Brothers for Life

Kevin - Saint Louis, Missouri
Entered on September 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Throughout my life I have followed in the footsteps of my two older brothers, and I have paved the way for my two younger brothers. I am one of a family of seven, a nineteen year old attending a Catholic university after a Catholic high school after a Catholic grade school. I am fortunate enough to have been blessed with a knack for memorization and a desire to achieve. However, my life has not been so simple. My oldest brother, who is twenty-three years old, was diagnosed at birth with severe cerebral palsy and mental retardation. He cannot communicate in any way except a smile or a groan; he cannot walk or crawl on his own or even put a fork to his mouth; he responds to almost nothing, but he is the happiest part of my day, everyday. Whenever I am with him, I am overcome with a curiosity as to what is going on in his mind. Can he hear me? Does he know what I am saying? Does he want anything? Is he happy? All of these questions come to my mind, but the only one that matters to me is the last one. When I reach my hand in front of his, he grabs it every single time and holds onto it with all his strength. He smiles, he laughs, he bounces around in his chair. I rub his back softly with my free hand, and he reaches back and tries to grab it. This reaction is the only response I have been able to get out of him my entire life, but it brings the best feeling in the world. My parents, my brothers, my relatives, my friends and I all love him, and he is a reminder of who I want to be every day. I never want to get upset at the trivial events in life. I never want to get mad at people or hold a grudge against someone who wronged me. I never want to make anyone unhappy or uncomfortable. However, at times I let my emotions get the best of me and I do these things. My brother does not; my brother cannot. He is the one person I can always rely on to cheer me up or keep me in check- keeping me humble, keeping me real. He is who he is, and he reminds me to be who I am and believe what I believe in. I believe in honesty, in reality, and I admire those whose personalities do not hide their character but flaunt it. I believe in humility, I believe in trust, I believe in loyalty, but most importantly, I believe in life.