Will This Pass?

April 20, 2008
By
Growing up, my mom always had a short four word phrase that she shared with me any time I went through a hard time, “This too shall pass.” It seemed to help; it got me through. Then I turned nine, summer ended, and all seven Coskie kids started school once again. It was the exciting time of the year: new books, new clothes, new classrooms, new teachers, new everything. Just two weeks into fourth grade, my “new” life changed - forever.

I had just got off the school bus, ran inside, and sat at the counter eating an afternoon snack with my younger brother and sister. I was filled with stories to tell my mom about the day, without a care in the world. I watched my brother walk out the door with his friends; he was going on a bike ride. Minutes later, our phone rang. I heard my mom scream; she immediately ran out the door, not saying a word to us. If I had known that it was the last time I was going to see her for days, I would have told her I loved her; I didn’t know. I wasn’t prepared for the shocking news that was coming.

Within the next few hours, I learned that Paul, my big brother, had been hit by a car while was riding his bike with friends. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, and as a result was in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit with a collapsed lung, a massive head injury… the list went on. “What does that mean?” “What is going on?” However, I thought to myself, “This too shall pass… This too shall pass.” My brain was a mess, I couldn’t think straight; my only response was to turn to my siblings and do what I do best… I cried.

There are seven kids in my family, seven different personalities, so seven different ways of dealing with situations. For the weeks following the accident, I grew quiet and didn’t go to school much. I was always in need of a hug from a family member; I needed someone to tell me that everything would soon be okay. For the first time in my life, my mom wasn’t there to tell me that this would pass, she couldn’t, and she was helping Paul at the hospital; so how was I supposed to know that it would indeed pass?

Visiting Paul after the accident was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I saw my brother on what I thought was his death bed. He lay lifeless on the white sheets, wires everywhere. But after a few weeks he began opening his eyes, lightly squeezing my hand, even crying. Within two months, Paul was out of his coma. He stayed in a rehabilitation hospital seven days a week, but came home on an occasional Saturday for a few hours; he was getting better. My big brother was relearning how to walk, talk, and to take a shower…everything. He worked hard, and was allowed to go back to school in a wheelchair.

Just nine months after his accident, Paul was able to eloquently recite a speech about his story at his eighth grade graduation. His voice was slow, his walking was slow, yet his Ataxia (shaking on his left side) was anything but slow… it was uncontrollable, but still it was beautiful. Paul spoke of everything: the accident, his therapies, his relationships, and his future. It was in this moment that I realized something. I looked at everyone in the crowd around me: crying. Paul’s speech was a brief overview of the past nine months of my family’s life; they had no idea; would they have been able to make it through? At that moment, I realized that my family is amazing. They are the most important part of my life; we could make it through anything.

Over the next three years, Paul continued to work. He still went to therapies to improve his skills and speech; he was practically back to normal. Feeling sick on an early spring day, Paul went to his pediatrician. There, the Doctor ran a variety of tests; his white blood count was up. His spleen was enlarged. He was admitted into the hospital where he was later diagnosed with Leukemia. My parents were once again at the hospital, and again I did what I do best… I cried. But this time was different. This time I knew that “This too shall pass.”





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