34: Saving Jack

34: Saving Jack

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Saving Jack

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.

~Vietnamese Proverb

I was an only child until I was seven. Then my baby brother arrived, and I loved helping Mom with diapers and looking out for him when the need arose. We were great pals.

Then, I hit the teenage years. I became moody and difficult, and everything annoyed me — especially my little brother Jack.

We fought and yelled. If there was any dialogue between us, we were usually scrapping. I’d just started high school in a new neigh-bourhood, feeling alienated and alone. One Saturday morning, I was particularly cranky as Jack and I fought over the television. We were both sent to our rooms and ignored each other for a while.

Then, when I was walking to the bathroom, I heard a whisper. Barely audible, a croaky, little hoarse sound called my name.

“Sylvia…”

It was Jack. I usually ignored him. He was annoying. What did he want?

Then I felt something come over me.

A voice in my head spoke calmly, Go to your brother.

I heard myself say, “Jack?”

I re-routed toward his bedroom. It was as if someone had grabbed my hand and pulled me to his door. I don’t know who it was, this invisible influence, but it took over.

When I pushed the door open, I saw Jack sitting on the bed. He held a toy guitar on his chest, but in his attempts to flip it like a rock star, the strap had gotten twisted and tight around his neck. He was being strangled and could barely croak out, “Help…”

I didn’t panic or flinch. The force that overcame me drew me to my brother. The strap was so twisted and tight against his larynx that I didn’t know which way to attempt untwisting it. But somehow my arms reached out, and with a few manoeuvres, I had removed the guitar.

Jack and I hugged, realizing how close to danger, to death, he had come.

We held each other.

Thinking back, I see the thick strap, so entwined and knotted around my brother’s throat, and I marvel at the miracle that came to us that day.

I tried not to take my baby brother for granted after that, and I thank God every day for the divine intervention that spared him. It was a reminder that, even when we are at our worst, miracles can happen.

~Sylvia Diodati

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