Out of love, I will give my brother a kidney

Out of friendship, family or romantic love, they have achieved extraordinary things. In its “Par amour” series, Konbini tells you their stories every week during the summer. This week we talk to you about Benoît* and Alexandre*.

This story is the story of two brothers. Benoit and Alexander. Two brothers against whom everything works.“Who has chosen different life paths”, will tell you the first one who doesn’t have his tongue in his pocket, politely. They hardly ever see each other, don’t particularly like each other, know each other very little.

But in a few weeks, at the start of the next school year, if everything goes as planned, they will be united by an unbreakable bond: Alexandre will have one of Benoît’s kidneys transplanted, “pI everything is going as planned”, because the process is not completely finished. If the two brothers have been declared compatible after a series of tests, they still have a second opinion to confirm these results, a second opinion that will allow a judge to rule and authorize Benoît to donate his kidney to Alexandre.

Benedict agreed to confide in his approach. The latter told us about his vision of the love that animates him and spoke about the feelings that led him to make this very special choice: to give a kidney to this stranger, yet so familiar.

“I’ll tell you, if he was a stranger, I’d smash him”

The two young men were born and raised in Martinique*. Benoît is the eldest of a family of four children, of whom Alexandre is the youngest. The latter, born about ten years after his brother and sisters, “always been aloof, but very pampered”recalls Benoît, who explains: “He barely entered primary school, when we already went to middle school and high school together”. Benoît moved to France many years ago with his sisters, leaving the youngest thousands of kilometers away.

“And over the years we have become more distantBenoît explains, continuing with disturbing honesty: I don’t agree with his choice at all, we have no interests in common and I think it’s the same for him, I’m not interested in him. “We had tried to do a few evenings or activities together, but it’s clear that we are completely opposite to each other”he regrets and argues, always with that singular honesty that characterizes him:

“No problem, he’s still my brother, we went through a lot together when he was a kid. We have a strong family bond. Of course, if he were to die, it would hurt me more than if a stranger died, that’s obvious. That doesn’t stop him from having a very special lifestyle, he’s a very violent guy and he’s not the kind of guy I’d date at all. I will even tell you if it was a stranger I would smash it.

“After two weeks his kidneys were cooked”

Therefore, for many years each of the brothers has had odd news about the other, mostly through their mother. “We’re not in an adversarial relationship, but there’s simply nothing wrong with it. And since he’s not a guy who communicates much, we don’t communicate, that’s all.

It was also through his mother that he learned of his brother’s illness. When the diagnosis was made a few years ago: this athletic brother, party animal, seducer, this “Tinder pro”, for whom everything succeeds, so far unsinkable, suffers from Berger’s disease. And since the verdict, Alexandre has been on dialysis. First night, then day. “It put a damn big brake on the pace of his life”breathes Benoît.

It had to come to this because “after two weeks his kidneys were cooked”says his brother, adding:

“It was our mother who told us that he had lost his kidneys. Of course he didn’t tell us. An uncle had also lost his kidneys in the 1980s, he almost died several times, so we immediately took the news seriously.

Alexandre, like many people waiting for a transplant, has since suffered from several false hopes. Like the night last June when he was called because a deceased donor had just arrived before the doctors on the operating table discovered that the deceased’s kidneys were finally “too crazy”.

“OK, it’s our turn, let’s go”

Since the beginning of Alexander’s illness, his parents have tried to protect the siblings. The father, who suffers from health problems, cannot be an organ donor. His wife therefore begins the tests before she is told after several weeks that she will finally not be able to give a kidney to her son. They hide the news from the children.

“If we had known that she couldn’t give, with my sisters, we would have immediately volunteered from the start. But my mother never asked us to apply. Knowing that, we said to ourselves, ‘OK, it’s up to us, let’s go, what’.

What is special about this story is that at no time did the siblings meet to discuss the situation openly. The least we can say is that it is not trivial, an organ donation without discussion. Alexandre never asked for help directly from his siblings:

“Alex didn’t tell us about it at all, mone summer we were all together as a family for a week in the South of France with my grandmother. He started pulling us aside one by one to tell us how ‘so much better’ his life would be if he had a transplant. Without directly asking for help – he would never have said he was in pain or needed us. On the other hand, he began to tell us about his difficulties in supporting the catheter, e.g.

