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 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" (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 or talk." The doctor told us that it
is a condition that afflicts one in 50,000 babies, rendering victims 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 bitter.
And as the years passed, that bitterness
turned to anger, and
Mom never gave up on you. She know she had to do it for your sake.
Every time she put your toys down, you would 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 on 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 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
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 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 we had. You said that if you die, and
if I need help, I could send you a note to heaven by tying the note on the
string of a balloon and letting it fly. When you said this, I started
crying. Then you hugged me. Then again, for the last time, you
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 even 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.