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Dear Sibling Caregivers of a Child With a Disability

Dear young carer,

Let me start this letter by telling you who I am, and to do that I must tell you where I have been. I have a message for you, but I know you won’t believe me until you know I understand you.

Growing up I was what is known as a young carer. My childhood was different from lots of other children. I had responsibilities that most children don’t have, because I have a brother with autism. Just before I turned 2, my mum came home with a new small little person. Apparently, I didn’t quite understand who he was to me at first, I was just excited and knew it was a baby. As time went on that baby learned and unlearned how to speak, he didn’t play in the same way as the other brother that came after, and he went through a phase of

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I keep trying to convince my roommate that we should get a cat, that I need a cat. I’ve already reconciled myself with the reality that I can’t have a dog– something to do with my tiny apartment, lack of funds, a full-time job on top of being a full-time student, and not being able to take care of one properly. Still, I haven’t given up on getting something small and fuzzy and loving that will cuddle with me when I’m wandering through my darkness.
It was around the time of the Day of the Dead, that time when we think of loved ones lost, when I got the early-morning email that Nathan unexpectedly passed. I was shocked. Nathan took me on my first skydive. That day was electric, one of the most exciting of my life. How could it possibly be?

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