Today is always a bit of a bittersweet day for me. It’s my older brother’s birthday. Born on December 3, 1972, he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease from birth. His kidneys failed soon thereafter and he was the recipient of donor kidney when he was a toddler. He was diagnosed with epilepsy, heart conditions and Fanconi Syndrome, which likely contributed to his kidney failure. His replacement kidney, which wasn’t supposed to last more than five years, lasted until the age of 18. A veritable walking miracle, he continues to be a source of inspiration and the example to follow, even in my adult years.
His love of life and love of family taught me the importance of valuing what’s important and to continue fighting, no matter how dark or bleak the outcome may appear. He continued to fight his illnesses and always kept a smile on his face, always ready with a hug or an “I love you” for family or friends. I always admired how someone so young who literally fought death every day could have such a positive outlook on life and appreciated everything. If that isn’t the epitome of a shining human being who knows what it means to live, I don’t know what is.
Sadly, my brother passed away in April of 1991. During what had become a routine hospitalization to our family turned out to be the last time he would leave him home. Called in the middle of the night, my family and I rushed to the hospital to find my brother comatose. He passed from congestive heart failure a short time later. His death affected me in ways that even now, I haven’t consolidated. His influence and example continue to drive my day to day existence. If everyone would be a little more like my brother had been, the world would be a better place. Happy birthday, bro. You would have been 50-years old. Miss you. ☯️