My Brother Timmy

The day my baby brother died I learned what it truly meant to be sad. People can love someone they only know exist, and that was how it was. The day his twin sister was born Timothy Emanuel died, and on that day I went through months’ worth of sadness. I am happy Gabi survived, but that feeling is always accompanied by a share of melancholiness.

I burst in the door, my face creased with worry. My mom’s car was gone, I noticed that anomaly immediately. While looking around I stopped suddenly, glimpsing my next-door neighbor. Something was wrong. My neighbor was there to watch us and she gave us “information” with a dodgy statement about something strange that had been detected with the twins. “Oh, hi Colin, your parents are at the hospital. Umm, something happened with the pregnancy…” Then I was extremely worried. I remember doing my homework that day and listening to phone conversation. From the snippets of talk I overheard I gathered that at the ultrasound the doctors thought that one of the babies’ hearts had stopped. I was silently sobbing as I ground through each screeching, tedious note of my violin practice. That afternoon I couldn’t concentrate and took to pacing around and around with worry. In the late evening of that harrowing day my dad came to take us to the hospital.

“One of the twins’ hearts stopped,” he whispered in a pained voice, “Come on everyone, get in the car.” When I was the only unsurprised kid, my dad was puzzled. In the car I was bursting with questions and angst. I can’t remember what they were, but a feeling of general sorrow prevailed. When we arrived at the hospital we hustled anxiously through the frost and burst inside. At this point I felt horribly sick, to the point of throwing up. The minutes felt like hours on the quick and terrible walk up to my mom’s room. I was angry at everyone else in that cleaning fluid-scented place. What right did they have to feel happy? They were oblivious to my pain, so I felt mad. When we reached the room my poor mom was holding a baby girl and her face was red from crying. That horrified me. My parents were usually the ones to comfort me, but here they were sobbing. At that point I felt protective of everyone in my family that should have had another member. The room temperature and the anxiety and the smells made me sick.

In a while, my dad took the kids to see Timmy’s body. I was nervous on my way to the room, and rightly so. When I saw the body I was speechless. My first thought was that that couldn’t be my brother. I realized that I thought that the body was hideous, but that was my brother. A deep sadness filled me and I and thought about how he would have really looked as a healthy, happy baby. I started crying. The thoughtless, awful hospital staff had scrubbed my baby brother’s precious little body. (To clean it.) It was white, chapped, and slightly bloody and mutilated. My family and I slowly walked away, me feeling like I didn’t deserve to be a person, and that I wished that the body was reflective of the actual human. I didn’t want to remember my first brother that way. It turns out I didn’t have to. Thankfully, my mom made a small 5 by 7 blanket square for each member of my family – including the live twin. The blanket has two colors on it and is extremely soft.

When I got it my eyes teared and I went off to my room and held it for a while. In the days of school after Timothy’s death, I was generally moody and angry. I cried at night and didn’t walk confidently; the bile of miserableness was in my mouth and I sometimes broke down when I was alone. I felt separated from everyone else somehow. That went away in a week or two and I became more social again. A year later, on Christmas, Tim’s stocking was filled with prayer coins and silver hearts to help us remember him. For a birthday present I left some of my hearts at his gravestone, and the rest I have on my little blanket near my bed. My blanket gives me something to hold when I get too sad.

I have another brother now. He’s six months old and I love him. I give him hugs and smiles, he’s a sweet baby. Clean towels are Matthew’s baby scent, and he is as soft as anything. He crawls around the floor of my house eating Cheerios as old as he is and other goodies. I still remember Timothy. I can’t forget. The pain doesn’t go away over time, but I learned to cope. It is only this year I’ve been able to talk or write about him. He was never out in the world, but he flipped and kicked inside my mom. He should have been able to flip and kick here too.


…Colin was 10 when his brother Timmy, Gabriella’s twin, was stillborn at 38-1⁄2 weeks along, and wrote this several years later.