Middle Child Syndrome

I have an older sister, and a younger brother.
So that officially makes me the middle child right?

Well, you’d think so. But not really.

See, my sister was born very badly brain damaged, with a side of epilepsy.
Partly due to panic on the side of the hospital staff, and a botched forceps delivery, but that’s a whole other blog post.

When I was really young, she was my ‘big’ sister. I remember learning nursery rhymes with her, I remember riding on her back and playing ‘horsey’. I remember snuggling in bed with her listening to my dad tell us stories. I idolized her.

But as I got older, things changed. I remember teaching her songs, reading her stories, holding her hand and walking her to the dinner table, helping mum wash her hair in the bath.

And then my brother was born.

Effectively, for all intents and purposes, I am the eldest of three.

Because of the level of drugs needed to control her epilepsy, there were often other issues, and there was many a day we spent in ICU in hospitals, where doctors would put my sister into an induced coma to reset her drug levels, and we would have the ‘your sister might not make it’ conversations in our family lounge room.

Before very long, my sister had regressed so much that she needed full time nursing staff who could handle her epilepsy, and the level of damage in her brain.

My parents made the gut-wrenching decision for her to be put into full time care in a specialized facility, a decision I am still convinced I have only just scraped the surface in my comprehension thereof. My parents are my absolute heroes. But that is also a whole other blog post.

I feel like I don’t have a sister. Because we have never done the things that sisters do. We have never shopped together. We have never laughed about boys together. We have never stolen each other’s clothes out of each other’s wardrobes. We have never fought. We have never held hands and cried in a sad movie.

I miss my big sister. There’s a hole in my heart that she is meant to fill, and she can’t.

It was my sister’s birthday on Monday. She turned thirty eight. Which is miraculous in itself as the doctors told my parents she probably wouldn’t live past the age of three.

I was telling a friend that it was her birthday, and the friend (innocently) commented “I hope you remembered to call her!” I laughed, and said “she wouldn’t even know”.

Because she wouldn’t. She doesn’t register much of anything these days.

But I do. I know.

I DO have a sister.
And I love her very much.
I can’t wait to spend eternity catching up with her. We will need all of infinity to catch up…

Happy (belated) birthday Kathy. You rock my world.


13 thoughts on “Middle Child Syndrome

  1. Aww honey…my heart so goes out to you. I can imagine, but only slightly what that feels like. Just because I have been living away from my sis for years and years and it hurts. Like you said, one day you will meet the person she was meant to be. How exciting will that be!! Happy Birthday to your sister! Much love to you.

  2. Jo, This is beautifully written. One thing struck me… you feel as if you don’t have a sister, but that’s only in the ‘regular’ sense. However, you absolutely *act* like you have a sister. Sisterly love oozes from your words.

    You have your sister. Not someone else’s. And it’s a crying shame that her life has been governed by her brain damage and epilepsy, but she has you, and you she.

    I reckon your parents must be pretty amazing too. xo

  3. I’m teary reading this Jo. Tears of sadness at the situation but also happiness as I can feel the love you have for your sister. So much love there.

  4. hello!This was a really terrific post!
    I come from endland, I was fortunate to discover your theme in digg
    Also I learn a lot in your blog really thanks very much i will come daily

  5. Oh. I am really crying now. Kerri’s post now this. You just never really know what people have to deal with. One of the reasons I never ever judge a book by its cover. Wish I could give you a hug too. xx

  6. Oh man, this on top of Kerri’s post? I will not be fit to work today!

    Beautiful post Jo. I didn’t even know you had a blog- just lovely, honest, real writing. Kathy is lucky to have you. No wonder you are the gorgeous compassionate person that you are. xx

  7. Pingback: dear kathy « .the.world.is.your.oyster.

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