How Do I Love Thee? (A Letter to a Sister with Global Development Delay)
What happened to us?
When we were kids, I thought we were twins.
Because we always had the same dress, sewed by our mother. Wherever I went, you had to go with me: playing outside, eating, taking a bath, watching TV, and so on. Whenever we had a party or there was an event at the house, Mother would not let me help her with the chores. She would always tell me, “Stay with your sister and that’s enough.”
We were inseparable back then. I grew up looking after you like I had to do for my own self. It’s like I had two selves, since we only had a two-year age gap. Being with you was like being alone with myself. So I had a lot of time to read books, watch movies, and try writing.
Mother said you had your own separate world, and if someone wanted to understand you, they must enter into your world. And so I did.
At that early age, I learned how to train a one-year-old child to use a spoon and fork while eating, to use the toilet when nature called, to get dressed, to comb her hair after every shower, to sit properly.
You were that one-year-old.
I learned how to be responsible for other people because of you. You taught me how to take care of others without expecting something in return. You taught me to be patient, to be sensitive to other people’s needs, to control my emotions, to always think ten times before doing something stupid. You taught me to be perfect, or at least act perfectly.
I thought you were lucky to have us as a family. Aside from our parents, you have six sisters and brothers to look after you. It’s also a good thing that you’re the fifth child to be born out of seven children. At 41 years old, you are still our baby.
And so I thought.
For the last six months, you’ve had an ear infection that caused your head to develop sores and made you completely lose your hair. The regular visits to hospitals, which give you stress and fear and worsened your condition, have not been easy.
These things are all new to you, and to us, too. We never thought this would happen.
How do we love thee?
Are you really lucky to have us?
We isolated you from the world we lived in. None of us took the initiative to put you in school, or to be trained by professionals or medical experts regarding your condition. We took your freedom to live a normal life, or at least learn how to take care of yourself, to freely express what you wanted.
If only we had known how to love you.
Previously Published: https://noceilingnowalls.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/how-do-i-love-thee-a-letter-to-a-sister-with-global-development-delay