Monday, February 22, 2010

What Do Siblings owe Their Siblings with Special Needs? Part 3

Dear Mother in Law - my "letter" continues.

We did care, but perhaps it would have helped if you had discussed your expectations with us.  Siblings do care, and should care.  But, and this is the important life-we also have the right to our own lives.

I remember, as an adult, the time my husband took bil for a walk.  And you got so upset, because it may have triggered an asthma attack.  In the meantime, we felt that bil's horizons had to be expanded, that he needed to be exposed to different things so he could make an "informed decision" about his goals for his life.

In the meantime, we did one day find out your expectations for your other children.  I remember how hard it was for us to have that talk but we did have it.  You had "assumed" that one of bil's siblings would step forward and take care of him.  That we would eventually move him into one of our homes.  You didn't, however, account for our health problems, for one sibling living in a one room basement apartmentor, really for that matter, a lot of other things.  Like the fact that 2 of the 3 other siblings are older than bil, and bil might just outlive us all.  We've been blessed, he is in relative good health.

You just assumed. As it turned out, all of us had different expectations.

We will be "there" for bil.  We've always assured you of that.  But no sibling should ever be expected to sacrifice their entire lives"just because."    We all need to work together to make sure that bil has the best life possible because he can't fully advocate for himself.  And what becomes of bil may not be what you expect-but it will be good.

Meantime....what does bil expect?  What are his hopes and dreams?  It is so hard to find out but one day I will write about what we do know.

Your daughter in law

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