Friday, June 5, 2015

A Bittersweet Friendship

Almost a year to the date on a beach getaway my family sat in a nice restaurant eating a delicious dinner. Well almost all of us...You see my brother and I have a disease that makes our digestive tract unable to move and digest food properly in your gastrointestinal tract. Due to the severity of the disease we are both fed through a central line in our chest to get the nutrients straight into the blood to bypass the digestive tract. Everything the average person eats on a daily basis we can't have.

Sitting at that dinner table that night was particularly difficult on Tyler. He was only nine at the time and was starting to realize he is different than everyone else. Having to watch people do something we can't like eating feels like torture. Thankfully at home our parents don't request us to sit at the table with them while they eat. We have an "open door" policy. If you want to sit down with the family you can if you don't want to sit down with them for dinner you are able to do what you need.

However, a time like this there wasn't an option. There was no place to escape to that would allow us to get away from the aroma. As I saw Tyler struggling I offered to take him outside to the back patio because I knew it was hard for me to sit in there much less a little boy to sit and watch everyone eat. We found some nice rocking chairs to sit in and started making silly little jokes. Anything to get our mind off things. Soon we paused looking out into the ocean he began to speak and said "You know what?"

I replied "What?"

He proceeded to tell me that if I didn't need to have tubes and only he would be the one who was sick and with the tubes he would do it. I don't like my tubes at all but I would do it!

I broke down and that little boy didn't know one reason why I would be crying. He thought he had made me upset and I just took him into a big embrace and we stayed that way for what seemed like hours. My little man was so selfless and he always worried about me and how I was feeling when he should be worrying on himself. I am supposed to be the one who worries about him. Mentally the disease puts a big strain on his little mind which can't comprehend all of what has occurred. Yet, Tyler is the one telling everyone else to stay strong.

Tyler and I have always had the closest relationships that brought our bond even closer. I believe we became best friends for that reason. We were close before we were both critically ill but after we both became each other's biggest supporter. I can understand many of the emotions he has and help him through while there are some procedures he has to help me through. It's tough to see the fear and worry in his eyes because I know it all too well. If we lived a typical life I doubt never have this bond with my brother.

It's definitely bittersweet. While it sounds so amazing to have a partner to go through all this together so neither of us had to be alone I would never want the situation to be like it this. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would both be stuck together in this awful situation! The two of us have had to be strong for each other and that's what has made me remain positive because I know I have to do it for him.

That moment on the beach that summer night I knew we would be okay. I knew we would make it through the worst and the much more to come. We would survive and live life to the fullest all because we had each other as our source of strength. It was definitely a shock to hear this from my youngest brother but it just further validated the reason why he is my best friend and my superhero.

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