Over the years, you have probably realized that I am sick a lot. At first, It likely didn’t make any sense, but as you grew up, you became more acutely aware of my signs, symptoms, and the whole host of chronic illnesses. Over the early years, neighbors, aunts, uncles, and grandparents may have stayed with you, while mom and dad were at the hospital with me. You got dragged to a few doctor’s appointments. Ok, more than a few, but know that I will be forever thankful for your sacrifices.
As you reached the tween ages of 11-13, you found yourself having to spend the night alone, getting yourself up for school in the mornings, making sure that you had uniforms ready, breakfast to eat, and that you were on the bus by 6:30 in the morning. Let me tell you that most kids your age would probably not have the maturity or willpower to do what you have done for years. I am sure that there were days when you where, oh so tempted, to go into school late.
Once you reached the driving age, you started to have to help mom and dad even more. Many a day you lifted my ridiculously heavy wheelchair to save mom’s back or offered to pull my wheelchair up the driveway after dad’s long day on his feet at work. You have driven me to appointments, stepped up and driven me for critical tests when mom and dad couldn’t be available, and I could no longer use my legs to drive. For years, I drove you to school, friend’s houses, and more, but now, the roles have reversed, and you have stepped up in a big way that the average sibling would not have been able to do.
What I am most proud of is your ability to succeed and move forward even when things aren’t completely right at home. You earn better grades. You have earned a position on your high school’s leadership team and you recently received you EMT-Basic certification, just like your mom, dad, and I. I have to tell you, that when you woke me up at 11:30 at night to show me your certificate and tell me you passed your state written and practical exams, it was one of the proudest days of my life.
I know that you always say that you are inspired by me, but what I fail to tell you enough, is how much I am inspired by your strength, courage, sensitivity, and undying hope that someday I’ll get better and run with you in the yard again. I miss that. I would love to be able to toss a lacrosse ball with you to help prepare you for your upcoming season or just throwing a baseball around like the old days. Just know one thing, I absolutely cannot wait to see you on the lacrosse field this spring playing your heart out. It will remind me of my soccer and basketball playing days, but knowing that you too are truly passionate about a sport the way I once was… It means more than you’ll ever know to me.
If there were more people that possessed your stellar qualities in the world, the world would be a much better place. You will be one of the best doctors in your field when you get older because you will have seen the other side of illness. I know I don’t tell you this nearly enough, but thank you for all of your sacrifices over the years and I love you more than you’ll ever understand. If you need me, I’ll be the one cheering the loudest from the stands at your lacrosse games this spring.
Love you to the moon and back times infinity,
Your grateful sister with chronic illnesses
P.S. When my autobiography becomes a New York Times Bestseller, I will give you a 15% of the cut of the profits for your “profound” impact in and on my life. I would not be where I am today without you! Until I officially publish the book, this letter will have to serve as your official recognition. Merry Christmas buddy!