I was raised with a handicapped brother. His name is Eddie. No big deal, right?
Having a handicapped sibling in the 1950’s thru the 1960’s was far different
during those times, as compared to the here and now.
Nowadays, people who have handicapped family members, whether they’re children or siblings, have a great deal of supportive help. Caregivers have parenting groups, excellent physicians, day care centers, and the like. People also have the Internet at their disposal, and vast resources at their fingertips.
I’m not suggesting that raising a handicapped child today is an easy task, far from it. I’m just saying society, as we know it today, is so much savvier about mentally challenged individuals than half a century ago.
When I was a child, my mother didn’t even realize Eddie was physically and mentally challenged until he was nearly eight months old, when he couldn’t roll onto his stomach. He didn’t sit unaided until he was a year and a half old, and wasn’t even diagnosed until he was five. My father was an abusive alcoholic, my mother a religious zealot, and I was a scared, bashful kid living in a small town where everyone knew everyone’s else’s business.
I was also acutely embarrassed.
I’m currently penning a chronicle about what it was like to live in a dysfunctional family with a handicapped brother fifty years ago. How the experiences of my childhood shaped me as an adult. What mistakes I’ve made because I didn’t know better.
What it’s like to now be the guardian of an elderly, handicapped man.
Stay tuned – this WIP should be ready to publish sometime this winter.
And thanks for stopping by.
Posted by Susan Jean Ricci.