I like my brother But as a child, that love didn’t always make me want to be like everyone else, to be in harmony, to be a normal girl with a normal younger brother and a normal family.
For years our family has been just that.
And then one day we were gone.
(excerpt) The Long Road to Happiness: A Sister’s Journey Overcoming Her Brother’s Obstacles by Diane Morrow Condos)
D.Memoirs of Ian Morrow-Kondos, long road to happiness (The RoadRunner Press, 2023) presents with honest, clear eyes the complex emotions that come with being the brother of a brother with a severe intellectual disability. Guilt, shame, fear, isolation, boredom, confusion and loneliness shaped Diane’s young life, but protection, happiness, playfulness, pride and love were present as well.
Morrow-Kondos’ memoir is divided into a period before his brother was born and a completely different period after David was born when he was five. David looked “normal,” but his first year of growth wasn’t. Their mother knew, but he was brushed off by doctors until it became clear that David wasn’t progressing.Around his first birthday, David was diagnosed in 1966. I was diagnosed with “Mental Retardation” which is the name.
“Whenever there is a child in the family who needs extra resources, it changes the dynamics of the family,” Morrow-Kondos said. His needs became a central concern for our family.”
Morrow Kondos was the closest in age to her brother and the one who spent the most time with David. She took him along when swimming, biking, or going to the park with friends, and then on a few dates.
She struggled with math in school and once thought she was “behind” too.
Confused and wanting attention, she desperately thought how she could be David’s perfect sister, thinking it was a way for her parents to see. She admits that she feels some resentment towards her parents, especially her mother.
As she explains in her book, “glass children” is a term applied to siblings of children with disabilities. invisible to parents who focus on their children who need them most.
At that time, few people talked about intellectual disability. Even today, people often don’t want to talk about their difficulties. They may be in denial about what will happen to their child.
“This book really helps parents of children with disabilities understand what their siblings are going through,” she said. You will understand that not everything has to be positive, it is okay to have negative feelings, I was embarrassed to hide it, but that my feelings are very normal and typical I understand.”
She also hopes that the book will help those who have never experienced hers better understand families with children with intellectual disabilities.
Morrow Kondos, now David’s guardian, wants to encourage people to be more honest and open about sharing their feelings, both good and bad. She thinks it’s especially important to pay attention to her siblings.
“The people with disabilities have the longest relationships with their siblings,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Diane Morrow-Kondos blogs for TulsaKids grandparents.
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