My Brother the Bagger


Gaby the Bagger with his lunchbox
Gaby the Bagger with his lunchbox

Yes, life really has twists and turns!!!

When I first saw this picture, I didn’t know the expression that could very well show the emotions waging up inside me just then. Whose brother was now going around with a lunch box and an apron? Whose brother was now reduced to arranging shopping bags and carts when he had in form one of college been brought in to lecture form five students? Someone tell me whose brother was this, not in any real way related to the one who had taught us all maths, physics, chemistry …

I narrate this period of his life in the stage four of his journey as chronicled.

This is part of what mum wrote in her tribute to her dearest son :

Gabriel worked with Market Basket as a “bagger” for about one year but the depth of the blow on his self-esteem got him to quit. He was aware that his performance was deeply below his potential…

As I narrate in that book, here are some recollections of that period:

When he was a bagger, he would complain to me about someone pushing his jacket on the rack, surely out of jealousy he claimed, and the proof was that he now found his precious jacket on the floor.

He told me about a colleague who despised him and about his card which refused to be properly punched just so that he could be signed in as late. His boss was a nice man but he was suspicious of the later whom he thought wanted to demean him further.

He was getting tired with carrying a lunch box to work each day as if he were in primary school. That Lunch box finally found its way to me and oh how I treasured it…

To make matters worse, it was like we were going to really loose him after all. There was decreasing hope in the ‘system’ out there in which he was now entrapped ‘thanks’ to some ‘lottery’ of a win. Mum and us all were frustrated. She couldn’t manage her son’s treatment and even his legal proxy was eventually to be grossly ignored by his ‘medical team’.

His life to me had all but been reduced to call my meds. How could he even manage to keep a job for about one year with those meds and their side effects? Sure his situation deteriorated and soon I heard he was now a ‘criminal’, going around in scrubs and handcuffs. Wow, he became a number at that so called Bridgewater State Hospital.

Dear gentle readers and followers, I really believe mum’s prayers were not in vain. For Gabriel to try so hard to lean in there inspite the barely recognizable young man he’d become? He himself had such strong faith and sang his hymns and praises to his God with all his might. I think that ‘almighty system’ is not in any haste to release his autopsy results because well, he’s just another figure to add or substract now.

I sincerely wish my brother’s soul and the souls of all those like him; consumed and lost to mental illness and ‘shabby systems’, to RIP!!!

For the Paperback
For the Paperback
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7 thoughts on “My Brother the Bagger”

    1. Glenn, thanks for your comment. Indeed, mental illness is worse than ebola or any other pandemic because of the stigma and awful treatments or response and all. It cause such havoc all the way through, both within us, in our families, communities and lives 🙂

  1. I feel sad reading this post but laud your courage for blogging about what your brother and the family went through. It’s never easy when it comes to one’s self esteem and we would never know what they’ve been through in life.

    1. Thanks so much V for your comment. I know I overcome my own anguish in sharing our story and journey. The thought of helping even just one person, one family, is greater than silent mourning and internal frustrations. These could even get me further down the ‘shaggy’ street right? 🙂

  2. Marie: My heart aches for you and your family. The so-called-medical system literally took your brother and his gifts as an intellectual and tossed them away. They gave you back a man stripped of his honor. It never ceases to amaze me how those within the mental health system believe it’s okay to turn those we love into a zombie. Tom’s biggest fear has always been that of losing his mind. Like your brother, Tom’s a brilliant man. Reaching out to you with prayers and hugs. Sheri

    1. Thanks for the empathy and sympathy Sherri,

      I know you know!!

      And when you get to watch it all and loose it so, tell me what other than spite can threaten to devour you for such a system?

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