I thought I was past the grief and sadness that came with Austin’s official diagnosis. I thought I had processed it and was moving forward. For the last few weeks, even though they were challenging weeks with constantly sick kids, I felt optimistic about Austin and thought I was past the grief of this situation.
I thought wrong.
Last week was not uneventful as I’d hoped. Instead the kids picked up another virus, some type of flu bug with fever and cough. The girls missed more school; we had more make up work, and more stress. More nights of little girls pitter pattering into my room at all hours needing medicine, or tissues, or a hug from mommy. More sleep deprivation for me. Maybe the lack of sleep is what started this, I’m not sure.
I came across a news article about a young lady who is nonverbal and autistic and read how she had a “breakthrough” at age 11. I kept reading excited to hear about how she just suddenly started talking. But that wasn’t the case. Her breakthrough was that she wrote down a few words to explain that she wasn’t feeling well.
Amazing, yes, but not what I was hoping to see. I read further and learned that she was diagnosed at age 2 and had all the therapies and support that Austin also has.
It was then that I began to feel the anxiety returning. I convince myself that he will talk, that maybe he will even lose his diagnosis with all the help he’s getting. But what if he doesn’t? What if he remains autistic? What if he remains nonverbal? What if this doesn’t have the fairy tale happy ending I hope for?
This afternoon Austin was pulling me and crying for me to hold him up in front of the blinds for anther endless session of flipping them open and closed.
While standing there holding him I lost it. I held him so tightly and just sobbed. I begged God “please just fix my baby, please heal him. Please take this away.” While I was having my silent conversation Austin suddenly turned and looked at me for awhile. After he turned back to the blinds then I cried out of guilt. I love Austin, I love everything about him, and I would never want him to think otherwise.
I find myself missing friendships, conversations with other adults, a life outside of the routine of therapies. I have felt very alone and isolated. A lot of the reason is our therapy schedule, but some of it is my own fault. I don’t make the effort I should to attend get togethers or playdates, because it’s hard. I never know what to expect from Austin and I’m always so tired that adding anywhere else to have to be overwhelms me.
I share this because I know there must be others out there who battle the same fears, who feel the same loneliness. Having a special needs child is a challenge unlike anything I’ve ever faced, and I hope I’m up for the task.