Since multiple sclerosis often strikes in early adulthood, many times, the family unit includes children who mature into adulthood, watching their parents become progressively weakened by the disease. Such was the case in our family. Lynn had a ten-year-old son who lived with his ex-wife when we married in 1997.
Lynn’s son was a secondary caregiver
Lynn’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis occurred in 2006, and by 2011, his condition had progressed to the point of requiring the use of a power wheelchair. He and his son are very close, and his son became very vested in helping me with his father’s care. Until he went away to college, he often covered afternoons for me if I had to work late or came to stay with his father if I had places I needed to go on the weekend. I taught him how to perform all his father’s care in case anything happened to me.
In hindsight, it was a significant burden to place upon one so young even though he willingly requested the assignment. He, like so many other children of persons with disabilities, felt not only love for his father but a duty and responsibility to care for him as his son.