I can still remember the day that my big brother, Ben, took his first steps. He was eleven and I was ten. He had undergone a series of leg surgeries in the years leading up to this event. By this point he was finally seeming like himself again and his legs had healed. After church one Sunday my family of six took our Burger King to the park for a picnic. Following the same routine we did each Sunday, we all piled into our brown van. I sat in the very back row next to the cup-holder full of unidentifiable sticky grey goo. While on the drive to Burger Kind my Dad would often change the lyrics from the church recessional song and instead sing, "Soon and very soon we are going to Burger King" (instead of "see the King"). Kinda not churchie etiquette, I know.
While waiting in the long drive-thru line my Dad would continue his jokes. When we would grow impatient in the car he would explain what was happening within the fast food restaurant as our van crept forward past the greasy dumpsters. "Well kids, you see what is taking so long is first they have to grow the grass to feed the cow. Then they have to raise the cow, then they have to kill the cow, then they have to......" You get the picture.
When we would arrive at the park we would scarf down our food as fast as we could and then take off towards the toys. My two able-bodied siblings and I ran off towards the merry-go-round...
...and Ben followed.
He actually only took about three steps that day but I will remember it forever.
As time passed he became better and better at walking. He started off with a walker and then eventually he didn't need it anymore. He never totally mastered the art of walking competently so we used his wheelchair for most outings.
From the depths of the closet: Ben's first little-baby-sized casts
artwork c/o my dad
But over the last two months he has continued to grow weaker and weaker and is once again reduced to a chair. He can barely sit upright for five minutes before he needs to lay down again. He is suddenly a 90 year-old man. After a brief hospital stay we think that we finally have found the cause of his lack of energy. We are hoping that he will continue to heal and regain his ability to walk.
It is so frustrating to see someone overcome something as important as walking, only to see them lose it again. I really didn't expect to ever see him like this. I'm trying not to become angry about the roller coaster his life has become. I look up to heaven and just wonder why? Why him? He can't even tell us what hurts. I know under the layers of information there will be a lesson for me inside all of this.