My Brother


(Originally printed April 1982.)
It happened in a split second, and my life will never be the same.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for my brother who saved my life. I can remember that terrible day as if it were yesterday. I love my brother and would do anything to pay him back. I was quite young at the time, but the impact that this experience had on my life will be eternal.

It was a bright, sunny Saturday early in June. We lived in the city in a neighborhood that was very typical—a lot of kids and a lot of cars. That morning while my brother was mowing the lawn, I was playing in the driveway with my friend Jeff, who lived two houses down. Jeff was my best friend, and we were having a great time seeing who could hit the baseball past the other person. Jay, my older brother, was like no other brother in the whole world. He watched after me and was always willing to help me, even with little problems that seemed important to me. He was my example of true brotherly love. He took me everywhere; we were inseparable. Even though he was many years older than I was, I could tell he was as proud of me as I was of him. I loved my big brother, and I know he loved me.

Jeff and I were still playing hard as Jay finished mowing the lawn directly in front of the house and began to mow the small patch of grass that separated the sidewalk from the street. I admired the way Jay worked, especially when he worked hard. He was my example of what I wanted to be. Suddenly the lawn mower stopped. I guessed he hit a rock with the blade and it caused the motor to stall. I turned to see if he needed help to restart it. As I turned to Jay, Jeff let go with a throw that made me look silly. The ball zoomed out into the street, and I sped after it, not noticing the speeding truck that was coming right for me. Evidently Jay saw the truck and came running into the street after me. I never did see the truck but felt a powerful push causing me to be hurled to the other side of the street. As I fell to the ground, I could hear the sound of screeching brakes and a thud accompanied by a painful groan. My heart sank into my stomach as I picked myself up off the ground and ran over to Jay, who was lying halfway under the truck that had hit him. With tears in my eyes I sat down next to him and put my arms tightly around him in a way that only a little brother can.

“Jay, please wake up! Jay, please wake up!” I pleaded with all my heart through the tears. “Jay, please wake up!” I loved my big brother.

Soon Mom came running out of the house to see what had happened. Seeing her son on the ground, she burst into tears. She slowly bent down and put her arms around Jay, and together in the middle of the street we shared tears over the one we loved. I could hear sirens in the distance; they were going to take my big brother away. That only made me tighten my arms and cry harder. Jay was limp and becoming cold. I was scared and didn’t want to leave my brother. Dad got home from work just as the ambulance arrived, and Mom got up and ran to him. Dad came running over to Jay with tears in his eyes. He motioned me to let go so that they could lift Jay into the ambulance. As I got up, I leaned over and whispered in Jay’s ear, “I love you, Jay. Please come home.”

The drivers closed the back doors of the ambulance after Dad got in with Jay, and they began to drive off down the street. The siren was so loud and seemed to hurt as Mom picked me up in her arms. Crying together we went into the house. Mom set me down and went up to her room to be alone. She was crying harder than I’d ever seen her cry before. I, too, cried and cried hard. Even as I went to my room and kneeled down to pray, the tears still streamed down my face. I took a deep breath and began to pray through the gasps of tears, “Father in Heaven, please help Jay be well. Don’t let him die. I love Jay. Please don’t let him die!”

My tears still flowed as Mom came downstairs and slowly opened my door. She was trying hard not to cry. There was a moment of silence while she looked at me with greater love and greater sorrow than ever before. A moment passed, and then she ran over to me, picked me up in her arms, and through newly formed tears she whispered in my ear, “Kirk, I love you.” We cried together for hours.

Dad didn’t come home that night; neither did Jay. I never saw my big brother again after I held him in my arms as he lay cold and limp on the street. I was alive and Jay was dead. What had I done to deserve to live? His life was so much better than mine. My brother died for me! He died so that I could live. He saved my life.

Many years have passed since Jay pushed me out of the way of that truck. My life was changed in a matter of minutes, and I have taken it upon myself to tell the world what my brother did to save my life. I have tried to live my life in a way that will in part pay my older brother back for his sacrifice. My life was saved because someone loved me enough to suffer his life to be taken.

Shouldn’t we all try to live our lives in a manner pleasing to our Savior who died for us? He is our big brother and died that we might be saved and live eternally. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for my brother who saved my life.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Keith Larson