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Lions Roar : July 2013
I STOPPED PRAYING WHEN my brother Patrick died from drinking. A few years earlier, Patrick had been born again—I remember watching the Evangelical minister dunk him in a pool of water set high up above the modern church altar, all the glass and steel soaring up and glinting in the sun. I felt hope then. I prayed hard and believed. Every time my brother drank, and stopped and then drank again, I believed he was in God’s hands and God would do the right thing. I never thought God would let him die, but He did. I have not forgiven and I cannot forget, butIdoletgo,alittleatatime. The week after Patrick died, I went to clean out his apartment, as I had done so many times before, when his alcoholism had gotten him evicted and sent off to rehab. Ever since I was sixteen and could drive, I had bailed Patrick out, delivered him to rehab, and weeks later picked him up and helped him start over. Now, I packed his stuff one last time. I carefully wrapped his artworks and placed them inside his portfolio, thinking, with some guilt, “at least neither of us will have to keep this routine going any- more.” And there I was on a small reef of relief in the deepest ocean of sadness I had ever felt. Patrick was a sensitive artist, and all he wanted was to draw and paint pictures with extraordinary imagination and detail. His depression, though, would envelop him in blackness—the light would go out in his eyes, and the person who could see Metta for Broken Men The loss of her brother sent her on a journey into the past, where ELLEN WATTERS SULLIVAN encountered a family legacy of shame as old as the American South itself. Could she cultivate compassion for her slaveholder ancestors, their victims, and herself? Illustration by Tara Hardy. Clockwise from left: The author’s father, Pat Watters; her brother Patrick painting; art by Patrick; a map of Sherman’s march, during which the Watters “Hermitage” was ransacked; great-great-grandfather Col. Joseph Watters; Pat marching for civil rights; art by Patrick. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 17