Growing up as the middle sibling to two brothers with profound and multiple learning disabilities has made me the person I am today.
Being tuned in to non-verbal brothers taught me to live mindfully well before anyone knew what that might mean. I am aware of the environment around me, changes in sound and light, always on the lookout for things to inspire the senses. It has developed my ability to communicate and connect with people. I’m great with babies and am an expert on feeding myself one handed when snuggling a friend’s new-born.
My younger brother Sam taught me to sleep through anything! A thin wall separated our rooms growing up and Sam was regularly awake through the night. Dad would be astonished in the morning when I said I hadn’t heard anything. A definite skill that has been useful on countless occasions.
Being a sib has developed in me a strength to keep functioning in a crisis. I’m excellent at list making, packing, and laminating. I can do a zip or a shoelace on the move and from any angle. I can cycle an accessible bike uphill with my brother Dan up front whilst holding the dog lead and having a consultation with the GP on the phone.
Most importantly being a sib has taught me the true value of love and loyalty. My younger brother Sam passed away in 2019 and his legacy is that I try to #bemoresam in life, to be accepting and non-judgemental, embrace opportunities and to remember that it is possible to be cheerful even through times of pain.