I was then an only child who had everything I could ever
want. But even a pretty, spoiled and rich kid could get lonely once
in a while so when Mom told me that she was pregnant, I was ecstatic.
I imagined how wonderful you would be and how we'd always be together
and how much you would look like me. So, when you were born, I looked
at your tiny hands and feet and marveled at how beautiful you were.
We took you home and I showed you proudly to my friends. They would
touch you and sometimes pinch you, but you never reacted.
When you were five months old, some things began to bother
Mom. You seemed so unmoving and numb, and your cry sounded odd -- almost
like a kitten's. So we brought you to many doctors.
The thirteenth doctor who looked at you quietly said
you have the "cry du chat" (pronounced kree-do-sha) syndrome, 'cry of
the cat' in French. When I asked what that meant, he looked at me with
pity and softly said, "Your brother will never walk nor talk." The doctor
told us that it is a condition that afflicts one in 50,000 babies, rendering
victims severely retarded. Mom was shocked and I was furious. I thought
it was unfair.
When we went home, Mom took you in her arms and cried.
I looked at you and realized that word will get around that you're not
normal. So to hold on to my popularity, I did the unthinkable ... I
Mom and Dad didn't know but I steeled myself not to love
you as you grew. Mom and Dad showered you with love and attention and
that made me bitter. And as the years passed, that bitterness turned
to anger, and then hate.
Mom never gave up on you. She knew she had to do it for
your sake. Every time she put your toys down, you'd roll instead of
crawl. I watched her heart break every time she took away your toys
and strapped your tummy with foam so you couldn't roll. You'd struggle
and you'd cry in that pitiful way, the cry of the kitten. But she still
didn't give up. And then one day, you defied what all your doctors said
-- you crawled!
When Mom saw this, she knew that you would eventually
walk. So when you were still crawling at age four , she'd put you on
the grass with only your diapers on knowing that you hate the feel of
the grass your skin, and smile at your discomfort. You would crawl to
the sidewalk and Mom would put you back. Again and again, Mom repeated
this on the lawn. Until one day, Mom saw you pull yourself up and toddle
off the grass as fast as your little legs could carry you. Laughing
and crying, she shouted for Dad and I to come. Dad hugged you crying
openly. I watched from my bedroom window this heartbreaking scene.
Over the years, Mom taught you to speak, read and write.
From then on, I would sometimes see you walk outside, smell the flowers,
marvel at the birds, or just smile at no one. I began to see the beauty
of the world around me, the simplicity of life and the wonders of this
world, through your eyes. It was then that I realized that you were
my brother and no matter how much I tried to hate you, I couldn't, because
I had grown to love you.
During the next few days, we again became acquainted
with each other. I would buy you toys and give you all the love that
a sister could ever give to her brother. And you would reward me by
smiling and hugging me. But I guess, you were never really meant for
us. On your tenth birthday, you felt severe headaches.
The doctor's diagnosis -- leukemia. Mom gasped and Dad
held her, while I fought hard to keep my tears from falling. At that
moment, I loved you all the more. I couldn't even bear to leave your
side. Then the doctors told us that your only hope was to have a bone
marrow transplant. You became the subject of a nationwide donor search.
When at last we found the right match, you were too sick, and the doctor
reluctantly ruled out the operations. Since then, you underwent chemotherapy
Even at the end, you continued to pursue life. Just a
month before you died, you made me draw up a list of things you wanted
to do when you got out of the hospital. Two days after the list was
completed, you asked the doctors to send you home. There, we ate ice
cream and cake, run across the grass, flew kites, went fishing, took
pictures of one another and let the balloons fly.
I remember the last conversation that we had. You said
that if you die, and if I need of help, I could send you a note to heaven
by tying it on the string any a balloon and letting it fly. When you
said this, I started crying. Then you hugged me. Then again, for the
last time, you got sick.
That last night, you asked for water, a back rub, a cuddle.
Finally, you went into seizure with tears streaming down your face.
Later, at the hospital, you struggled to talk but the words wouldn't
come. I know what you wanted to say. "I hear you," I whispered. And
for the last time, I said, "I'll always love you and I will never forget
you. Don't be afraid. You'll soon be with God in heaven." Then, with
my tears flowing freely, I watched the bravest boy I had ever known
finally stop breathing. Dad, Mom and I cried until I felt as if there
were no more tears left.
Patrick was finally gone, leaving us behind. From then
on, you were my source of inspiration. You showed me how to love life
and live life to the fullest. With your simplicity and honesty, you
showed me a world full of love and caring. And you made me realize that
the most important thing in this life is to continue loving without
asking why or how and without setting any limit. Thank you, my little
brother, for all these.
It's a LIFE, not a CHOICE
"Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus."