Nov 18, 2006

something that could really touch your heart

I would like to share this story...

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 disowned you. 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

And as the years passed, that bitterness turned to anger, and then

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. Then she'd leave you there. I
would sometimes watch from the window 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 bonemarrow 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 and radiation.

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

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.