Saying Goodbye To My Little Brother With Down Syndrome

Saying Goodbye To My Little Brother With Down Syndrome

Best Friend, Confidant, Brother
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Yes, I’ll miss my parents. Yes, I’ll miss my friends. Yes, I’ll even miss my older brother. This is all true, but the most soul crushing thing about moving 1,300 miles from home is the idea that I won’t get to see my little brother every day.

My little brother, Aaron, is the light of my life, and he is unique in many ways. One of the things that makes him stand out in a crowd is his Down Syndrome.

For those of you who don’t know, Down Syndrome is a third copy of the 21st chromosome which leads to distinctive physical features and developmental delays.

Aaron is 16 years old, and he has been one of my best friends almost my whole life. Although he can annoy me to the ends of the earth, he is one of the most genuinely kind-hearted people I know. He brings me water when I’m working at home, wishes me “sweet dreams” every night, plays daily board games with me, and reminds me, more than anyone, that he loves me.

That’s what really sucks about all of it. I may not always like the little grump, but I do always love him. He is the one person, the only person, who doesn’t judge me when I make a mistake, explode for no reason, or burst into random bouts of tears. He has kept me going through so much, and, now, I have to manage to say goodbye.

I’m the middle child, and I watched my older brother go off to college four years ago. Despite his being only two hours away and visiting at least once a month, Aaron was heartbroken. I watched him cry the first few times and slowly adjust to the new family dynamic, but, in my case, it’s going to be worlds different. I’ll be home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, if I’m lucky, fall break. I have no clue how I’m going to explain to him that I won’t be home to see his school events, his basketball games, his bowling skills, and more. I may be back for the summers, but it just won’t be the same anymore. Anytime I’m home, the only thing I’ll be doing is counting down the days until I leave him again.

Over the years, Aaron has become so much a part of my identity that I’m not really sure what it’s going to be like not being “Aaron’s sister” anymore. I’ll be my own person, which will be great, but at the price of moving away from one of my closest friends and confidantes.

Aaron will be number one in my life for as long as we are both alive, and I have no complaints about this fact, but, come mid-August, we will never be the same. Phone calls and Facetime sessions will help, but nothing will be the same as his nightly bear hugs.

I now face the terror of leaving him to fight his own fights. For the past 16 years of my life, I’ve fought tooth and nail to make sure that he was safe and loved in any and every situation. I’ve defended him against bullying, discrimination, and more, but I won’t be able to do that anymore. Aaron is so amazing in so many ways, and I wish there was a way to just pack him up and drag him to college with me, but I know my roommates probably wouldn’t appreciate it. Aaron has shaped me, for the better, in so many ways, and I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if not for him. It will be a rough adjustment, but I know that, over time, I’ll manage to adjust to life without my favorite little grump.

Cover Image Credit: Annika Soderfelt

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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Poetry On Odyssey: Poems On Friendship

It can kill you or revive you, but whatever the case, it will change your life.

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A Poem Beginning with the Death of Caesar

Et tu, Brute?—Then fall Caesar.

[He dies.]


The stab wasn't what killed him,

no,

Caesar truly died of a broken heart.

Yes,

upon seeing his best friend involved in the conspiracy,

Caesar could no longer find the strength to live in this world.


I can't say I blame him.

A bond with a best friend,

a true best friend,

is deeper than family,

deeper than marriage.

They are your soulmate.


But that kind of relationship is a mutual thing.

It may be unspoken,

sure,

but it is mutual.


The pain of finding out a best friendship isn't mutual is unbearable.

The rejection is one thing,

but there's almost always an accompanying betrayal.


That's the real knife,

the real stab.

It twists in your heart and,

instead of blood,

makes tears flow.

And you stare at the one you loved so much,

wishing you could just disappear or die.


But you aren't Caesar,

they aren't Brutus,

and,

though the pain is there,

the knife isn't.

So you live,

wondering when the pain will end.


Still Fourteen - Beginning with a Line by Shakespeare

To me fair friend you never can be old

because you will always be fourteen,

awkward but happy-go-lucky,

with jacked-up teeth and mousy brown hair.


You knew no pain then,

not really,

and you were refreshing to my already tortured mind.

You made my dark times easier,

holding a flashlight out for me to find you,

even though you never knew what you were really doing.


Things are a little different now.

You have experienced pain and heartbreak,

despite my very best efforts to help you otherwise,

but I was there with a flashlight for you,

returning the favor.

You now know the full extent of all you did for me,

which makes it harder for me to hide my pain from you,

but I know that's for the best.


Still,

time has flown by the last eight years,

and every time I see you,

I still see the awkward fourteen-year-old in my algebra class,

asking if I want to work with her.

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