The Ottawa Morning radio show recently featured a story of two siblings who found themselves with only each other after their mother passed away. In the story, Helen reflects on her successes and failures in becoming the sole caregiver of her sibling, Paul, who has Down syndrome.
According to the clip, “[Helen’s] plan was to maintain the same standards as her parents had, which included washing his clothes, making his meals, helping him make decisions, etc. For Helen, attempting to pick up where her mother left off was ‘soul destroying’ and her brother became resentful. ‘I don’t have a parental role. I am not his parent…I’m not in that parenting role at all. We are equal, we are siblings, and he didn’t want me involved in that way…’ She had to let go and let him be his own person. This means that sometimes his socks are dirty, and sometimes he stays up all night, and sometimes he missed an appointment. Helen thinks that in many ways he is enjoying not having his life micromanaged. Their relationship is better when they live their own lives. In failing to replace her mother, she has been able to create a more sustainable life for both of them.”