Walker Myrick never physically met his brother Willis who died in their mother's womb due to a rare illness that affects identical twins.
It has been over fifteen years since Brooke Myrick lost one of her twins, Willis, to a rare illness that affects identical twins. She misses her son and so does Walker—one of her twins who survived. They both can't stop thinking about Willis.
Walker lives with his mother and siblings in Florence, Alabama. He was never able to meet his brother physically but they share a unique bond. He feels so connected to his brother that he visits Willis' grave to give him updates about his life or with their other siblings, as per TODAY.
"It's just one of those things. I truly believe he'll always have a connection with his brother," she said.
Walker himself confirmed a link to his twin in a video that was captured on Christmas in 2016. Walker said, in the video, "I still remember my brother now, and he watches over me constantly." Brooke, who lives with her husband, Michael, along with Walker, and three other children, Jolie, Cooper, and Bryant, said the whole family still feels close to Willis.
A few years ago, when Walker had just finished his first day of kindergarten and wanted to tell his brother all about it, Brooke published his photo on Facebook. Since then, she has been taking a lot of pictures of Walker when they are at the twin's grave.
Walker was never able to physically meet his twin because when their mother Brooke was 22 weeks in her pregnancy, her doctor informed her that one of the twins didn't have a heartbeat.
"I had never heard of it, and I actually didn't even know we should get tested," Brooke said of the twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), the illness that killed Willis. "Every time we went in, everything was fine, so I was in this mindset that I'm going to have two healthy babies," she added.
In TTTS, identical twins share the same blood vessels in a single placenta while in the womb, resulting in one twin receiving more blood flow than the other. Without treatment, it's fatal. Speaking to TODAY in 2017 Brooke recalls being told that everything was fine and was shocked when she got to know that was not the case. She then got another diagnosis with a specialist, who was able to save Walker. "He was born at 32 weeks," she said adding that "he is so smart — he just beat the odds."
It has been incredibly distressing for her, her husband, and her entire family to experience Willis' passing. But they keep him alive in their memories by visiting his grave on various occasions. Brooke said that she is proud that her family is able to turn grief into something good for themselves. "We taught them how to grieve somebody and celebrate life at the same time," Brooke said. "It's not a depressing thing. When we go up there, we laugh — I want people to see that. We honor him."
Brooke has also decided to turn her suffering into a purpose by raising awareness about the condition that killed her son. Every year, she organizes "The Walker and Willis Birthday Walk", accompanied by an auction and t-shirt sales to raise money and awareness. The main two objectives of the event held every year are raising awareness of TTTS and contributing $2,500 annually to the TTTS Foundation. Brooke even sits down with other parents, giving them advice on what she believes they should do if they experience what she experienced.
"It's become a tradition around here," Brooke said. "We meet different people every year, and he's raised at least $2,500 every year."
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Inside Edition