My first memory of my brother is a visual in my mind of my mother holding him in her arms with my four-year old, hand reaching out in disbelief that he was finally born. The next vivid memory I have of him was seven months later when my parents returned from the doctor with him after finding out he had Cerebral Palsy.
He lived for seventeen years and passed away a few days before Christmas, nearly thirty years ago. His life was a brief flicker of light I carry with me every day, to help me guide the way to a better tomorrow. His strength is and always will be my inspiration.
Being as close in age as we were, I knew no life without him. We didn’t take many vacations as a family, because it was difficult for my brother to leave the house. He was confined to a wheelchair for his life’s entirety and spent most of his time laying down or sitting in his chair.
My importance in his life meant the world to me. He didn’t speak words but he sure loved to laugh. Even in the most difficult of times when he was struggling to breathe he would still manage to smile and find a way to laugh. His life showed me we’re all born to be happy regardless of our limitations.
Understanding my relationship with my brother is to understand my parents’ perspective on the footprint of our family. We knew our circumstances were different than most, but that also made us special.
As far back as I could remember, my mother and father constantly stressed what an important gift he was to this world and we were the lucky ones to have him. They were indisputably correct. I can easily recall his pale skin on his thin small frame. I could hear his breath, exhaling from his body as his rib cage contracted.
But what I remember the most was his blue overalls, colourful shirts and brown moccasins, my mother impeccably dressed him in every day. His hair was combed perfectly just as she expected mine to be, before we left for school. When we got home we watched cartoons and laughed. We were brothers because my parents made us a family and we didn’t know anything else.
It has taken me thirty years to fully understand the enormity of his life and the honour I have been blessed upon, to have been part of his life. Our life together was the circumstances we were born into, but it was my parents’ choice to create a sense of normalcy within our amazing and challenging life that made us a family and has truly awarded me with the gift of who I am today.
My brother Anthony still inspires me every day to be a better person and his memory is my strength when it’s difficult. I am the lucky one.
Bio: I am an author, business leader and speaker. My passion lies in sharing insight on my own experience in hopes to inspire others in their own life. My memoir “Life’s Equation” is dedicated to my late brother Anthony who lived with Cerebral Palsy until his passing at the age of 17.
You can find more at FrankDaidone.net