Thrive II Preview

Beating the Odds: Why I Survived and My Brother Did Not

Posted by on November 21, 2020 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Inspirational with 0 Comments

depressed sad woman

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

By Lise Deguire | Tiny Buddha

My brother, Marc-Emile, sparkled brilliantly. At sixteen years old, he could expound on physics or Plato, calculus, or car mechanics, Stravinsky or Steppenwolf. At seventeen, he began reading the Great Books series, starting with Homer and Aeschylus and moving forward through the Greeks. I don’t know how many of those Great Books he read. He didn’t have that long.

My brother had everything going for him. He was kind, ethical, and handsome. He graduated high school a year early, at the top of his class, with virtually perfect SATs. He started at MIT as a physics major. He ended at MIT too, one year later. At the age of nineteen, he flung himself to his death from the tallest campus building.

Then there was me, Marc’s little sister. Everyone knew me too, but not because I was brilliant. I was exceptional in a less appealing way, having been severely burned in a fire when I was four years old. I barely survived this injury, which left me with no lower lip, no chin, no neck and my upper arms fused to my torso. Bright purple raised scars traveled the length of my small body.

I spent month after month in the hospital alone, undergoing one terrifying reconstructive surgery after the next. When I was home, I was bullied and taunted, kids running past me, screaming “Yuck!” as they fled, laughing. The children’s hospital ward was my playground. Wheelchair races were my soccer. I couldn’t take ballet because I couldn’t lift my arms above my head.

So why is it that I am now living a contented, fulfilling life, happily married and surrounded by friends? And why is it that my exceptional, gifted brother took his own life forty years ago? No one would have bet on this outcome.

Perhaps a clue lay in our baby photos. As toddlers, each of us had been brought to a professional photographer’s studio. In his photos, my brother sits cooperatively on a wooden stool, holding a ball with stars on it. He looks at the camera with pensive eyes, half-smiling. In another photo, he gamely holds a toy train. Again, he peers into the camera, observing and reticent.

The page turns in the photo album and there I am. I laugh, mouth stretched as wide as possible. I point, tiny eyebrows comically raised. I hold my head coquettishly. I am probably nine months old and clearly having the time of my life. I don’t even need a toy. I’m a party all by myself.

My basic temperament was different from Marc’s. I was friendly; he was introverted. I was optimistic; he tended toward depression. I was gleeful; he was sad. From the start, we displayed these differences, differences, which turn out to be vital factors in our survival.

I have spent my lifetime trying to figure out why I am still here when my brother is not. It feels wrong, even four decades later. I feel his absence as an ache in my chest, a slight stabbing on the left side, like a slender silver knife slipping into my heart. His absence has been present within me, every day of my life.

A day I have grown to loather is National Siblings Day, a reoccurring nightmare of a day, which happens every April 10. My friends post loving photos of themselves, arms around their brother or sister. Sometimes they share old photos taken decades ago and pose cleverly in new photos to recreate the original picture. They stand, embracing each other in an identical pose, but now with gray hair and glasses. They smile, grinning at the years that have passed, sharing the joke together.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…..

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top
Send this to a friend