A man took care of his sister all her life until his wife got mad about it. That’s when she finally discovered the surprising reason why her husband did this and learned an important lesson.
“Paris, I promise I’ll be there for you no matter what,” Kurt told his younger sister when they were nine and seven, respectively. It was the night their father left their family forever but not before yelling something unforgivable.
“No one will put up with her!” he screamed angrily, which made Paris bawl her eyes out.
Luckily, her mother, Sonya, and her brother were there to comfort her. Kurt pledged to be by her side no matter what happened, and he fulfilled that promise until decades later when something threatened to break their bond.
Emily’s eyes were as wide as two saucers, and she placed her hand on her mouth.
When Paris was in her early 60s, her husband, Shane, whom Kurt had trusted to care for her all these years, died. Additionally, her son left their house at 18 to travel the world. He never called or checked in.
Kurt had to step in again to be her caregiver, and it only got worse when she turned 67 as her muscles gave out, and she was wheelchair-borne for good. But Kurt didn’t mind. He made a promise to his sister years ago, and he loved her dearly. However, he didn’t realize that someone important in his life would have a problem with this situation.
“I don’t want you to go there anymore. We’re supposed to be enjoying our golden years together. We had plans to travel the country in an RV. When are we going to do that?” Kurt’s wife, Emily, complained one night after he had spent all day at his sister’s house.
“Emily, Paris is my sister. I have to be there for her. This is no time to think about traveling. She’s all alone and can’t move well anymore. It’s terrible.” Kurt shook his head sadly.
“I feel bad for her, but we could just hire someone to care for her. This is not your job,” Emily added, gesturing with her arms.
“It IS my job! I promised I would never abandon her,” Kurt continued, frowning at her.
“That was years ago, and things change over time. You never expected her to become paralyzed, and I mean, you also have other priorities. We could visit our grandchildren and have fun. You don’t have to do this,” she stated, her voice getting higher.
“IT IS MY JOB!” Kurt snapped loudly but lowered his voice immediately as he tried to serve himself a glass of water. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you. But it is my job, and that’s final, Emily.”
“NO! It’s not final! I get a say in this too! It’s not fair. My own husband spent all day with his sister when we had many plans for our lives during our retirement. I want a reason why this is happening! We can place her in a private home or something where she won’t be alone, and she won’t be our burden!” Emily shouted back angrily.
“BURDEN? BURDEN! Emily! For God’s sake!” Kurt bellowed, throwing the glass on the floor and flinching as the pieces shattered and flew around their kitchen.
“Why are you responsible for her? It doesn’t make any sense! You’ve given her money and time and sometimes ignored our other issues all these years, even when Shane was alive. I know your father abandoned the family, but that’s not your fault, and it’s not your problem or mine for that matter—”
“She’s sick! She’s been sick all her life! That’s why Dad left! He couldn’t deal with a sick kid! Emily, Paris has periodic paralysis, and we lived our entire lives watching out for her because something could go wrong at any time!” Kurt revealed, screaming at his wife. “The fact that she is alive and only barely lost her movement is a miracle!”
Emily’s eyes were as wide as saucers, and she placed her hand on her mouth. “I didn’t know she was actually sick. I thought it was old age. You never told me,” she muttered, distraught.
“Paris never wanted people to know. When people find out you’re sick, it’s like everything changes. She loved you for being her friend and the best sister-in-law, so we decided not to tell anyone else in the family. Even her own son didn’t know much, but when he left,” Kurt stopped and rubbed his forehead in frustration and added, “it was like losing her father again; and when Shane died, it was even worse.”
Emily filled in the blanks slowly. “So she believes she has lost everyone she’s ever loved except you and your late mother because of her disease.”
Exactly,” Kurt finally calmed down.
“You should’ve told me. I could’ve helped too,” she added, unable to meet his eyes.
Kurt approached her and wrapped her in his arms. “I know you would’ve. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything. But it was my promise after all. I didn’t want you to feel obligated, too,” he said, kissing his wife’s forehead.
Emily sniffled gently and laid her head on his shoulder. “I don’t feel obligated. She’s my sister-in-law, and we’re family. We have to stick together,” she said with conviction.
After that, Kurt and Emily stayed quiet for a long time and went to sleep. But the following day, Emily was out the door and ready to help Paris navigate her life. Eventually, they decided she should live with them, and they sold her house to keep up with her medical expenses.
Paris tried to object, but Emily insisted. The women gabbed like schoolgirls in the mornings every day, but they both tried to make Paris’ life seem as normal as possible. Kurt thanked his wife for being there too, and they never talked about that awful fight. Family had to come first.
What can we learn from this story?
Taking care of your family should be a priority. You are not responsible for everyone in your family, but if you love them, you should ensure they’re alright.
Try not to demand things from your spouse when you don’t know all the details. Emily tried to stop her husband from visiting his sister and learned that she couldn’t judge the situation before knowing everything.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.