You wouldn't know it now, but 23 years ago my brother was born a few days early at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Neb. He was a healthy baby, maybe even on the rolly-polly side, but healthy. Within two days of coming home, my mom and dad could not console their screaming, fussy, very tired baby. My parents were worried something was wrong and sure enough, and thank goodness, they went to the ER. My brother was diagnosed with viral meningitis and was a very, very sick baby for a very long time. I don't remember it at all since I was a mere 16 months old, but the stories my family tells are not ones that are very sunny. You see my dad was farming full-time, going to school for his Master's full-time, and working full-time. My mom at that point had left her job at the bank to take care of us, but I was pretty young and they had a deathly sick baby on their hands. There were long days, long nights and trade-offs of who was going to take care of me to make sure I had a somewhat normal life and who would stay with my brother at the hospital, all the while working and going to school. Thankfully, Lincoln and Bryan Memorial had some of the best doctors in the Midwest and they were able to do everything they could to help him get better. I was dubbed "the nurse's assistant" and even wore a smock in order to lighten the mood some days. I think God knew how much heart ache my parents had been through with losing their first baby, having me come 8 weeks early (and having some eye troubles due to being a preemie) and now my brother with this terrible sickness and blessed them with the courage and strength to get through this and in the end have two healthy children.
As I said, you wouldn't know it now because Brandon is as healthy as any one. He didn't have any physical or mental delays like so many people who survive meningitis have. We are thankful for that. He is kind, thoughtful, funny and above all else, loyal. He stepped up to the plate when he had Alexa, and I thank God he did as we have such a blessing in our lives now. He believes in serving this country and believes it's an honor to do so. That's what chokes me up, knowing how much he has come in his 23 years and knowing how much we will miss him come September when he is called up to serve his country.
And I'm thankful he was able to run with me on Saturday...it meant a lot to have the brother I so dearly love next to me, pushing me to finish when we all were pushing him to fight for it 23 years ago.
|Me and my brother at the finish line of Erek's Run on June 11, 2011.|