On this day in 1972, my brother Stephane was born. Or rather I should say, my mother delivered him. A complicated birth, he was stillborn and doctors had to remove him through emergency C-section in order to save my mother. Although he came out without signs of life, they managed to revive him and thus my mother’s firstborn was here! His father, a deadbeat who considered my mother a one-night stand, denied his parentage of my brother, leaving my mother alone to raise a child during a time when such things were frowned upon.
Over a few short years, my mother learned to be independent of the world and protective of my brother, as he suffered double kidney failure while still and infant, developed cardiac issues and a condition called Fanconi Syndrome. It wasn’t until 1978 that my mother met my father, fell in love and claimed my brother as his own son. I was born months later. Please don’t do the math…
My brother was always a source of inspiration and a good example to me during my youth. Always in positive spirits despite the constant threat of death, he was always fast with a hug or an “I love you,” even to those who weren’t in his family. But maybe that’s the lesson; to my brother, the whole world was family. He was as protective of me as an older brother could be, despite the fact that in a few very short years, I outgrew and outweighed him by quite a bit. His body never grew beyond that of a small child.
I stayed by his side through most of my youth, watching his every move, learning valuable life lessons, never quite understanding the concept of mortality because even though he knew his death was imminent, he had a firm love and belief in God and knew where he was going. He also didn’t ever want to frighten me with talk of death or what he believed might become of him.
My brother lost his battle in April of 1991. It was a normal Monday; I was being prepped for school and he was getting ready to be brought to the hospital for weekly blood work. Even now, with everything I’ve learned, I have no idea what this bloodwork was looking for. I only knew that if the results were bad, he would be rushed by emergency flight to St. Justin’s Children’s Hospital in Montreal. On this one Monday, for whatever reason, he was admitted to our local hospital in Dalhousie, New Brunswick. He never came out.
Had he lived, my brother would be 49 years old, today. We often spoke of how things would be when we were older. He would buy a car and “let” me drive him around, unless he met a girl, in which I’d have to make myself scarce, of course. He continues to inspire me, even today. I always think to myself that if he could continue to fight through the constant threat of dying and still have the positive, outgoing personality he did, maybe my problems aren’t that bad. and if he could fight so vehemently, so could I. I carry that lesson, still.
Happy birthday, brother. You are still missed. ☯️