This I Believe

Alexis - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on December 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

My sister, Bianca, is one of the most remarkable people I know. She is strong, courageous, and has taught me more about life than I could ever imagine. Bianca suffers from a severe form of epilepsy, which has left her mentally and physically disabled. When She was five she suffered a seizure that was so strong it stopped her heart. My sister was dead for about four minutes. However, due to her strong will to will to live the doctors were able to revive her. My sister lives every day in a constant struggle. It is obvious that she is incapable to do many of the simple tasks that the ordinary person takes for granted.

My sister is only three hundred and sixty days older than I am. She is nineteen, but due to her medical condition she is mentally around eight years old. When we were younger we were very close and did everything together. But as time past and we entered our adolescent years, we began to grow apart. I began to realize that my sister was different, and her disability began to embarrass me. She went to the same middle school that I did, but she was in the “special” classes. She didn’t act the way that my friends and I did, and sometimes this made my friends laugh. Not with her but at her. Inside this hurt me, but I couldn’t tell me friends to stop joking her even though I knew it was wrong. If I did I thought that they would label me as “not cool” and would stop hanging out with me.

Sometimes when my mother worked late I would have to stay home and watch my sister until she got home. One time I had a couple friends over and we were watching a movie in the living room while my sister was playing in her room. My sister quietly came out of her room, sat down in the living room and began to ask me and my friends a bunch of useless questions. I remember getting annoyed and telling her to go away and stop bothering us. After the movie ended I went into my sister’s room to check on her. I found her lying on her bed crying. When I asked her what was wrong she told me that she wished that she was like me. She wished that she was normal. At that moment I realized that my sister is different and all she wants out of life is too be accepted, and I had taken her for granted.

I believe that it is important to accept people no matter how different they are from you. Living with a disabled sister has taught me to accept different people and to not take life for granted. And I believe that in life this makes me a better person.