Column: Taking it one step at a time

'The doctor said my twin brother and I didn’t have long to live.'


Courtesy of Kimberly Hall.

May 16, 2000.

At barely a day old the doctors said my twin brother Kamariay and I didn’t have long to live. My parents were devastated at the thought of their twin boys never living past infancy, but after a few months in the hospital we were able to go home.

6 years old.

On our first day of school, administrators wouldn’t allow us in the same class. I had never been separated from my brother.

As if that wasn’t difficult enough, I was bullied because of the pigmentation of my skin. The other kids made me feel like there was something wrong with me. When I tried to speak to my peers, they would just make fun of me.

During recess while the other kids played tag or basketball with their friends, I would often hang out with my brother because that was the only time we had together during school. Everything felt safe and normal when I was with him.

7 years old.

My family decided to move from Cleveland, Tennessee to San Antonio, Texas. While I was upset I had to leave behind my whole childhood, moving to Texas was a new start; it gave me a chance to become better than who I was before.

On the first day at my new elementary school, I was nervous and hesitant. When I walked into class I was expecting to receive the same look of disgust kids at my old school gave me, but to my surprise my new peers greeted me with open arms.

9 years old.

I finally became accustomed to the city life of San Antonio, but all of that changed when my father suddenly had a stroke in the middle of the night. He didn’t know what was happening and my mother rushed him to the hospital. When I woke up the next morning my mother told me what happened and I immediately broke down into tears.

When I visited my father in the hospital, I was traumatized by the sight of him helplessly gasping for air in his hospital bed.

We spent the whole night with him because we didn’t want to leave him in that cold hospital. The doctor came in and took my mother outside to talk to her. She shortly returned and told me we had to leave him at the hospital. I couldn’t stop myself from crying.

After a few days visiting the hospital, I noticed my father slowly recovering and gaining his strength back.

Just as soon as he was finally able to come home, my parents wanted to break the bad news to us. They decided to split up. My father would move to Louisiana, while my mom was moving back to Tennessee. It was too much for me to handle but they did something most parents wouldn’t do for their kids: They gave us the choice of who to live with.

It was a tough decision that took us a long time to make. Kamariay and I ultimately picked our father because we couldn’t imagine life away from him.

15 years old.

When we moved down to Louisiana, we lived with our grandmother for the time being. My father quickly went back to work even though I pleaded him not to. He was still recovering and slowly getting back his strength.

After a year of living in Louisiana, my father introduced us to his new girlfriend Tresa. After only a year of dating, she talked to him about moving with her to Lewisville, Texas.

I was hesitant to move back to Texas after what happened, but living in Louisiana taught me to let go of all the bad things that happened there and to grow from that experience rather than sink further into depression.

After meeting Tresa for the first time I learned she was nice and different from what I expected. She made my father happy, which was all I ever wanted. Even though we were moving back to Texas I was actually excited to go back and try again.

We were going to attend Killough High School and to my surprise my brother and I made a lot of friends. The classes weren’t boring and I was always excited to know what the teachers were going to teach us next.

17 years old.

I’ve been living here for almost three years and am truly happy. I have been through a lot as a kid, but rather than letting those experiences define me, I grew from them. My word of advice to people who are going through hard times: Take life one step at a time.