“It was what we had to do”

“We volunteered, of course, without any hesitation or fear on our part. vswas what we were going to do, whether it was for Alex or for someone else”he pleads, adding: “Furthermore, the kidney transplant is not a big deal for the donor”. Last year they learned that the sisters would not be able to donate, so the decision was made: Benoît would be the donor. “Immediately I said OK.”

“Since then, everything has happened between the transplant doctor, my mother and me, without Alex ever participating in our discussions, without me ever talking to him about it. Without even a ‘Well, man, I started the tests for the transplant,’ we didn’t talk about it.”continues the young man, adding:

“To give you an example of the guy, when we found out we were compatible, we were together at the transplant doctor for the final appointment, the guy wasn’t even happy. It’s Alex. He smiled very easily, I took that great happiness.

“I don’t want him to be my best friend just because I donate my kidney to him”

Benoît assures us that this situation suits him, that he expects absolutely nothing from his brother, neither any kind of thanks nor significant changes in their relationship. He explains:

“I don’t want to be thanked. Especially that IYou also have to be super careful with the hero syndrome. Also, I will be followed to make sure I don’t develop it. It sometimes happens with donors or those who save people. To avoid it, I don’t want to talk about it with those around me, except my family.

“It’s normal for me to do that”he then begins and adds: “I definitely don’t expect this to affect our relationship. I don’t want him to become my best friend just because I’m donating my kidney to him, especially since even though I love him a lot because he’s my brother, paradoxically enough, the guy, I can’t blame him. If afterwards it can make him a better person with others, so much the better”.

Moreover, “I’m pretty sure within 6 months he’s shot his kidney because he’s going to be back on protein, weed and alcohol”he jokes, adding more seriously “but I don’t even want that to come into consideration. I’m giving it to him and it’s his, period. I don’t need to know what he will or won’t do with it.”

Isn’t he just afraid of resenting her one day if he needs this second kidney for himself? “No way. Absolutely not”, he says without thinking. “The whole family asked me the question, exactly. Because when everyone knew Alex’s commitments, his lifestyle, everyone said to me ‘are you sure? the kidney, he’s going to shoot it, it’s stupid’, but to me it’s clear that it’s not. I do it because I can do it, then afterwards it’s up to him to see it with himself. He has a second chance at life with a new kidney, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, I would have done what I had to and wanted to, after that it’s up to him to see.”

“The opportunity to do something good with your life”

Benoît’s determination seems unwavering. A few weeks before surgery, does he hesitate sometimes? Is he not afraid of regret? “No, at no time”, he answers without even thinking. And to add:

“For me, there was no room for doubt as soon as the decision was made. And then it’s an opportunity to do something good with one’s life, in the end it’s not so much me who saves him, it’s rather he who saves me. So doubts, I have none. To me it seems perfectly normal, if you have the opportunity, to reach out to someone in need, even when it’s the worst asshole asking you for something.

He claims not to do it for his parents, “although it will clearly have a positive impact on them”he admits, and not to himself either: “If I did it for me, somewhere, I wouldn’t have understood anything. The only thing that will improve me about myself is to tell myself that I have responded to my code of conduct and that I is fully aware of the values ​​that are mine. Does it make me a better man? I don’t know, but in any case it makes me one who is in harmony with himself.

If it is neither for his relationship with himself nor for his parents, where does he get this assurance that guides him to want to donate a kidney, which “risk of being shot”For this “guy he can’t please” and of which he paints a very caustic portrait? “I’m making this gift out of love, but a much more general love. I would have done it for anyone. Even for a total stranger, it might have been even easier.”

“Be ready for anything for the other, no matter who he is”

Asked about his definition of love, he replies: ” VSis broad, the term ‘love’. I’d say it’s for the love of others, but I don’t want to be the kind of asshole who tells you ‘the world is my home and everyone is my lover’. I think for me, love is what I was raised in, true love, based on self-sacrifice and compassion.” And argue :

“That is, you are ready for anything for the other person, regardless of who he is. And it is also ultimately loving. It is that it is not a matter of ego, of ‘ah, you did it, so I will do it’, It would be a false and selfish love, basing ourselves on what others have brought us before to love them or give them something in return. I don’t want my relationships to be affected by such a view of things.”

“When you think like that, it’s a very general and very special love at the same time, because you don’t dwell on the considerations you have for the other, you don’t dwell on the conversations you have together, you just dwell on having a another person in front of you and you wonder what you can do to help him”, he concludes.

*Names and locations have been changed at Benoît’s request.

Also read: For love, I adopted my sister’s daughter after her death

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