This week we are continuing to explore how CHD affects our siblings. Johnathan shares how his sister Abbigail, has affected his perspective on life, and the lessons he has learned from her.
My sister Abbigail was born with heart defects in 2008 and passed away at two months old. At first it didn’t affect me much because I was only five years old at the time and don’t remember many details. However my mom took a lot of pictures so that helps bring back some memories, which I’m thankful for. The main thing I remember is how our community had come together to help our family. I do know some family and friends of the family had put together a fundraiser at my school that many came too, to show their support while Abbigail was in the hospital. My mom also had saved cards that my teacher and classmates had made along with a heart that had everyone’s hand print on it. Which didn’t mean much to me at the time but now looking back on it, it shows me how important it is to take time to let others know you care and let them know they aren’t alone. It has almost been ten years and as much as I wish I can say I remember my sister, I can’t. However I have learned many things from her. Through conversations and stories I am learning more of the depth of Abby’s condition and the impact she had made on others. I realized if she made an impact in just two short months, I realized how any small act can play a significant part in someone else’s life. Abbigail has changed the way I see people. For example, If I see a disabled person struggling, I want to help them. If they look lonely, I try to talk to them and make them smile. I just all around feel the need to be nice and help others anyway I can. If Abby was still here she most likely would have had a lot of help along the way, so I try to be that person for other people. Every life is precious, no matter what size, shape, or form. As each person in my family has different feelings on my sister no longer being with us, we try keeping her memory alive by treating every day to be the best it can be and try to be as nice as we can to others, to make there day a little better. I do know some days are definitely sad, like the day she died and her birthday, but it also helps us appreciate the time that we had with her and how happy our lives were with her around, even though things weren’t perfect. So every year on her birthday we keep our family tradition and try to focus on the positive impact she has left on us and many others.
Hello, my name is Johnathan Joy. I grew up In Homewood and now live in New Lenox. I am a freshman at Lincoln Way Central and have three brothers. I love animals and in my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and play sports. I enjoy football, baseball and basketball.