Sibling Saviour - Sister steps up to care for family
Toshiba Daley has had a rough time providing for her siblings and meeting their needs.
The 29-year-old Daley has no children of her own, but has cared for her younger siblings - sisters Tashagaye and Tashieka and brother Gayron - since their mother died three years ago from cancer. Daley has taken on the massive responsibility of looking after her teenage sisters and mentally ill brother with surprising optimism. Gayron, who is now 24, was abandoned at the hospital by his father at the same time his mother died. Daley took him in.
"It's been dramatic at times caring for them. It's hard to know what to do and not to do since I don't have children of my own. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by everything, especially when I cannot meet their needs," she shared, noting that Gayron's needs are more than the girls' because of his illness.
"There was a time when all four of us shared one board room with two beds, and we had to crawl over each other to get out. The stove was in the middle so they had to go outside when I was cooking. There was also a time when we had no bathroom and had to use the neighbour's," she told Family and Religion.
She recalled that at times, money was not enough to purchase groceries, but they were content with what they had. No one knew that they were hungry and they never went naked as Daley tried her best to avoid begging.
"Sometimes I used to sit outside and cry and say, 'my God, when will things change?' But God came into my life and turned things around and everything worked in a way I don't even understand."
She continued: "Now that we are in a better position, I still try to teach them important life lessons and values, especially the girls. I tell them it's not what friends have, but what we have, and we have to be satisfied with it."
Family time is used for bonding and the siblings try to keep memories of their mother alive. "We retell the jokes she used to tell us and have a good laugh and that makes us feel good," Daley said.
She said she is extremely proud of her sisters as they managed to sit their external exams and were successful.
"Looking back, it seems like a dream because some things we managed to cope with to this day, I still can't understand," said Daley with tears in her eyes.
She credits proper planning and budgeting for the girls being able to make it through school.
"My sisters are humble and understanding. They make suffering look so joyous and easy."
As their mother figure, Daley ensures her sisters dress properly, and is careful about the music and movies they choose.
"People expect us to fail because our mother died, but we are doing well so far, and I'm trying my best not to give them that satisfaction."
Daley is a self-employed beauty therapist who works in May Pen, Clarendon.
"Everything I do, I plan around them, but I don't regret it. I don't feel like I've given up anything because I live for them. Sometimes it feels like I gave birth to them because they are the reason I get up every day and push - because I know I need to make it for them. I'm very proud of them because they have done well under the circumstances," she said.