Today I’m honored to host a guest post by my youngest daughter, Grace Thorson. Grace was very young when her brother Kevin suffered a spinal cord injury and paralysis. She offers a personal look at how Kevin’s injury impacted her life. Here is a fresh perspective on caregiving from the vantage point of a sibling.
When I was eight, my brother, Kevin, broke his neck doing a back flip in Canada. He was part of a music team, and he absolutely loved doing it. With this new injury, and through a difficult round of events, he found amazing care at a hospital in Spokane, Washington. At the time, I was an overly quiet and serious-minded little girl. Most wouldn’t think it, but I had a defiant nature, and I undoubtedly still do.
With all the surrounding chaos, I didn’t fully grasp my family’s predicament. It didn’t help that I often found myself switching between staying at the hospital and the nearby Ronald McDonald House. I was often detached and protected from the serious and tumultuous circumstances surrounding my brother’s care. It was a dark time for me, and I needed a healthy dose of perspective to brighten up my life.
At the hospital in Spokane, Kevin had physical therapists assist him with strength and mobility training. I often tagged along with my parents and watched the therapists with curiosity. One particular therapist that we nicknamed “Sarge” became the reason that I learned the true meaning of sacrifice.
During one of Kevin’s sessions, Sarge told me (more like ordered) to help in the process of getting him in and out of bed. I remember feeling the fire of rebelliousness rising and wondering, “How can she order me about? She’s not my mother.” Reluctantly, I accepted Sarge’s demand and took on the tedious job of rolling up my brother’s leg wraps. It was a mundane chore, and I didn’t understand the significance of doing it.
But, with time, it kind of grew on me, and I relished the idea that I had a role to play within my family’s dynamics. With surging enthusiasm, I showed eagerness to learn and do more for my brother. If I had rebelled, I may never have learned one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever been presented with: sacrifice.
With being a part-time caregiver to my brother, and helping my family at home, I know how valuable sacrifice really is. Sacrifice is love.