Why Every Day Is National Siblings Day as I Care for My Sister With a Disability
National Siblings Day. The posts start popping up all over Facebook and Instagram and I smile at each one, but I can’t help thinking that every day is National Siblings Day at my house.
Six years ago last month, my sister Wendy moved in with me and my family and she has lived with us ever since. Wendy is 47 years old, deaf and has intellectual delays. We knew that someday I’d be her legal guardian, but what that would look like and when it would happen were big unknowns. It was always on my mind, sometimes weighing heavily and other times just a faraway thought, something that would probably happen far in the future. Then our 73-year-old father had a heart attack with no warning and someday was now, immediately. No more time for faraway thoughts.
Wendy moved in. We had a long adjustment period. We did our best to help her understand what happened to our dad. We all (including our three kids) loved her with all our might and made her feel welcome and happy in her new home. We built a new house with room for her. I learned to understand her benefits, her day program, the resources available to her. I met with her doctors and, in some cases, found new ones. The list of things we had to learn about and navigate felt endless (and is still ongoing six years later because her needs are always evolving).