A Sibling’s View
Nineteen years ago, my first brother, Jack, was born. At just three years old, I happily welcomed this new little boy into our family.
But, only eight months later he was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. He was rushed into hospital in a critical condition.
Unbeknown to me, my brother was fighting the barrier between life and death. Several torturous days lay before my parents as they waited to see if he would pull through from his coma.
I don’t view him as being different. He’s just my brother.
The wait continued though as Jack was tested for brain damage. Again, he was fine. About three months later, because he’d had meningitis Jack had to be tested for hearing loss. They found out that he had profound hearing loss in one ear and severe loss in the other ear.
From the age of one Jack had to wear hearing aids in both ears. I grew up accustomed to regular hospital visits and having to adjust how we spoke to him.
In the early years, I was always confused about how my brother was different. He was just normal to me; I saw nothing wrong with him. I started to realise how he was different when I saw people look at him or ask him what that was in his ear. However, I feel that dealing with my brother’s disability has helped me. I don’t take life for granted as I know how precious it is for my brother.
I wrote this wanting to tell people about how I’ve coped and how I dealt with it, but I’ve realised all you really need to do is support your sibling and treat them like everyone else; not like they’re different. It’s hard sometimes, watching people look at him because he’s different. When you see someone you love being judged by strangers you feel very protective of them. I don’t view him as being different. He’s just my brother.
Written by Ayisha, Jack’s sister, when she was 14 years old