I never understood how cherished a dear life could really be until the day I counted down a child’s last breath as he slowly slipped away from my hands. Throughout my adolescent stages, I’ve always had these feelings that I don’t matter, no one cares, that I’m nothing but a failure, and that it’s my fault. Some days I can feel the blood vanquishing through my veins for what seems like an entire existence. Then I also have those days where I remember a soul is washed out of my hands, and then I get that question, “Why couldn’t it just be me? Why am I alive but he’s dead?”.
My brother was born with a defect called cerebral pachygyria, a rare brain disease that prevents a person’s cerebral cortex to develop properly. As a result, his nervous system was extremely vulnerable to where he couldn’t even hold his own head up. Being a child who’s been bed-rested his entire life, a child who’s never been able to sit up and look at someone eye to eye, a child who never had the strength to say an actual word to you, no matter how hard he tried, still considered himself to be happy. Understanding how pleased the kid was, his muscles were weaker than a newborn’s, and yet he was able to enjoy what little his body was capable of doing and always ending his days with smiles. My brother was a fighter, living through surgery after surgery, seizure after seizure, needle after needle, nothing was ever able to break his smile. He’s my little role model, he’s a person who let his heart control him over his own body.
August 11th was the last day where I was able to see his charming eyes gaze towards me as if was the happiest day of his life. The last day we set eyes on each other’s hearts and me finally being a real big brother, by holding his hand and telling him “I love you”, something that I thought of as not the last. August 11th was the day when everyone said he’ll be all better, but there was something that didn’t add up, he was happy. I remember that day I gave him the best body massage I ever gave to him and every time I touched the little man he laughed with a tear falling from his eye. It’s unimaginable to understand why he’d done such a thing at such a time; why would someone laugh when they are in such pain? I look back and I remember giving him a serious face as gave one to me, and I remember telling him “I’ll make you proud, I promise”. It was the last thing I was able to tell him before he went to sleep for the very last time.
I have always been honored to not only be a brother but to have the privilege to see a child grow in my arms and also leave this world holding my hand. As my mother always says, “He’s an angel”. An eight-year-old child who was born with a lifelong disability with a million health problems still seemed to be ending his days with authentic grins, as a happy child. I have never been honored to have such an eye opener as an adolescent and have an angel show what happiness can really look like. He left this world with a smile, knowing that he left for a purpose: for me to value my life and be someone who’s grateful. The only way I can see that is by going to college and making something out of myself; to be incomparable, to be the neurologist. One in twenty-six have some type of epileptic disadvantage; after me truly understanding the torture life brings them, I want to be the one who finds a solution, to give them a chance to smile.