Photo by Hans Moerman on Unsplash
After Mark sent his wife into care, he moved back to his parents, to the home he’d grown up in.
Mark was in his late forties and had been his wife’s carer ever since she was confined to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis.
It was difficult for them both, as Mark has cerebral palsy.
When his wife became mentally ill and her MS worsened, Mark was no longer able to care for her.
Their relationship became impossible.
She needed special lifting gear and constant specialist nursing attention.
I visited Mark shortly after, as he sat in the bedroom of his boyhood.
“I’m worthless” Mark said turning his face away from me.
But I could still see the tears dripping down his face.
“I can’t even look after my wife. I’ve been a burden on my family, everybody, since the day I was born” he sobbed. “I’m no good to anybody.”
I sat silently with him, letting him express his feelings.
Eventually I explained “Mark, you have achieved so much more than many people. You’ve been employed, self-employed, independent and for as long as you could you’ve been a devoted carer.”
“But I had a lot of help all along the way” Mark said. “I could never have done it without that help”.
He looked up at me, his brown eyes red from weeping.
“Mark, do you realise how valuable you are, just by being you?” I asked.
“What do you mean… how?” he asked me.
“By you having cerebral palsy and going through what you’ve gone through, you helped the specialists to devise new and better ways to care for people who have cerebral palsy.
They don’t walk with the same difficulty that you experience. Their tendons and muscles are better assisted.
That wouldn’t have happened if you and others like you hadn’t been willing to go through what you’ve gone through.
Most importantly Mark, you have given everyone in your life the gift of expressing their humanity and love.”
I could no longer restrain my own tears as I said, “And I’m so proud of you, my younger brother, for everything you’ve done, for everything you’ve endured.
And remember that none of us has achieved anything worthwhile without the help of others.”
Today Mark is living independently, happily sharing a house with a friend he’s known since childhood and we are in constant touch.
Mark is the model of resilience and positivity, and you couldn’t meet a kinder man.
I’m so proud to be his brother.