My Brother Zach

Reads: 227  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a piece i wanted to put out from personal experience. All the events that happened did something to me in a way I never expected and it was because of someone very special to me. He gave me something that could never be taken back, because it was him who shaped me into who I am.

Submitted: August 09, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 09, 2014




You know those moments when you keep asking yourself ‘Why did this happen to me?’ or ‘What did I do to deserve this?’  I lost count of how many times I asked myself those questions.  But in the end of a situation, you see something happen.  Something good came out of a situation.  Something you never thought possible.  I’ve lost count of how many times that has happened in my life.  The truth:  I don’t regret any of it.  For seventeen years I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes.  Being diagnosed has taught me some valuable lessons that I never expected to learn and it’s because of those lessons, were what shaped me into the person I am now.  Most of those were given to me by someone very close to my heart.  Zach. 


I was seven when my life changed forever.  I remember watching my favorite cartoon while petting one of the two kittens we had.  While getting ready for bed, it felt like shackles had clamped onto my feet as I dragged myself to bed, not feeling good.  By midnight, I had gotten sick.  My Dad was the only one with us because Mom was on a business trip.  That night was just the beginning of the nightmare that automatically plugged itself into my head and never could be unplugged.  By morning, I was feeling worse than the night before.  I wouldn’t stop throwing up, and Dad had to drive me to a doctor.  All remember was hearing the doctor say to my Dad, ‘get her to the hospital,’ by the time he got us into the ER, all I remember was flopping around like a lifeless doll and blacking out. 


I woke up to a lot of light and once I opened my eyes, I saw relived and crying coming from my Dad, Mom, Aunt, grandmothers and grandfather as I realized I was in a bed with a monitor on my toe and IVs in my arms.  I kept thinking: What was going on?  After waking up, I was wheeled into another room.  I was scared and wanted to leave but I couldn’t.  What I heard from the doctor as he came in changed my life forever:  I was told that I had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.


The rest of the week went by at a snail’s pace.  I was stuck in the bed, getting blood tests, watching videos on how to take care of my new condition, practicing injections on dolls and taking my levels.  It was crazy.  I wanted to think it was a bad dream and when I wake up things would be fine, but I found out after leaving the hospital, that wasn’t going to be the case. 


It all started with school.  When I went back to visit on a Friday afternoon, all my friends were happy to see me.  I remember Mom had to remind me that I had to do my bloodsugar and insulin before I ate.  Mom helped me with my bloodsugar and Dad gave me my injection.  That weekend was a sore point for me.  I was now on my own with learning how to take care of my health.  I had to relearn everything all over again.It was when I went back though after Sunday it started.  My friends stopped sitting with me during lunch except for my best friend.  Whenever I had to check my level, I was in the principal’s office and sometimes ate lunch earlier than the other students because my bloodsugar was low.  They wouldn’t come near me anymore, thinking I was contagious and they could get Diabetes themselves.  I was also teased by some of the boys about not being able to have candy anymore.  I became very lonely and it hurt.  Harder than anything in the world.  I felt like I was a freak no one wanted to be near.  But, that all changed, when my Mom brought Zach one day to school.


Let me talk about my brother and why he means so much to me.  Zach has high-functioning Autism and can’t communicate like everybody else.  I was told this as a little girl over and over, but never understood what it did to him, mentally and whatnot.  I just shrugged it off, thinking my Mom knows how to take care of him so I don’t need to worry about it.  Mom brought Zach with her one day to school when she came to pick me up.  As I was getting my backpack, I saw someone push Zach to the ground hard.  Seeing someone do that happen made me very angry.  I went to the boy’s mom and told her what she did to Zach and that was when I saw everything in a different light.  When we went home I paid more attention to Zach.  How he acted with Mom and Dad, how they responded to him, how he went to school before me, how he ate, what made him happy, what made him sad, angry.  It was after that day I realized something:I realized that there were people who made fun of others not just me with Diabetes but also people like Zach: Because they were different to everybody else around them and behaved a certain way.  I wasn’t able to look at my brother the same way again.  I saw more closely the challenges that Zach had to deal with on a daily basis and honestly, I was horrified.  He can’t really speak and can’t express himself like we can.  The more I learned about this, the more I saw that it wasn’t fair for Zach or anybody else who had to deal with these challenges every day.  Just like how I thought it didn’t seem that I got Diabetes.  Then I remembered that some of my friends were dealing with Asthma and other conditions.  I was seeing the world differently and it was there Zach taught me my first life-changing lesson: life is not always fair to you.  But that didn’t mean you can’t live the way you want to. 


