“I‘m an only child, but that’s because my baby brother passed away three days before our shared birthday. I was turning 13; he was turning three.

I was at home getting my room ready for my birthday sleepover that weekend. My mom left to deliver a package to a church and she took my brother with her so I could be free to prepare for the sleepover. While she was inside the church, someone asked her to move her vehicle because they were doing construction down the road and needed the space. So my mom left my brother with my great aunt while she went to move the car. But my brother thought my mom was leaving him with my aunt. So he jumped down from her and ran after my mom. Before my mom could move the car, she heard a thump on the side of the car. She got out and saw my brother lying on the gravel.

I got a call telling me that something happened, and I was going to be taken to the hospital. On the way there, I was quiet as a mouse because I didn’t know what was going on. When we got there, I saw people crying. The pastor told me something happened to my brother. That was the last thing I was expecting to hear.

I wish my brother was still here. But in talking to God, I started to understand that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I get discouraged. But I can’t stay down for too long because I know my brother used to look up to me. He used to make me feel like I’m the most amazing person in the world. So I have to keep going because that’s what my brother would’ve wanted me to do.”

– Naysa, junior marketing major from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands