Family: The Heart of It All
by Wesley Forsythe
Two years ago, my world changed overnight. My younger brother, Cal, was diagnosed with leukemia. One day we were playing disc golf in the park, and the next day he was a patient with a serious illness. Sometimes I thought we would never get through those terrible times, but now Cal is better, and I can look back and see how that crisis brought my family together. We had always been close; Mom and Dad often told Cal and me that they love us, and they never missed a single school event in our lives. But Cal’s illness took us to a new level. Ever since then, I’ve felt that nothing in life is as important as family.
I’ll never forget the moment when I heard about it. I hadn’t gone with Cal and our parents to the doctor’s office. It’s not the kind of thing teenage brothers usually do. I did my homework and played a video game, and suddenly I realized that three hours had passed and they weren’t home yet. I called Mom on her cell phone and asked what was going on, and she said, “I don’t know, Wesley. I can’t talk now. Just microwave some lasagna for your dinner.” She didn’t sound like herself, and it started to worry me.
It was almost sunset when I heard the car turn into the driveway. I opened the front door and saw Dad walking toward the house with his arm around Cal, and Mom, teary-eyed, hanging back as if she didn’t want us to see her cry. I knew that my parents had been worried about Cal’s tired spells, but I hadn’t paid much attention. Now I felt as if there were a huge road sign pointing at me, with flashing letters saying, “Pay attention!”
“What’s up?” I said, but I immediately felt that it was a dumb thing to say. It’s something I say at least 12 times a day when I greet my friends. It seemed totally wrong for when my mother was wiping tears from her eyes.
No one answered till we got inside. Even then, Dad and Mom couldn’t bring themselves to say anything. So Cal told me. He tried to...