Monday, July 09, 2018

A Peek Into My Life

I don't talk much about my sisters.  
Not because I don't like them but because sometimes being their sister is hard.  
Sometimes it is the hardest thing I have to do in my life.  
Both of my sisters have pretty significant life challenges.  
My older sister, Vicki, was born mentally impaired and with cataracts on both eyes.  
They had to remove her lenses when she was small and she wears really thick glasses.
We grew up fairly normally.  
We played outside together, we went to the same school (for a little while) and 
I thought I had a pretty normal life.  
My younger sister joined our family when I was 9 and Vicki was 12.  
She had a really high fever in the incubator and was left with some damage to the motor section of her brain, (Cerebral Palsy) and slight mental impairment.  
So you see, a typical family, right?

About a year after our sister was born, things changed significantly.  
Vicki left for school in the morning and when she came home she was completely different.  
So different in fact, my mom thought someone 
had given her drugs on the field trip to the park that day.  
Turns out she had developed Schizophrenia.  
I will not make you suffer through all the trials and tribulations of what happened after except to say those years were really rough for our family. 
 Finding a new "normal" was not easy, and I am not sure we ever really did.  
Eventually, my sister found her way to an Adult Foster Care (AFC) home 
with some really great and caring people.  
She had developed some pretty severe bi-polar on top of everything else and the depression is unmanagable expect for using ect (electro convulsive therapy) every three weeks.  

My younger sister is another story.  
She was cared for by my parents and waited on hand and foot. 
 It was not until after my mom passed that she had to learn how to do much on her own and it still was not much. 
 My dad did a LOT for her and she was not very nice to him. 
 She seems to be emotionally stuck at somewhere in middle school age.  
She is very verbal so folks think she knows how to do way more than she does.  

So a few years before my dad passed away I was working to get her into an apartment, when it was clear I was going to have to move my dad into somewhere he could be watched more closely and eventually to a place closer than 3 hours away from me!  
Hubby and I drove to Grand Rapids every week to take care of him but 
clearly once a week was not enough.  
It has been no small undertaking to get her into a place where I could get helpers for her.  
Now she is settled in and we have been working on 
becoming aware that other people exist for things other than her.  
Teaching someone how to become less focused on themselves is not easy.  
I thought I was done raising teens, but NOPE!  It is slow going but some progress is being made.

I promised my dad I would take care of "the girls", that it was ok for him to go.  
So now I have two more people to take care of.  
My older sister is really not much work at all.  She is in a great place with great people.  

All this being said, I had a really good visit with both sisters this past week.  
Both are in good places in their lives (for them) right now. 

With this post, I would really like people to remember to be kind to one another.  
You never know what someone else is dealing with in their life.  
Spend time with your family, even if they are difficult.  
You only get one family.  Be the good in their life.  Lead by example.

This is Vicki, happily putting out the laundry and moving it around.  
We both have a love of touching fabric!

I thought I needed a picture of the tow of us together.

I'm sorry this was so wordy, but I needed to talk.  Have a happy day!



Judy in Michigan said...

Prayers for you and your sisters. We don't realize the weight that sits on the shoulders of our friends.

Jan @Cocoa Quilts said...

Pam thanks so much for sharing your story. You are right we don't always know what is behind other peoples front doors. You sound like you have given both your sisters great support and I am sure it was a blessing for your Dad to hear you say you would take care of his girls. Don't forget to take care of yourself too. Wishing you a very special day today.

Bridget said...

As part of my job I get a glimpse behind some of the doors and it is a constant reminder to give thanks for the blessing I have. You are a great sister. said...

Great post. You do great things, and some of us hit a point and think we are done caring for others and we end up with more.

chrisknits said...

What a rock you are to your family. They may never know or show their appreciation, but know you are doing a great job at being their sister. God Bless you.

Unknown said...

God bless you, Pam! If only there were more people like YOU in the world, how much better things would be.

scrappy; said...

So great of you to post all of this "personal" stuff. We all hold it in and it is toxic to do so. Blessings to you - you are really a wonderful sister and daughter.

Anonymous said...

I don't often comment but felt I had to on this. It's not been easy for you and I'm sure you're not perfect, but your current perspective is wonderful. Cheers to you!


Mama Spark said...

Dear Unknown, Scrappy and Andrea, thank you! I don't share personal stuff a lot and it was difficult but I'm glad I did. Enjoy your day and I would have emailed but you are all no reply = (
~ Pam x

Dianna said...

Bless you! I, too, have become guardian to 34 yr old young woman with Down Syndrome. I never expected to be almost 71 with a preteen (mental age) in my life. But life happens and I am glad to be able to be with this wonderful young woman and help her through the next step in her life.

myrtovl said...

God bless you Pam you are such a brave person!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Some of your story is familiar...grin. My DH sister had CP. Mom passed, We took her for 5 years before a group home. It was like raising a baby in a grown-up body. Lots of wonderful experiences, and bad. Next my Mom...grin. Life is always interesting to say the least.

Ioleen said...

Thanks for sharing Pam. God Bless you my friend. You are so right, we should be nice to all we meet because we have no idea what the person may be going through.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Thank you for sharing - we all look at others like they have no cares in the world, when in fact - they sometimes have more than their share. I think it is cool that you and your sister both like fabric - what a fun thing to have in common, and good for you for finding the small things ;-) Hugs to you!!

Anne Simonot said...

Quilt blogs about quilts are great, but it’s the personal glimpses that draw me in. I have a sibling with mental health issues (who has no spouse or kids), and some very major health issues (induced by heavy smoking, sigh...) this year. My youngest sister was in the middle of a divorce when she was diagnosed with breast cancer this year too. It’s been a hell of a year (plus ongoing sorrows about one of my own kids). So your story really resonates with me. My mantra for the past year has been just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving. I’m exhausted though. So, my sympathies and understanding to you!

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