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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Personal · #2000762
In remembrance of my late nephew, Edward Jr.
I am and will always be a strong believer that sometimes people come into our lives to serve a specific purpose. Whether it be to teach us a lesson or to just make us stronger, there will always be those that come into our lives for a purpose.

Though not many people know this, I was an aunt for a short time. When we found out that my sister, Jannine, was pregnant my sisters and I were thrilled. Despite my parents’ disapproval, I could tell my sister was too. However, as the months went on and her pregnancy progressed, my sister kept getting ill. Mind you, they were just small illnesses like that of a cold, but they occurred often and lasted for long periods of time. See, my sister had sickle cell which made her immune system very weak. One illness got bad enough that she had to check herself into a hospital. They told her that her illness was going to affect her pregnancy and that they would have to deliver early. My sister agreed, and the next day she had little Edward Jr. through c-section. The baby was considered premature and immediately put on ventilation. I was around thirteen at the time.

Our sister updated us on her and her son’s status frequently. We thought things were alright for a while until one day she told us that the doctors had informed her that EJ was getting worse, and it was painful for him to breathe. Not only this, but he had begun to come down with the same illness my sister had while she was pregnant. I could tell that this hurt my sister a lot, and when we visited her, we tried not to ask about EJ’s condition unless she brought it up herself. When she did update us, it seemed like it was always bad news. His breathing is worse. They want to perform surgery. They think he might have brain damage. He might have epilepsy. He’s suffering. They want to pull the plug. The only time I heard a bit of hope color her voice was one day when he had improved just enough for her to be able to hold and feed him. When she told us, her face lit up and though I knew they joy would be short lived, I made sure to carry that face in my mind because I wouldn’t see it for a while.

I only visited my nephew twice throughout the seven months he lived in the hospital before they pulled the plug on him and ended his suffering. I wasn’t allowed in the room that night because I was deemed too ‘immature’ to behave myself, even though I was thirteen. Me and my sisters cried, and Jannine didn’t come over our house for quite sometime. I know she felt guilty about pulling the plug, and it may have taken her a while to see, but I always had the utmost faith that EJ went to a better place. The day that my sister finally mustered up the strength to come to our house again, we were surprised to see a smile on her face. She sat us down in the living room and told us what had happened that day. She told us that she had been sitting in the living room, watching the rain and thinking about him. When she looked up again, a large slither of sunlight shined through the clouds, despite the rain, and she said it was almost like she could hear his voice saying, “Everything is okay now, mama. I’m in a better place”.

Like I said before, I am and will always be a strong believer that sometimes people come into our lives to teach us something about ourselves. Today, I look at my sister and see that she’s never been stronger. Rest in peace, Edward Jr.
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