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Undeterred By Disability

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  • Undeterred By Disability

    Most people can clearly remember the most influential event in their life: losing their first tooth, meeting Mickey Mouse, a trip abroad, etc. The most important event in my life, however, actually occurred thirteen months before I was born.
    On a cold December day in 1985 my parents were devastated to learn that their son, my brother, Robert, had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. My grandfather offered wise, yet tough advice, saying, “You can watch him live or you can watch him die. It’s your choice.” Although my brother never heard those words, he has unconsciously chosen to live his life to its fullest. Most people would look at a crippling disease as a negative aspect of their lives. Resentment, pessimism, and a feeling of helplessness often come hand in hand with a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. This was not the case with my older brother, Robert. He approached the topic of his handicap nonchalantly and with maturity. His thought process was that if he couldn't change it, why waste time thinking about it? Then again, I guess it could have been his everlasting innocence due to mild autism that prevented him from seeing what was obvious to us: his life was really hard. Even with his daily struggle to perform simple everyday actions such as drinking, breathing, and grabbing tools, his positivity never faltered. Robert never complained or felt sorry for himself. Rather, he continued on with his life like anyone else would, unknowingly inspiring a multitude of people to look at their own lives through my brother's rose-colored glasses. With his upbeat attitude through his tumultuous journey, how can anybody else be the most influential person in my life but my only sibling?
    My entire life my brother has had muscular dystrophy. Yet he hasn't been aware of it his entire life. His disease is progressive. As time passes, his muscles deteriorate and it becomes increasingly harder for him to move. To know what it feels like to run through a meadow, to jump on a trampoline, and to swim in salty waters and have that taken away from you is something I cannot even begin to imagine. I look at my brother and his strife and realize that there are bigger problems than a bad hair day or a C on a math test. His life is slowly being torn away from him, yet he somehow doesn't let it bother him. He might be weak physically, but emotionally he exhibits the strength of Atlas. Through his positivity he gives me the gift of being able to look at my own life positively, and that is a gift I am truly thankful for.

  • #2
    Nice to read.

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    • #3
      Cool read
      Last edited by Joe Bobbo; 09-11-2015, 10:13 PM.

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      • #4
        Very well written. Thanks for sharing.

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        • #5
          I'm glad I found this small autobiographical gem, before it slipped into the hidden realms of the forum! Nicely penned with sensitivity and honesty. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

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