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Dear Little Brother

As you know, my birth did not go as well as had been hoped. There were complications and my infant brain was deprived of oxygen while I was being born. But I survived, the infant human brain is remarkably plastic and resilient. The stronger half of my brain took over most of the functions, and I grew into a toddler.

You were born when I was 4. Your birth went well and there were no complications. You grew up quickly and I still remember you pushing me around in my wheelchair while I was in the rehabilitation hospital after undergoing surgery on my bad leg. When I was 12, I was in school, but I had missed a lot of time, and the other kids my age were a couple of years ahead of me.

When I was 16, our little sister was born. What a surprise that was! I was in high school by then, but I didn't get to do all the things that other teenagers were doing. I couldn't do sports, or band, and not much else was available. I couldn't drive because my eyesight wasn't good enough to get a license, and I found it pretty hard to relate to the "normal" kids.

After high school, I settled into life as a farmer, being my Dad's strong right arm, and helping wherever I could as my Mom and Dad aged into their 60's and 70's. I watched as first you and then my little sister went off to college and moved away to other states in search of jobs and careers. I loved the farm, the outdoors, the work in the fields, and especially the tractors! My eyesight was good enough to drive a tractor and I took every chance there was to get into the fields. When I was on my tractor, I felt like I was normal, like I was contributing and making a difference to others and in the world. I loved the farm, but I always faced physical and mental challenges that others didn't have. It was sometimes very lonely on the farm. Sometimes, it was even lonely after I moved into town with my parents, and it was especially lonely after they were gone. I loved to go to dirt track races and fireworks displays! I loved my church! There were many in my church that I loved to talk to, and many who took the time to be my friends. I loved Jesus, and I took his life and teachings to heart.

I was surprised when I died. There hadn't really been much warning. It wasn't a bad way to go, it was quick, and not that painful as these things go. But there were still so many things I wanted to do! I had wanted to see the rolling fields and tractor factories of Iowa. I had wanted to ride the railroads and see more of the country. I had wanted to find a friend I could travel with, or maybe move to a little bigger town and call an Uber to get around. I really thought that I had more time, more time to share my story with others, to spend time with them, to show them that I loved them.

So my advice to you is don't put off the important things in life. Don't put off sharing my story. Don't put off sharing your story, and more importantly don't put off showing those close to you how much they are loved, and for heaven sake, don't put off sharing your love for Jesus Christ.

Wesley Kahrs (1947 - 2018), through the hands of my little brother Jerry

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