A Brother's Journey | My Family Travels
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A single tear rolled down my cheek. Showers of rain saturated the streets outside my house as I stood motionless in the living room. My dad shared the news of my brother, Michael, who lay in a hospital bed, barely clinging to life. The weight of the message bore down upon me like a boulder as my family and I drove down to Hawkinsville, Georgia. As I walked into the hospital room, my heart sank when I saw Mike: tubes protruded from every section of his body; his breaths were heavy, and a machine was the only device keeping him alive. I broke into tears when the truth finally hit me: Mike was going to die.

            Every place has a purpose, and in each journey lies a meaning. Hawkinsville held the greatest gift one could receive, yet it was invisible to most.
            Rainy and dark was the drive down Interstate 75. Passing vacant buildings and open fields gave a sense of emptiness to the city of Hawkinsville. Our van pulled into the lot of Taylor Regional Hospital, and we entered the building. Guided by nurses who greeted my family warmly, I walked through the blank halls of the hospital noticing its simplicity and blandness. Yet, despite the city’s plainness, an odd feeling of comfort surrounded me.
            The nurses quietly showed us into the hospital room where Michael rested. I walked to the side of his bed and took his hand. No words were exchanged; there was no need to exchange them. I cried softly as I gripped his hand, yet the cry came not from sadness: it came from the joy of holding my brother’s hand, experiencing a moment that few would ever have. The gift of that moment filled my heart with gladness that would last me a lifetime.
            Although I begged to stay at the hospital with Michael, my parents concluded sleep was necessary. I arrived at the small, Best Western hotel room which consisted of two double beds and a bathroom. The room, though not fancy in the least, relieved our minds of the taxing day by allowing a peaceful sleep.
            Before returning the following day, our family went to McDonald’s for breakfast. Seeing our rush, the attendant served us quickly and politely. Receiving such hospitality was a blessing to our family, especially in a city we had never visited.
            Arriving early at the hospital, the nursing staff greeted our family and seemed as if they sincerely cared how our family was doing. Michael’s condition worsened, and the amount of time left with him was slipping away. I spent the entire day with Mike: I prayed, admired, and simply sat with him, merely wanting to share his company. Mike lay unconscious on his bed, and knowing his time was almost up, I walked toward him. I took his warm hand once more and began to say my goodbye. I talked about the memories we shared; I talked about his qualities that made me laugh; I told him how much I loved him. Peacefully, Michael passed away that night.
            “Why me?” you might ask. Why was I lucky enough to have the chance to say goodbye to my brother? Why did I get to spend the most memorable moments of my life with him right before he died? The joy I obtained from being with Michael is irreplaceable, and the atmosphere of Hawkinsville comforted me unlike any other place. Although the town may seem insignificant to most, Hawkinsville gave me the most extraordinary gift, a farewell to my older brother.

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