To My Young Carer

Eldest daughter

To My Young Carer
Photo by Nassrinart_7 on Unsplash

I see you. First things first, I want you to know that.

It's not easy this situation you are in, and it's definitely not fair. If I could choose out of all the possible paths in life for you, this would have never been my choice for you.

I always speak about how the life of a special needs parent is a lonely one, one that is often walked alone and though you have people around you to listen and care, and try to understand; you feel the effects of caring for this individual by yourself, your own personal experience doesn't match another's experience, and therefore the feeling is lonely and overwhelming and unexplainable to most people.

It is easy to forget how having a sister with complex needs has completely turned your life upside down for you when I am myself running on some kind of autopilot each day, just trying to survive this life also. In these elusive moments of clarity I think to myself that maybe you have probably been most affected by this kind of life we live most of all.

You have walked this path alongside me and though I have tried to keep my feelings and thoughts and emotions mostly away from you, you still see me for the truths that I hide. I can't hide anything from you. I know you feel them too. I know you feel the loneliness too.

I am sorry that in the end, your life isn't your own. You don't get to be free to just think about yourself. Like most teenagers... like most people. I am so sorry you think you are another parent to your younger siblings. I am so sorry you carry my weight of the world upon your shoulders also. I never wanted to make you feel that, I tried so hard to prevent that feeling. Maybe in a way it is inevitable. Being the eldest child will always provoke some kind of feeling of responsibility over the younger members of the family. Adding in special needs to that concoction and you are bound to feel it. It gives a hard-hitting kick.

But you are resilient I tell you. You are strong. You are powerful in your thoughts and in your mind. You are resourceful and intelligent. And this experience will only give you extra tools later along down the line, to handle your life. You won't see this right now or feel the strength or the power of your own abilities. It is something you only ever see in reflection long after you have processed the situations you find yourself in.

Right now, I know it can get overwhelming at times, I know it gets too much. I see you when you collapse under the pressures of it all. Life is difficult right now. One day life won't feel so hard. The here and now is but a small moment in the course of a lifetime. It is something I have to remember to repeat to myself. This moment is just a tiny moment. Life won't always feel like this.

I see you lashing out at the world around you when you are overwhelmed and feeling the loneliness. I don't blame you. I understand it. I feel that sometimes too. I'm just able to hide it a lot better than you can.

And I sometimes wonder why I am the only person you don't really get angry with. I feel I should be the person you should be most angry with. But in solidarity, I believe this life we live actually makes our bond stronger. Maybe deep down, you feel that in the end, that I could be the only one feeling the same way that you do. To some kind of extent.

I only think that because that's how I sometimes think about you.

So as we continue this bumpy and lonely path together. Let us remind ourselves that we do this out of a place of overwhelming and unspoken love. Let us remind ourselves that even when we feel like there isn't anyone out there who understands the complexity of the feelings we hold, We both together feel many of those same feelings. And when we feel like we are alone, Let us remind ourselves that there is at least one other person who understands.

And let me remind you, that above all, I am so thankful, so everlastingly thankful, to have such an incredible person in my life like you. Thank you for everything that you do. Without even realising it. You are such a source of strength and inspiration for me. Let me pick that invisible crown from the floor where it dropped for you and polish it back up and put it back firmly onto your head, because I see what you are.

Fierce warrior queen in the making.

Just give it time.

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