“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I was seven. I was oblivious. I threatened to run away from home.

I grabbed my Buzz Lightyear and burst out the door. I ran boldly to the front gate and then froze, scared, with nowhere to go. I stood stubbornly for fifteen minutes before dragging myself back in, finally ready to apologize.

Guilt quickly washed over me. “I don’t want you to end up like him,” she said, crying. That day, I learned about the older brother I never knew I had. He passed at only twenty years old. Mom refused to lose another.

I never got to know him and desperately wish I could, but I have learned much about him. I learned that he never let a bully have their way. I learned that he was as gregarious as one could be. I learned that he was quite the debonair who loved attention. But most importantly, I learned he was incredibly kind.

He was also unapologetically imperfect. But my parents, sisters, and I have a deeper appreciation for one another and are better versions of ourselves because of him.

His name was Tan, and I am reminded of him each time I write my name.

I am twenty-seven. I am immensely grateful for my family. I aspire to live a life for two.

— Taniel Chan