The 6 things I learned from my special brother (among many)
Life is full of ups and downs, in many cases you don’t even realize that you are in a different situation from others. My case was very particular, I didn’t know that it was not normal to have a relative with a certain disability, either physical or mental. When I came to this world my brother Federico was already there with his Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
It is not easy to grow up with a disabled brother because one doesn’t know or understand why exactly things happen. How can you explain to a child what a seizure is without generating confusion or fear? How can you make him understand that no matter how many times he tells the same thing to his brother, he will not understand anything or just a fraction with some luck? How do you explain the different reactions he has to normal things?
Many frustrations are experienced, fights and confusions. Why does something like this happen to an innocent child? Why did this have to happen to my brother? Whose fault was this?
In my case the answer was given to me very clearly, there was an accident at the time of birth because the doctor didn’t want to perform a cesarean section instead of a natural birth since at that time the procedure did not have an extra pay, generating pressure on the skull which caused the entry of cerebrospinal fluid into the brain. Simple, isn’t it? Did my situation change at all thanks to this explanation?
With time, one understands more what happened, you develop ways of speaking with someone who can’t communicate properly, understand the subliminal messages and learns one thing or another about how to relate to each other. See the picture in a broader sense.
My brother Federico is someone special, this does not mean less or more, he is someone who lives his life with a smile and once you notice these little things, you can learn from him. I want to share some of the things I learned.
Patience: To be able to understand that things do not happen on purpose but because in many cases people have limited options, either because of their time, abilities or energy.
Enjoy the little things in life: Learn to enjoy a simple glass of water, take things easy and try to take pleasure in the things we have with all our senses. Sight is the sense we use the most, but we have four more.
Smile without having a reason why: Take life with a smile trying not to be trapped by negative thoughts. Smiling costs nothing (I say it knowing that sometimes it is very difficult) and it affects us psychologically. Deceiving the brain is easier than you think. Things could be worse, that does not limit us: Our situation could be much worse, it doesn’t mean that we have to underestimate the bad things that happen to us, but we have to be grateful for the things we have. We can’t control the things that happen to us, but we can choose how to respond to them, this is the basic principle of resilience.
Simple is not bad: Life does not have to be complex for you to enjoy it. We don’t need to wear the latest trends, use the most expensive items or drive the fastest car to be happy. Many times dressing comfortably, reading a magazine or watching a TV show is enough to be happy with what we have.
The bond with others does not need to be with words or with a reason: My brother has always been able to create bonds with others, either people or animals. This is due to the free disposition with which he lives. He doesn’t interact thinking what he can gain from them, he just does it with curiosity, just to know a little more about the other party and see what can happen.
As you can see, one can learn a lot from those who might seem to have nothing to teach. Real-life situations may trap and kick us without knowing why, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a glass of water, find that alleged non-existent taste, smell a flower, pet our mascots and appreciate the things we have, aiming to smile a little more.