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Kevin Harter

My brother could barely say a word Alexander Isak Borussia Dortmund Jersey , but he taught me the meaning of strength and compassion.

My brother, Michael Patrick Harter, was born in Hollywood on December, 1956, a month before his due date. Doctors told my parents only that because he was premature1, it would take some time for Mike to catch up.

However, six months after Mike's birth, a nurse noticed his slow mental and physical development. It was more than a minor disability, she told my parents. He was retarded, and he also had cerebral palsy. Overwhelmed, my mom and dad went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in the spring of 1957, looking for the kind of medical miracle. They believed the clinic's doctors performed but they could do nothing for Mike, nor could they ever fully explain why he never lost his baby teeth, never grew taller than about 30 inches and never weighed more than

pounds. They did estimate, however Sven Bender Jersey , that he would not live to see his 12th birthday.

In May 1958 I was born in Austin, Minn., a blue collar town framed by cornfields. I was healthy and grew up to be big and fast.

As a boy I learned to feed and clothe Mike. As a teenager, I baby-sat for my "big-brother" and learned the proper dosage6 of medicine to prevent the seizures that caused him to stiffen and tremble.

In my favorite photo we are on the steps of our new home, wearing red baseball hats and toothy8 smiles. I am standing next to Mike, and between us are Midge, a Pomeranian9, and Happy Hank, a basset10 hound11. Animals understood Mike. If other kids pulled our dogs' tails or ears, they would move out of range or snap12, but never with Mike. And if the dogs thought he was in danger, they always came to his defense.

Mike found special things he loved to hold and play with: a yellow rose, a small flag, a pinwheel13, wind chimes14. The ideal for Mike was to sit near the window with a bowl full of M&M's15, sunshine streaming across his face.

Many people said he would never walk or talk, and should be institutionalized. He never did learn to walk Sokratis Papastathopoulos Jersey , but he did learn to talk not flawless or even in complete sentences, but he had the basics down. If he was hungry, thirsty, happy or sad, we knew. Cake. Cookies. Candy bar. Water-water. Cry.

He knew names too. I was Kagun, not Kevin.

But that changed with a beard I grew during the summer before college. Family members said it was ugly. The name stuck.

"Look who's home. Who's that?" they'd say to Mike. "Ugly", he would respond, and squeal17 with delight.

All of which to me was normal, for he was the only brother I knew. The only time I thought of the differences between us was when others pointed them out. A stare in a restaurant, a pointed finger on the street, a comment by another kid in the schoolyard, or the rubber-necking18 gawks of strangers at the county fair.

His effect on some people was special, however. Big, tough men crumbled when he smiled, giggled and winked20 at them. One in particular, a bear of man who had been on the wrong side of the law more than once, always asked after him. He'd often give Mom a few dollars and tell her "Get something for the little guy Shinji Kagawa Jersey , will you?"

For anyone who took the time Mike softened them like butter in the afternoon sun.

My circle of friends widened when I entered high school. One day Mom asked if my new friends would have a problem seeing Mike for the first time. "If they don't accept Mike, they don't accept me and they aren't welcome," I said.

And if I didn't think of him as different, I never thought about him dying either. That changed on a warm fall night in 1975. I had made my first varsity football start. We won, 7-6, and after the game I celebrated with my friends at the local hang-out22. The phone rang and I was paged.

"No need to worry, everything is okay, don't rush home," said my mom, "but Mike had a seizure and is in the hospital."

With this first seizure, Mike's life was beginning to fade. His immune system was defenseless. His seizure intensified and became more frequent. His bones would break with little cause. His lungs often filled with fluid.

As his arms grew weak and his life flickered23, Mike lost the strength to lift a rose, and the resistance to sit by an open window. Like the flowers he loved, Mike was too fragile to stand a frost.

As his health faded and college took me away, Mike would show his disapproval of my absence by ignoring me and pouting25 when I returned. My greatest sin was growing up and moving out. Maybe it was then that he realized there was a difference between us.

Toward the end of his life, the promise of spring was near, but Mike would not make it through yet another hospital stay.

A bout with pneumonia26 quietly squeezed life from him. Mike shipped in and out of coma27 on March 15 Sebastian Rode Jersey , 1983Dad's 50th birthday.

As though he knew the importance of the date, he battled for one more day. Michael Patrick Harter just 26 years olddied at sunrise the next day in

Mom's arms, Dad nearby, surrounded28 by those he loved.

I put a few things in Mike's casket to be buried with him. My favorite picture of us with our dogs, a bag of M&M's, a stuffed animal and a radio.

We never had those great, soul-searching talks other brothers have about women, religion, work, parents and Vietnam. We never played catch, talked about our dreams or double-dated for home coming or prom. I would get older, maybe one day marry and have kids, but Mike would be an ever lasting innocent.

It has been 13 years since he died, but each year in some way, I find new meaning in my life as a result of Mike. He taught me compassion anRays Working On Trading Hellickson To NL Team - RealGM W. Cheap NFL Jerseys From China   Cheap NFL Jerseys China   Cheap NFL Jerseys   Cheap Jerseys Supply
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