Kellie was 3 1/2 years old when her twin sisters were born. Both twins were born with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and required a lot of care. It didn’t take her long to notice Kay and Kara were different than her friend’s siblings. Kellie’s friends were fascinated with her sisters and always had lots of questions.
What it is Like to Have a Sibling with a Disability
As Kellie grew, she watched as her friends got to experience things she couldn’t because her sisters had cerebral palsy. One of the things she most missed was family vacations. It was a hard enough task to go anywhere as a family let alone on a vacation.
Kellie’s mom did her best to make sure Kellie’s needs were met. If she couldn’t do it herself, the extended family stepped in to help. Sometimes, Kellie felt like her parents weren’t always there for her emotionally. After taking care of Kay and Kara all day, they didn’t have a lot left to give.
When you have sisters, you share clothes, exchange secrets, and even fight. Kellie didn’t do any of that. In that sense, she said, “I was an only child.” This was good in some ways but Kellie is sad that she missed out on those experiences. On the other hand, she said, “What they taught me…is incomparable from what another sibling would get from another sibling.”
Losing One of the Twins
Kay recently passed away at the age of 41 and Kellie has had mixed feelings. Kellie was initially sad but she had been “ready to lose them for a long time.” Their whole lives, doctors said Kay and Kara would not live long so Kellie was glad Kay lived as long as she did. She also feels like Kay is now able to do things she couldn’t while she was alive.
Kellie also feels relieved for her mom who has given so much her whole life caring for Kay and Kara. Now, she like her mom has a little bit more freedom. At first, this feeling of relief for her mom made Kellie feel guilty, then she thought that Kay would want her mom to finally have some freedom too.
After Kay died she received many messages on social media from her old friends about how grateful they were to have known Kay. She was grateful to know Kay’s life had an impact on many.
Having a Sibling with a Disability Will Shape Your Life
Having a sister with a serious disability has prepared Kellie in many ways to have a family of her own. “I had a lot of confidence in becoming a mom.” During her younger years, there were a lot of things she saw and experienced that prepared her for motherhood. Many of those things, probably would have “freaked other mothers out”.
When Kellie was at babysitting age, she would babysit other kids like her sisters. She was the perfect person to do it because she had experience with that. Later on, she chose some opportunities to be in classrooms with children with disabilities and eventually, Kellie became a nurse.
Best Ways to Talk About a Person with a Disability
Kellie has three pieces of advice for people who have a sibling with a disability. She says to love them, be proud of them, and be excited to introduce them to others.
People act strangely around someone with a disability because they are afraid of what they don’t know. If you take the time to tell others about what your sibling has, they tend to be less afraid. Enlightening people about your sibling is the best way to touch their life.