Defeat the odds: why I survived, my brother didn’t survive

My brother Mark Emile was shining brightly. At the age of 16, he was able to describe physics, Plato, calculus, or an auto mechanic, Stravinsky or Steppenwolf. At the age of 17, he started reading Great books Starting with the series Homer and Aeschylus, we move forward through the Greeks.I don’t know how much Great books He read. He wasn’t that long.

My brother was doing everything for him. He was kind, ethical and handsome. He graduated from high school a year early and was at the top of his class with a virtually perfect SAT. He started at MIT as a physics major. He also ended up at MIT a year later. At the age of 19, he jumped from the tallest campus building and died.

Then there was Mark’s sister, I. Everyone knew me, but not because I was great. I wasn’t very attractive because I was severely burned by a fire when I was four years old. I barely survived this injury, so my lower lip, chin, neck, and upper arms weren’t fused to my torso. A bright purple raised scar traveled down my little body length.

I spent every month alone in the hospital and had one after another horrific reconstructive surgery. When I was at home, I was bullied and cursed, and the kids passed me and shouted, “Yeah!” I laughed when they ran away. The pediatric ward was my playground. The wheelchair race was my soccer. I couldn’t take ballet because I couldn’t raise my arms above my head.

So why am I now living a happy, fulfilling life, a happy marriage and being surrounded by friends? And why did my extraordinarily talented brother die 40 years ago? No one would have bet on this result.

Perhaps there was a clue in the picture of our baby. As toddlers, each of us was taken to a professional photographer’s studio. In his picture, my brother sits in cooperation with a wooden stool and has a ball with a star. He looks at the camera half-laughing with pensive eyes. In another photo, he has a toy train in the game. Again, he looks into the camera, observes, and becomes silent.

The page of the photo album is turned over and it is there. I laughed and stretched my mouth as wide as possible. What I point out is that the small eyebrows are comically raised. I’m holding my head in coquettish. I’m probably nine months old and obviously spending time in my life. I don’t even need toys. I’m a party alone.

My basic temperament was different from Mark’s. I was friendly. He was an introvert. I was optimistic. He was prone to depression. I was happy. He was sad. From the beginning, we have shown these differences, the differences. It turns out to be an integral part of our survival.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand why I’m still here without my brother. Even after 40 years, it feels sick. I feel his absence as a chest pain, a slight stab on the left side, as a slender silver knife slips into my heart. His absence has existed in me every day of my life.

The day I started to hate was National Siblings Day, a nightmare that repeats on April 10th every year. My friend posted his affectionate photo and folded his arms around his brother and sister. Sometimes they share old photos taken decades ago and skillfully pose with new photos to recreate the original photo. They are standing and hugging each other in the same pose, but now they are wearing gray hair and glasses. They smile, grin in the years gone by, and share jokes with them.

I don’t know how the National Brothers Day began or who’s great idea. I didn’t have to put up with this day.My only comfort, and this is certainly a cold comfort, a comrade of my friend’s daughter who lost Girlfriend Brothers only four years ago.Every year, for the past 4 years, I sent a text message to my dear Laura on April 10thth..

“Happy Fg National Brothers Day. I love you.”

Within a few seconds, Laura will respond. “I know. That’s terrible. I love you too.”

I’m here, Mark isn’t. I am resilient, despite the possibility of opposition to me. Despite the odds in his favor, he was not resilient. It turns out that being naturally cheerful may be more important than doing a SAT.

Perhaps in this year’s COVID-19 and various other disasters, the ability to be cheerful is the most important gift of all.

Despite being burned, abandoned, ignored, bullied, and lost a loved one in the world, I am bright and optimistic. I don’t necessarily mean to be cheerful. It just happens. I’m like a red and white plastic float on the end of a fishing line. I go down and then pop up again. There is no other real reason. That is my temperament. I don’t choose it.

Mark didn’t choose his temperament either. None of us do. Our genes are what they are. Fortunately, however, genetics is not the only factor in resilience. Life experience is important, and social support is also important.

Optimism can be encouraged. You can work on your gratitude. We can teach people the skills to deal with at home, at school, or in a psychotherapy office.

They can lay a strong foundation for well-being because they can convey the importance of physical, mental and emotional self-care. We can provide tools to address life’s challenges, such as reconstructing struggles as an opportunity, focusing on control, finding strengths in everything you overcome, and accepting others. You can also teach them to recognize stress before it escalate. They can calm down and calm down.

Resilience is like intelligence. Some are born wisely in nature, but everyone can learn. Some people are born more resilient, but everyone can help.

You need to keep an eye out for those who are sad, desperate, and don’t smile at the camera. We really need to keep an eye on this time of quarantine and social isolation due to increasing mental distress.

Science says it can improve resilience. However, providing assistance is more complex, time-consuming, and costly than simply recommending “be more resilient.” Requesting resilience doesn’t happen.Some people need to be taught how..

Don’t pretend we all start from the same starting line. And from the life of my brother’s death … let’s not leave anyone behind.

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