On April 18th, 1995, at 8:03 a.m. a baby cried. Her little fingers clamped tightly into fists the size of grapes as she wailed and screamed for what seemed like hours at the time.

On April 18th, 1995, at 8:05 a.m. a baby did not cry. He was as quiet as he was small, with frog legs and a tuff of dark hair, you wouldn’t have noticed the nurses taking him away.

By 9 a.m. he was in surgery. The hole in his back needed to be closed. His spine needed to be fused together.

She cried and cried and cried all night. Nine months they grew together. Nine months the two were one.

Nine days she was home alone. No brother. No warmth. No sleep.

But by the tenth day, he came home, and the house finally slept in silence.

It was a miracle, they called it. He lives and laughs. He will speak and walk.

It’s been twenty-one years. He has grown - my has he grown.

That tuff became full and his eyes grew deep and chocolate. His smile beams. Though he lives a life of struggles, he will continue.

It’s not easy to watch the one closest to you suffer. School was difficult. He was bullied but she tried to protect him. Sometimes it worked, but most of the times it didn’t.

He graduated though, even if it was two years delayed.

That was the biggest celebration of our lives. Accomplishments that may be perceived as “simple” and “ordinary” are mountains for others to climb.

But he did it. He hiked Everest.

He is my brother. He is my twin. He is my inspiration. And he is why I write.

Derek, this is for you. I love you.