Growing up with a sibling with a disability had its fair share of challenging times but also times that I cherish to this day. I can recall making many trips to London from Yorkshire with my dad and sister to visit my brother and mum at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Although I was very young at the time, I was able to understand the severity of my brother’s complex medical condition and the pressure and emotional strain my parents were under. As a sibling, I too was worried about my brother, however I also found it difficult having time apart from my mum at such a young age; I can recall a memory of me waving goodbye to my mum whilst leaving for the train station in a London cab. My parents, however, made mine and my sister’s trips to London as positive as they could be under the circumstances and would take us on trips to places like Madam Tussauds and London Dungeons, not to mention Sids Café which was a must when visiting the hospital! As well as receiving lots of support from family and friends at the time, I was also supported by a children’s Sibling Group through Beeable which is a disability service and support organisation for children and young people based in Yorkshire. The support I received as a sibling in this group was invaluable; I got to meet other children going through similar experiences and share our stories, as well as go on days out that I may not have been able to experience if it were not for the group.
Now as an adult sibling, having gone through the experiences growing up with my brother, I feel as a family unit we are extremely strong. I am in frequent contact with my brother despite the geographical distance between us now and we often send each other voice notes or funny pictures! The distance between me and my family, however, does not come without guilt as I often wonder if I am doing enough to support them. To help cope with these feelings and other worries that come with having a sibling with a disability, me and my sister are in frequent contact and we often share similar concerns, which is extremely validating. This is also where finding Sibs has been a massive blessing and I look forward to getting more involved with the organisation as an adult sibling.