It's been a little over two months since this incident. My little brother Jamaal, who was attending a party in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 1, was shot in his chest by a stray bullet following a random fight in the parking lot. It was only by God's grace and mercy over his life that his life was spared in he is still here today. It still baffles me to this day. I was in Chicago with my cousin just visiting for the weekend. We would be leaving that sunday, April 1, to head back to St. Louis. I had to be back in Columbia for school on Monday. He sent me a text around 5:30 in the morning and I felt my phone vibrate because it was under my pillow. I think I read it but I was half sleep so I wasn't really paying attention and put the phone back under my pillow. I finally woke up around 9 and checked my phone again. In fact he did text me.

I immediately knew something was wrong just by him telling me that he loved me. I mean he is my brother, so of course we love each other. We just never been the type of siblings to randomly tell each other that. After reciprocating the gesture, I anticipated another response because I knew there was more. "I got shot" was what I read. No more texting. This isn't a texting type of conversation so I called him. He answered and told me the story. He was at a party; he witnessed a fight; he felt a bullet graze him (or thought grazed him); felt the hole where the bullet went in and blood run down his fingers; walked back into the party; then he passed out. I'm so thankful for his friend Jordan, who found Jamaal slumped over inside the party and carried him back outside because the cowardly shooters found their way back inside the party and decided to continue shooting.

I spoke with Jordan as well and he stated how he disbursed after the gun shots were heard and good thing he turned around to see where Jamaal was because anybody probably would have left him there. I repeatedly told Jordan THANK YOU for looking out for Jamaal. Like repeatedly. 
After about an hour, the ambulance arrived (or what seemed like an hour to Jamaal after he finally came to b/c the pain had finally hit him), and they drove him to the hospital where he remained in ICU. He goes to school in Pine Bluff which is about 45 minutes from Little Rock. Not only did his friends follow him to the hospital that night, but came back the very next day. After speaking with Jamaal, I called my parents to check on Addyson because they were watching her for the weekend. My older brother, who doesn't wake up until after noon and it was 9 in the AM, picked up the phone. Considering it was April Fools Day, I wanted to make sure Jamaal wasn't playing a prank on me. It wasn't funny. I asked my older brother where my mom was and he said, "I'm not sure if you know this but.." then and there I knew it wasn't a joke. Good thing was, I didn't hear about it through another party like so many others did. I spoke to my brother directly which helped. I knew he was okay. I continued to pray that he would be okay. 
My cousin and I hurried to pack our things. As we were driving back to St. Louis, my parents and brother were headed to Arkansas. I felt a sense of relief because I had spoken with Jamaal directly. But I still couldn't help but to think, how long will he be in the hospital? Can he go back to class? Can he still play football? Jamaal was shot directly under his heart. He is 6'4'' so his height worked as a benefit. He could have been turned the wrong way, leaning down, ANYTHING! (NOBODY BUT GOD). 
It wasn't until Monday morning, as I was getting ready for class and I was in the kitchen prepping my lunch listening to gospel on my Itunes. I was listening to Grateful and I just broke down. I had just realized the magnitude of the situation that I could have lost my brother over the weekend. I had just seen him two weeks prior when he was home for spring break and was showing my cousins silly videos of him on YouTube the night before. The Night Before. I could have lost my baby brother over petty foolishness. Something he wasn't even involved in. Just standing there (which he shouldn't have been doing that either). I thanked God repeatedly for sparing his life; for drawing my family closer together; for showing many people the type of God he is. Merciful! I just kept crying and kept saying thank you. 
Let me just tell you all how great GOD is to wrap this up. My brother was shot on a sunday; bullet moved from by his heart to the diaphragm that Tuesday (the doctor decided to keep it in him unless it causes problems in the future); released that Wednesday; flew back to St.Louis that Thursday; spent Easter with family and friends that weekend; back to Arkansas that following Wednesday. All in a week and a half span. Jamaal was able to finish the semester and will be able to play football this upcoming fall. So many people came to visit him while he was home, telling him how he ought to be on his knees thanking God for his life. How he is a walking testimony. Now my brother is only 19, still having growing pains and is very much so caught up in his environment. (I'm praying on that as well. But I am forever grateful to still be able to call, text, and spend time with my brother. Both of them. THANK YOU JESUS!

06/06/2012 2:14pm

Alana, this story just put me in straight tears! Beautiful thing you're doing with you blog, I look forward to reading more.


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