A Brother’s Voice

A Brother’s Voice

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

A Brother’s Voice

Most people have an inspiration in their life. Maybe it’s a talk with someone you respect or an experience. Whatever the inspiration, it tends to make you look at life from a different perspective. My inspiration came from my sister Vicki, a kind and caring person. She didn’t care about accolades or being written about in newspapers. All she wanted was to share her love with the people she cared about, her family and friends.

The summer beforemy junior year of college, I received a phone call from my father saying that Vicki was rushed to the hospital. She had collapsed and the right side of her body was paralyzed. The preliminary indications were that she suffered a stroke.However, test results confirmed itwas much more serious. There was a malignant brain tumor causing her paralysis.Her doctors didn’t give hermore than threemonths to live. I rememberwondering howthis could happen? The day before Vicki was perfectly fine. Now, her life was coming to an end at such a young age.

After overcoming the initial shock and feeling of emptiness, I decided that Vicki needed hope and encouragement. She needed someone to make her believe that she would overcome this obstacle. I became Vicki’s coach. Everyday we would visualize the tumor shrinking and everything that we talked about was positive. I even posted a sign on her hospital room door that read, “If you have any negative thoughts, leave them at the door.” I was determined to help Vicki beat the tumor. She and I made a deal that was called 50-50. I would do 50% of the fighting and Vicki would do the other 50%.

The month of August arrived and it was time to begin my junior year of college 3,000 miles away. I was unsure whether I should leave or stay with Vicki. I made the mistake of telling her that I might not leave for school. She became angry and said not to worry because she would be fine. There was Vicki lying ill in a hospital bed telling me not to worry. I realized that if I stayed it might send a message that she was dying and I didn’t want her believing that. Vicki needed to believe that she could win against the tumor.

Leaving that night feeling it might be the last time I would ever see Vicki alive was the most difficult thing I have ever done. While at school, I never stopped fighting my 50% for her. Every night before falling asleep I would talk to Vicki, hoping that there was some way she could hear me. I would say, “Vicki I’m fighting for you and I will never quit. As long as you never quit fighting we will beat this.”

A few months had passed and she was still holding on. I was talking with an elderly friend and she asked about Vicki’s situation. I told her that she was getting worse but that she wasn’t quitting. My friend asked a question that really made me think. She said, “Do you think the reason she hasn’t let go is because she doesn’t want to let you down?”

Maybe she was right? Maybe I was selfish for encouraging Vicki to keep fighting? That night before falling asleep, I said to her, “Vicki, I understand that you’re in a lot of pain and that you might like to let go. If you do, then I want you to. We didn’t lose because you never quit fighting. If you want to go on to a better place then I understand. We will be together again. I love you and I’ll always be with you wherever you are.”

Early the next morning, my mother called to tell me that Vicki had passed away.

James Malinchak

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