1009 is the greatest number

He was 5 years old when I was born, and she was only 4. It didn’t take me long to understand that he needed all of the attention he could get from my mother. It didn’t take her long to generously offer me her protection.

His name is Renato, my oldest brother. Her name is Regina, the middle child. My guardian angels.

It only took 40 seconds out of breath to make him special… the first 40 seconds of his life in our world.

We grew up like this at home! He was my best friend, the one to play with me as if we were the same age. He was the best partner in crime, always accepting of the craziest ideas.

He was taken away from our home to a special school a few hours away… and I cried the whole day by the front door… Yes… in the old days, we couldn’t find a school kind enough to treat these kids with the respect they deserved, so we found this fantastic school, that he quickly learned to call home… and we adapted, as his happiness was our happiness.

We counted the days for our 6 weeks of vacation together every year! We had the time of our lives, our house filled with people who came to savour his absolute sweetness… to me, everything was nothing but normality. He was my oldest brother, nothing but that.

It didn’t take long for me to start realizing that people out on the street looked at us differently… in all types of ways, I must say… little did they know.

Renato was the best learning experience I had in my life. He was the strongest man, the most courageous, with the purest heart. Renato never did anything that could hurt another being, he never complained about his limitations, never ceased to help us take care of him to the best of his ability. He knew how to appreciate the simplest things in life, and his life was always enough for him.


He was expected to live for 20 years, at the most, but he made it to 42, having outlived a lot of people who didn’t believe in what he would be able to achieve. He learned to do arts and crafts, he played ball, he loved being in the swimming pool, he even wrote a few words. He was very handsome and a true gentleman, he conquered countless hearts, he taught his Medical Doctors how to break several paradigms, his lifetime achievements were published in brain research books, he was always at peace, he sang and danced, he had tons of friends, he was loved, and was as happy as can be. What else can one hope for?

Renato’s smile was always genuine, his hugs always filled with love, his intentions when interacting with people were to simply have the joy of exchanging the beauty within him and the beauty within others. Renato got the best out of everyone. This was his superpower!

As I was reflecting upon the meaning of the number 1000, while planning a celebration for our 1000 Likes on Facebook I couldn’t help but be certain that 1009 was the number to celebrate.

Like every family with goofy moments, we sometimes would ask Renato if he loved us.  When he said “YES”, we once asked him how much. After giving it some thought he said: “A THOUSAND!”… to which we asked… a thousand and how much? And he replied “A THOUSAND AND NINE”. Renato didn’t get a chance to study math, but he knew that he would have to give us the greatest number he could possibly think of, and 1009 it was!

Since that day, every time we want to use the superlative at home, we use this number… 1009, the biggest of all!

Mandarina Canada Facebook

So… for 1009 Likes on Facebook, I want to say THANK YOU to all of our followers, while I dedicate this simple text to my angel, Renato, who – contrary to what many think or even say to me – was the best gift I could have had in life. Thank you, my dear brother, for having taught me lessons in the most humbled and beautiful way, for having reminded me that no problem is too large, that love is the most pure gift we can give to anyone or put into anything we do, and that happiness is a matter of choice. Your infinite wisdom is always an example to me.

We hope we can bring you 1009 times the energy it took for you to hit that Like button on our page! We hope that each text you read brings you 1009 insights! And we hope that this community grows at a potency of 1009, so we can continue to devote love to all we do, and to that which we believe can make our world better!

How about you? What would you like to elevate to the 1009th potency in your life?

Feature image by Helen Sepp


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