This is the story of Edgar:

In 2006 my twin brother, Oscar, was diagnosed at age 10 with cancer in the brain. After my brother was diagnosed my mother took a few days to tell me, I remember her asking me to speak with my brother more and spend more time with him because he was sick. When I first received the news, it was hard to process the severity of it because I was so young, but I remember questioning why he was sick, why a 10-year-old must get sick. My brother went through inpatient chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the hospital for around 3 months, this time was especially difficult for my parents as they had to split their time with my brother, work and caring for me.

During that time my lifestyle changed significantly as school started back up. Up until this point I had always had my brother by my side, he was my twin, so ever since I could remember we would do things together. This was the first year I started school alone, which was difficult, playing video games helped me cope. I would get lost for hours playing video games, either by myself or with my brother at the hospital.

After my brother’s diagnosis our relationship definitely shifted a bit to focus more on his wants and desires. I did not mind and was okay with the shift as I understood he was sick. There were countless happy moments with my brother during his cancer journey.

After he passed it became difficult to cope with the change, I’m grateful we have many photos and memories of him around the house to always keep him with us. One way we celebrate his memory is by always brining him up in conversation such as “my brother wouldn’t have liked my cooking today.” Little comments such as that one makes it feel as though he is still around the house all the time.

In that time, I was still very young, so it was difficult to remember exactly when we first were introduced to candle lighters. Nonetheless I remember meeting Jackie “Birdie” around that time and it was an amazing experience, I remember thinking how fortunate we were that an organization would come and help us in this time of need. My favorite thing about Candlelighters Is that there is not just a focus on the child but also a focus on the parent, and siblings. I remember hearing once from someone at Candlelighters, “A cancer diagnosis is a diagnosis for the whole family not just the patient.” I love that to this day after 16 years candlelighters still involves me in their events and they never forget the families. They truly impacted my life by allowing me to grieve in a safe and comforting environment with those who know what it’s like. My advice to newly bereaved siblings would be to acknowledge that this pain and hurt will never truly go away. You just somehow learn to live through it day by day. It’s important to never lose the feeling because it keeps your sibling alive in you every day.