My cousin recently posted this video of her younger brother, Allen.
I hadn’t seen it since his funeral back in November of 2010 and it really resonated with me.
Allen had more life and spunk in two fingers than most people have in their whole body.
It is utterly moving to see a person who can barely lift his own hand talk about his life with no animosity to the cards he was dealt.
And when I think of Allen I am reminded just how lucky I was to know him.
I cannot imagine being given the kind of diagnosis Allen was at age 6.
I cannot fathom the anger, pain, and fear my uncle and aunt felt upon receiving the news.
I cannot pretend to know the devastation it brought to his older sister.
But what I saw growing up was nothing short of breathtaking.
Allen was funny and full of spirit.
And together with his siblings and parents he lived a joyous life.
They faced many hardships.
But they faced everything together, as a family.
I admire his older sister, for being her brother’s best friend.
I admire his parents, for being pillars of strength.
And I admire Allen, for making the choice to live his life to the fullest.
I’ve struggled with writing this blog post since last week because I have this weird thing where I feel like I have to have a moral or point to my posts.
I wanted to talk about Allen but I didn’t know what message to send out.
But then I realized that I don’t have to dot all the lines all the time.
The moral of Allen’s story will be different for everyone, which is sort of beautiful.
One thing I know for certain is that if you take the time to watch the 6 minute and 43 second video I posted all the way through, you will be changed whether you expected to be or not.
If that prompts you to go out and support Duchenne research, then awesome.
If it encourages you to start living your life with more gratitude, then that’s incredible.
The part of your heart it touches is personal and I can’t create a moral for that.
But I can say for me, remembering Allen makes me hug my family a little tighter.
He reminds me to be thankful for things that we take for granted; like being able to walk or scratch my nose with ease.
And most of all his life shows me that we as people are capable of extraordinary things if we choose to embrace our weaknesses rather than allow them to hinder us.