It is not always easy to tell the truth about how we feel. Emotions can be uncomfortable, overwhelming and messy. People avoid expressing their feelings in all sorts of ways; pushing them down, sweeping it under the rug, until eventually it feels like we may explode. While we value positivity and looking on the bright side, it also takes bravery to acknowledge when things are hard. Coping with a serious illness within the family is very hard. Our featured Sibling Spotlight this month, Nadine, undaunted by complicated emotions will tell you just how it is- big feelings and all.  
 
Seven year old Nadine is strong and spirited, playful and charming. She is as beautiful as any Disney princess and as tenacious as a ninja warrior. She has a younger brother Naaman who has cancer and in her words is “famous” in their community. Fortunately, she also has very special parents who are willing to listen and have the wisdom to find her extra emotional support through the Friends of Karen Sibling Support program.  Nadine is incredibly expressive and creative- a perfect match for the art therapy she works on with her Sibling Support Specialist Siobhan.  Please read below as she shares her story, perspective, feelings and what makes her star shine brightly too. 
 
What makes your family special?
N- Well, we are kind of famous because Naaman has cancer and he was on TV.
 
Well this story is all about you, so I guess you are famous now too.
N- Yay! That is so awesome!
 
What makes you special?
N- I’m about the only tiny kid who can write in cursive.
 
What are some things that you are really good at?
N- Making crafts, making new besties, math and karate.
 
What do you like to do with your brother?
N- We like to play school together. I’m always the teacher because I'm older and I like to be the boss. 
 
What is it like having a brother who has a serious illness/cancer?
N- It can be terrible! Sometimes he gets all the attention. 
 
What are some ways your parents make you feel special?
N- Sometimes I have sleepovers at Grandmas. Sometimes they get a babysitter for Namaan and take me to a store to shop or McDonalds -just me and them.
 
What are the Sibling Support sessions like?
N- I love that we do art and crafts.  I make art to show my feelings, especially anger and jealousy.
 
What makes you feel better and helps with your jealous feelings? How does it feel to make art? 
N- Making art helps me feel good and I can put all my feelings into pictures, books and music.
 
What are your favorite art materials?
N- Paper, tape, pencils and model magic!
 
What do you like to do with your family?
N- I like to go to Pennsylvania and eat delicious potato pancakes!
 
What advice would you give to other kids who have an ill sibling?
Have your parents call Friends of Karen and Miss Siobhan!
 

Sibling Stories

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It is not always easy to tell the truth about how we feel. Emotions can be uncomfortable, overwhelming...

The season of gratitude, joy and peace is upon us. Despite the festivities around us , the holidays can be a particularly challenging time for many of our Friends of Karen families.