When Brooke Myrick was pregnant with twins, she was expecting to need everything in twos. Two cribs, two sets of clothes, two strollers, etc.
Unfortunately, when Brooke was 24 weeks pregnant, she found out she had a condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) which affects the placenta and stops nutrients from getting to both babies equally. Often times, one (or both) of the twins can become fatally starved. In this case, one of the twins had already passed away. His name was Willis.
“I was 24 weeks when we found out but they said that it had been at least a week, so we really don’t know when Willis passed away,” says Brooke. “That was the thing with being pregnant with twins — I was still feeling movement, so I didn’t know that I had lost a baby. We had already been shopping when we found out. We had cribs, clothes, toys… You’re expecting to bring two babies home."
Brooke struggled after the birth of her twins, Willis and Walker, but as time went on she realized it was only helpful to be open with Walker about his brother and what happened.
“Even as an infant I would always talk to him about Willis and he would smile,” says Brooke. “At 1 or 2 years old, he would run up to the grave. We would say, ‘That’s your brother. That’s where your twin brother is.’ Because I always wanted him to know where he was going. I always wanted him to know that was an open area of his life and not to grow up ever thinking, ‘I can’t talk about my brother.’"
Now, Walker has a very special relationship with Willis.
“If something good happens — like, when he won the spelling bee a few weeks ago — he’ll always say, ‘I talked to Willis.’ Or sometimes he will say, ‘I had a dream about Willis.’ He says that he feels really close with him when he does,” explains Brooke. "Usually it is when something good happens. He likes to feel like he can share it with his brother, just like if his brother were here."
That's where the graveyard picture comes in. It was Walker's first day of kindergarten and he wanted to share it with his brother.
“As we were passing the cemetery he said, ‘I want to see Willis,’" Brooke said. “I parked and he ran up ahead as I was unstrapping his baby brother from his car seat. All I had with me was my iPhone. I wasn’t anticipating taking a photograph. But when I walked up and saw him like that, it was just one of those moments where you think: ‘This is really special.’ He told us that he just wanted to tell his brother about school.”
“One year he played football. It was the second year of his walk and all the boys on his team knew that it was coming up. Walker started wearing this armband with his brother’s name on it when he was playing. Then before it was over with, seven or eight of his teammates wanted one. They all came to me after classes and I paid to have them made. I just thought, ‘If they want one, then I’m going to do it for them.’ That whole year they wore their Willis armbands and after the games sometimes they would say stuff like, ‘Did you see I had my Willis armband on?’"
Brooke strongly believes Willis saved Walker's life in the womb when he passed away, and that's why they have such a connection.
“If Willis had continued to live and the transfusion had continued to happen, I would have been left with no babies,” she says. “Willis could have very well have saved his brother’s life by his passing.”
What an incredible story of love in one family <3