Nestled in the back with busy bins. Bright dresses in stark contrast to white walls. This light you see… it’s my camera playing tricks on you…PICU rooms are dark, curtains are pulled and dimmers on low.

Beep. Beep. Beep. The machines…they never stop…they become the soundtrack to your childhood. You’re told to “Be careful” … “Be quiet” … “Be calm” and most of the time you are.

You distract yourselves from life while your sibling fights for theirs. You sit in the corner not because you are in trouble but because they are in healing.

You are in those rooms because you too have needs even if they don’t require medical attention.

You skip school to color with them or you illustrate their current reality with vivid detail and heartbreaking truth through your misspelled words.

You’re the twin who looks on as what once was a mirror back at you slowly becomes unrecognizable.

You are gentle beyond your years…you mimic the soft touch you’ve seen the adults display completely unaware of the hearts you are melting as we stand watch.

We see your blank stares and long to give you answers to all the questions swimming in your innocent mind.

You become caretakers…embracing a role you never asked for with a love and grace that simply cannot be described.

You snuggle in close…you read from start to finish and begin again because you’ve learned the ways in which you can provide comfort.

You grow up exploring playrooms…not those found in the homes of friends but those right off the hospital hallways where you master the craft of walking.

Dad holds you while Mom holds the bucket…your sweet nature a product of the environment in which your family has been thrust into.

You came into a world turned upside down by the diagnosis of a sibling you’ll grow to look up to for reasons beyond the order of birth.

You have your first birthday party in a hospital room not because you are sick but because they are.

You’re too young to remember but you’ll never know of life any other way.

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You build imaginary worlds in unimaginable circumstances…you are The Little Engine That Could carrying the weight of a load oh so much bigger than you.

You will remember all of this even the parts that you don’t will be forever stored in your cells. You are the siblings of the patient and you are oh. so. patient. We see you siblings. We. See. You.

Images below…

PC: Meg Perotti Photography

…captures of my Presley, the absolute rockstar of a patient sibling. I see you kiddo.