When I went back to school, I started paying close attention to takin care of my Diabetes.  Pricking my finger, doing insulin, I even watched the video tape again that the doctor gave to me.  I had this medical condition that I was going to have to live with right now.  I started watching everybody closely when they were around me.  I realized they were scared because they didn’t know what I had and how it worked. Like the doctor showed me at the hospital, I decided to tell them what it was I was doing now.  I showed them my kit, my needles, what I needed to do to survive and that became the first silver lining I had since coming out of the hospital.  After the presentation to class, our whole class ended up doing a bake sale and the money we earned went to the American Diabetes Association.  I felt happy and a bit proud of myself for when Dad and I turned in the money.  Because that money went to a good cause.  I felt like I did something meaningful with my life there.  A feeling I’ll never forget. 


After that moment, came the Diabetes walks.  My family and went to the first one a year after adjusting to Diabetes.  From there on, it became kind of like a tradition to do it every year.  Every time a walk was about to come up, I tried to get people I knew to help raise money to donate.  Those walks became a starting pointing for me to get involved with charity work.  I loved helping out with others.  It made me feel again like I was doing something worthwhile knowing it was going to make a difference in ways.


Zach showed me another important life lesson as I got older:  your life is your own.  Go ahead and make it yours.  I grew jealous over other people as I got older.  They didn’t have to check their bloodsugar, always watch what they eat or had to survive off of doing injections.  There was a point in life where I started fighting My Diabetes.  I felt every adult around me had to treat me like I was glass that could crack at a single touch.  I remember when my parents got divorced I went into a downward spiral.  I wasn’t taking care of myself as I should have been.  I was eating junkfood, not taking my bloodsugar, it was a disaster.  I remember one day I was listening to music in my room, lying on my bed.  I walked out of the room.  I found myself walking to Zach’s room, his door was cracked.  I saw him laughing as he was watching Disney’s The Jungle Book.  He changed the language from English to French and was singing along to Colonel Haith’s march.  I watched as he laughed and sung along despite the way how he was speaking.  He was happy.  Happy just being himself.  I watched for a bit as he kept switching the language on the movie and just singing in random French, Spanish, and English.  I felt another hard hit get me like it had when I got diagnosed.  It was my choice how I decided to live my life.  I made the choices to


I strived to be normal, to show that I was like everybody else.  Although I knew that was not going to happen, no matter how much I wished it would.  I couldn’t accept myself for who I was.  It’s taken my years to accept the fact there is nothing wrong with what I like doing, or how I act.  It was just me being me.There’s no shame in being who you are.  It’s what sets you apart from everyone else, makes you unique.  Today I accept who I am as a person, just as Zach showed me how he enjoys being himself. 


As I look back on the lessons Zach has shown me, I think back to the day of how  everything changed my perspective on the world, and I’m glad it did.  After seeing my get pushed, I became a different person and for the better.  I learned that even though life isn’t always fair, you still have control of what you do with life and how to approach it.  Zach showed me that just because you have a hardship like a medical condition, that doesn’t stop you from living your life.  It made me aware of things I had never given second thought about.  Like how to be confident with you are as a person, being aware of what’s happening around you and not just yourself, how to love, how to enjoy life with what you have instead of what you don’t. 



Looking back on that day, I look at my Diabetes as a reality check.  It made me aware of things I never thought of before; like how to take care of yourself, how to live with something you will always have by your side for the rest of your life, how to appreciate life.  I will never forget the lessons Zach has taught me.  I will hold onto them till my dying day.  Because despite the fact that he cannot verbally communicate, he has shown that he is aware of us, his family, and for that, I will always be touched and hold him in high esteems. 


Like an uncharted map, you make the destinations you plan to make in life and the paths of where it will take you.  Diabetes was an unexpected path, but I gained a lot of valuable knowledge from the journey.And most of that knowledge that I grasped onto, I give credit to Zach.  My little brother, who gave me something beyond priceless: a new outlook on life and for it shaped me into the person I am today.  All because of Zach and the actions that happened that one day in school.

© Copyright 2019 Raven Fury. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: