all of her problems; because all my attempts to help her were in vain.
These are the stories of what happens when the best of intentions end without a real conclusion.....These are the Chronicles of Ehav Ever.
When I was in college, I once tried to help a girl named Jeralyn out a given drama she had placed herself in. I first met Jeralyn through some girls that my friends and I used to hang out with. She was somewhat quiet and naive, and maybe that is what initially drew me to her. Yet, my interest in her became more of a big brother kind of motivation. What you have to understand about me, is that I grew up as an only child. so I never knew what it meant to have a brother or sister. Also, at that time I was a bit of an aloof and cold person.
My involvement in Jeralyn's drama really began when she got pregnant by a guy who pretty much was known as a player. His name was Troy and I was never on very friendly terms with him because he was annoying to me. He was also one of those guys who came off as really arrogant, so I could not understand what she saw in him from the start. Troy was also several years older than Jeralyn, or at least that is the way I looked at it. My perspective being that he was taking advantage of her naivety.
When she told me that she was pregnant and that Troy was the father my first reaction was of utter surprise. How did she end up with Troy of all people. My first instinct was to quietly blame the situation on him. Another part of me wanted to confront Troy; aggressively. Yet, I also had to keep my mouth shut on the matter because no matter what I felt Troy was the father.
Yet, there were several situations that almost pushed me over the edge and closer to confrontation with Troy. Once was when Jeralyn was about 5 months pregnant and she became really sick over and over again. I began to really worry about her, more than a friend would but more and more like a father. She could not leave her dorm room, and because it was in the women's dorm I could not enter it.
So I called up a female friend of mine, named Shegitta, to stay with Jeralyn for the night to make sure she was okay. Jeralyn wanted me to contact Troy for her, but I could not reach him. As the situation persisted I became more and more irate with Troy. I was so angry that my roommate went with me to get Jeralyn everything she needed, and in order to keep me calm. We bought her food and vitamins so that Shagitta could help nurse Jeralyn back to health.
The Long Goodbye
Jeralyn eventually had to leave the Prairie View A&M University, because she couldn't maintain being pregnant and going to college. She returned home to live with her mother and raise her baby. I still remember the day I said goodbye to her. I felt like I was sending my own flesh and blood away, yet she was not that much younger than me. Could this be what brotherhood or even parenthood is like?
When her time was due she had a beautiful baby girl. I was of course chosen as the godfather, and Jeralyn's mother thanked me for all my involvement in her life. I still remember the pictures of Jeralyn with her daughter. I felt so proud of her. Is this what it feels like to be an older brother and an uncle? Yet, after that Jeralyn journeyed deep into some very destructive lifestyles. I once tried to warn her, almost begging her not to do this to herself and her child. One of our phone conversations went like this:
Ehav - Hi Jeralyn how are you?
Jeralyn - Not so good. I just got out of the hospital.
Ehav - Hospital? Why were you in the hospital?
Jeralyn - I decided that I would do some stripping at this club to bring in some extra money. It was a real shady place, and this man that I allowed to manage me beat me up really bad.
(This was followed by extra details of other bad things, some involving drugs, etc. With each new detail my jaw dropped and my blood pressure increased, until I couldn't take it anymore.)
Ehav - Damnit...Jeralyn! Why are you telling me these things? Better yet, why are you doing this to yourself? You can't keep doing this. You are a mother and you have a responsibility to yourself and your baby. I am really ashamed that you would do this to yourself, especially after all I have done to try and help give you direction. I don't have much, but I can help you with money. Just promise me you will leave all this weird crap behind. No, I demand that you stop doing this to yourself.
(Her response was just as angry. So now she is yelling back at me.)
Jeralyn - Look Ehav, I appreciate everything you have done for me, but first all you don't have any right to demand anything from me. You can't tell me what to do. I am going to do what ever I want. It's my life.
Ehav - You don't know how much it hurts me to have you tell me all these things. Yet, you are right Jeralyn, it is your life. I can't make you do anything, but you are walking down a dangerous path. Don't be stupid girl. Take control of you life, there has to be a better way.
Over and over our conversations were made up of what huge pitfalls she jumped into and how she would continue to do such. She gave me all these details about how she was making all these bad decisions that were hurting her, some even physically and when I tried to convince her, sometimes pleading with her to leave it behind I would get the same response. She was a nice girl, so I could not understand why she was almost chasing after destructive lifestyles.
What you have to understand about Jeralyn was that her father had become addicted to drugs when she was younger. Her father had also been abusive to her mother and I calculated that some of this was the cause of some of her behavior. I calculated that if I stepped into the place of her father I could save her. Maybe, through enough caring, self-sacrifice, listening, and heart-felt prayers Jeralyn would realize that she was capable of much more with her life. Maybe she would also do better for the sake of her daughter. Maybe by doing this for her, my life would not be as lonely as it was at that time.
Leveling the Playing Field
I would always tell Jeralyn she was beautiful and that she deserved better. I would always encourage her that she could be a great mother, even though I was not any good at complimenting people. I was a bit of a cold and self-centered person then. Yet, her being like my younger sister/daughter changed that part of myself.
I tried to give her money to help her out of the situations, but this was not good enough. No matter what I tried, no matter what I said, nothing was ever good enough for her. It got to the point that I stressed myself out trying to save her from her choice making. That was until my mother stepped in and confronted me on the situation. My mother said something I will never forget.
Mother Ever - Hello swetty, how are you?
Ehav - Okay.....I guess. I am a little down in the dumps right now.
Mother Ever - What's wrong?
Ehav - It's Jeralyn again. Mom she is really screwing up her life. She always makes these horrible decisions and then she calls me and tells me about it. I can't understand why she will do such bad things, and call me and tell me about it. She knows I won't approve and it turns into a big argument. She is really stressing me out with her behavior. I almost feel like she is teasing me by hanging her bad life choices in front of me and it all makes me angry. All I want is to see her do better with her life, but no matter what I do nothing works. I have to figure out a way to get her to understand that she is not setting a good example for her daughter. I have to stop her from this downward spiral.
Mother Ever - Ehav, no you stop it right now. What are you doing? You are not this girl's father. You are also not responsible for her situation. At some point she is going to have a make a choice with the direction of her life. She is telling you things and putting you in the position to where you will stress yourself out trying to save her from her choices. Ehav, you are not even related to her and you are not her guardian. It sounds like she is trying to get a rise out of you by telling you things that she knows will cause an emotional response from you. You have your own life and your own responsibilities. Don't let your desire to try and help her out of her personal hell destroy your life.
Once again my mother was on point with her advice. The reality is that no matter how much positivity you throw at some people they will choose the shadow of negativity. At some point in our lives all of us have to make a CHOICE in the direction we are going to take. We can to choose to live like hell, or choose to fight our way to a personal heaven. Jeralyn had made her choice, so now it was time for me to make mine. I also needed to stop blaming Troy for ruining her, she was just as much a part of the problem.
Eventually, I could not deal with Jeralyn's behavior and I stopped contacting her. I walked away so that I could focus on my own life and so I would not stand in the way of her living her life the way she wanted. It saddened me to do it, but it saddened me even more to be near her.
The last time I saw her was when I graduated from PVAMU. She had finally returned to finish her college degree. I saw her for a brief moment when I was celebrating under the Phi Beta Sigma tree at finding out that I had passed all my senior classes and I could graduate. By that time, there was nothing left of our friendship and the conversation was minimal. I was no longer her older brother and she was no longer my little sister. For me, it was back to being that cold and aloof man again. I don't know what ever happened to my beloved little Jeralyn, but I wish her the best. I also still love her like a little sister or like a daughter.
The Final Analysis
All I wanted to do was to save her, yet I it was not my responsibility. I wanted to be the one to help her out of her troubles, yet she did not want that help. She was like a daughter to me, like a little sister to me, and yet she was so foreign to me and everything I stand for. No matter what I did to help her it was never enough. I wanted her to listen to me, I wanted to yell at her, I wanted her to think of me as her older brother, I wanted to show her the error in her ways, I wanted to advise her, but when it was all said and done I had to walk away from her. I had to forget about her and all of her problems; because all my attempts to help her were in vain. My mother was right, backing away was the right thing to do.
I am Ehav Ever and I am an Israeli man obsessed with the past, love, the land of Israel, and these are my stories.......The Chronicles of Ehav Ever.