Today my big brother Billy would have been 40 years old. Much is said about a man turning 40; they say men leave their wives for younger women in short skirts, buy expensive cars, start to dye their hair, or all of the above. Billy's physical limitations would not have allowed any of those things of course, although he did usually favor one lady over another at the State School, and he did have a certain twinkle in his eye when he got his new wheelchair.
I knew Billy as well as anyone. He and I were very close in a way that only a few people can really understand. Those with mental and physical handicaps very definitely develop bonds, and the bonds with their siblings are very strong. I see it often in Brenden and Emma. How many 10 year old boys will happily play with their little sisters, or quickly stand strong to defend them? I also see it in my wife's cousins, Holly and Haley. Their brother, Britton, is profoundly locked away by Autism, but he knows and loves them and vice versa.
That was how Billy and I were. And I know him well enough to know that if he were "normal," he never would have been any of those things that some 40 year olds become. His spirit, strength, and courage were too strong to be overtaken by higher indulgences. He preferred Hee Haw on a little TV to "Baywatch" on a wide screen. The Price is Right won out over "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."
Those who know how to cherish and appreciate the simple things are the truly powerful ones, and that will be the gift he left all who knew him.