Our travels....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

30 Day Challenge-Day 20

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with
At first when I thought about this, I was going to talk about my parent’s divorce but the more I thought about my life, the more I realized that wasn’t the hardest.

The hardest, by far, was growing up with a Mentally Retarded sibling. Nobody can truly relate or understand what it’s like unless they’ve gone through it themselves.

As a kid, you grow up wanting to be accepted…well, I did at least.

This was hard since when we would go out into public people would stare like crazy, point, laugh, whisper…you name it, and they did it. It was cruel beyond belief and at times, I really just wanted to run and hid.

My brother is older than me by about 3 years. He was never diagnosed with anything specific just severe mental retardation. He can’t talk, dress or bathe himself, prepare food, pour himself a drink, drive, etc. However, he can walk. He didn’t necessarily like to walk or maybe it was just easier for my Mom. She had gotten him a stroller. No, it didn’t look like a child’s stroller; it was definitely more for a teen/adult. We would use it when we’d go to the mall, a fair, anything with a lot of walking.

This would cause people to stare because they would wonder why a 15 year old boy was riding in a stroller. I was so embarrassed; I’m not going to lie. I didn’t want to have friends over to my house because he would always “bother” us. If I met a new friend, it was so hard to explain what he was like and then when they met him, they would also stare.

My Mom would get really upset at how people treated him or us. Her or I would often respond to people who were staring or I would stare back to see how they liked it.

I now hate when people stare. I hate when people use the word “retard” so loosely.

I love my brother. How could I not? But…it was.the.hardest thing to deal with when growing up. It’s still hard to explain to people who don’t know me well or him at all.

People treat him as if he’s not a real person.

I understand that a lot of people don’t encounter people like him so they don’t know how to act around them or towards them. Let me just tell you this….treat them like any other human being. They have feelings too and he’s very smart given the circumstances.

It’s still very hard but as I live across the country from him, it’s not as hard as it was when I was younger and living with him.

I just wish people would be more respectful. I know, that’s farfetched but I can hope, can’t I?

1 comment:

  1. Congrats to you Mrs. A. This is very touching story.. Hope you like also the story of the children here