What does that even mean? Oh, right, it means you are the brother or sister of a person who has a physical and/or developmental disability. I know people who are siblings or were siblings, like I was. I was always referred to as the sibling, which I didn’t understand when I was young. Aren’t we all sibling’s if we have a brother or sister? Anyway, to say the least, I was a sibling of a person who had a developmental and physical disability. He was and still is my hero.
My brother was born able-bodied, some call it, or some just say without a disability. I was born one and half years later. At the age of three he was diagnosed with hypoxic brain damage due to complications at a hospital. I was one and a half. He lived at Bloorview Children’s Hospital for a year (now amalgamated as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital). I remember visiting him everyday, I remember my mom doing his care, I remember the nurses, but I don’t remember thinking “wow, my brother is different.” I have to thank my mom for that, she was amazing. It didn’t seem like anything had changed, it wasn’t tragic or sad for me, I just knew him the same way I did before.
He lived with us in Toronto for the rest of his life. My brother passed away at the age of twenty, I was nineteen. It was the worst things that could’ve ever happened to me in my life. My mom and I took it very hard and had a hard time moving on with our lives, in some way, he was our life. Up to that point, I only had the experiences I had, knew the people I knew and was the person I was because of him. We slowly made the struggle to carry on day-to-day. I wouldn’t be a respite worker if it weren’t for him, I wanted to be a teacher all my life. I guess I still am in a way.
Now, I am a used-to-be sibling of someone who had a disability. I meet a lot of siblings these days in my work and walk of life. I try to teach them, the way my mom taught me. I am going to use this page to post important information my mom gave me as a child and as a sibling.