Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Picking up the pieces after an autism diagnosis

A HUGE aspect of my life has been teetering on the edge of survival for a little over a year now. 
Its just been sitting there, waiting for the one specific thing to push it to its end.
 Some days it seems semi stable and some days barely hanging on as the storms rage on around it.

A few weeks ago that aspect of my life came to a shattering end.
Two weeks ago my 4 year old was diagnosed with Autism. 
Two weeks ago I sat in the therapists office and listened to the words that I had known I would hear. 
I was strong.
I held my head high and took it all in.
I kept the tears at bay and put on my best brave face.
That is of course until I heard this: "You can tell by looking at this picture that the light is gone. Somewhere between there and here the light was lost."
For whatever reason these two simple sentences changed my world.

Hearing those sentences made it all real for me.
It was no longer something that a stranger was telling me about a random kid.
This was something that this doctor was telling me about MY son. 
This is my precious little boy, who I can see every day is fighting a hard battle, that you are talking about loosing the light.

That was the moment where the all the dreams I had for him came crashing down.
I sat in the passenger seat on the way home that day, with tears streaming down my cheeks, and just stared out the window.
I think in that hour drive home that I went through the grieving process.

I had just lost something.
I had lost all the hopes and dreams I had had for Braddoc.

Denial:
I was in denial. This could not be true.
Except for the fact that I had know it was true in my heart for some time before this.

Anger:
I was so mad!! Why me? Why him? Why us? 
Are you sure I am the right mom for this?
I think you made a mistake God!? 
I HATE you for giving this to my son.
But at the same time I knew I could do it. I knew Braddoc could do it. And I loved him even more for the battle I knew the lord trusted him to fight. 

Bargaining:
Can you just give it to me?
Can you take it away from him and let me have it?
Can you fix this and take it away?
 We can do it for a little bit and prove our strength and then you can just take it away. Okay?

Depression:
This is now my life.
This is never going to go away.
I am never going to get a break.
I am not going to be able to do this.
We can't have any more kids because I don't know if I can handle anything more then this.
I am not good enough for this.
I am not good enough for him.

Acceptance:
I AM the mom for this.
Braddoc is so strong and we can do this.
He is not autistic, he HAS autism.
Autism is not who he is, its a trait that he has to deal with.
This is not a disease, its a part of who he is, but NOT who he is.
I knew God had prepared me for this.
I knew that I had all the tools to help Braddoc be Braddoc. 
I knew that my heart had been ready for this all along.

It was not until I hit the acceptance part that I saw the hope. 
I felt a peace and warmth come over me as I accepted the future.



A light was found and happiness was realized.
It was then that I realized that even though my dreams for Braddoc's future had been shattered into a million pieces that it was not over.
That dream I had before was not a dream for Braddoc. 
It was a dream for someone else.
At this moment I could just fall apart, OR I could pick up the pieces and create a new puzzle, a new dream.
This time the right dream.
A dream in where Braddoc learns to be the best version of himself.

And really isn't this is dream we all have for our kids anyway?
We want for them to discover who they are and grow up to be good people.
That is what I want for Braddoc.

When you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he won't answer you like an "average" four year old would. He won't tell you he wants to be a pilot, or a policeman or a doctor. He will tell you he wants to be a grown up daddy or a mommy (he connects better with women, His wife if going to LOVE HIM!!! Isn't that what every women dreams of?)

What a wonderful mind set. 
How blessed I am to be a mom to such a remarkable boy.

Each day is a new trial with Braddoc. 
The area of autism that Braddoc has it the hardest is his sensory processing. 
He shuts down A LOT. 
There are always going to be things going on around him and so we have to help him learn to adapt to the world around him.
As hard as it is for me sometimes to understand him and to help him cope I know that its always 10(million maybe) times hard for him then it will ever be for me.

It will be hard for him a lot.
The more I think about this, the more I am humbled to think of what an amazing gift God has given me.
I have a little boy who when presented with a life trial in heaven, he chose the harder path.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost

What a testament to who this little boy is.

I pray every day to be more Christ like. 
I pray to be less judgemental.
I pray to see and find the beauty in the simple things in life.
I pray to understand others and their struggles in life better.

The Lord has answered my prayers.
He answered those prayers in the form of a little boy who struggles with Autism every day and who loves so unconditionally.
He sent me a little boy to teach me the ways.

"....and a little child shall lead them."



Life is not easy. 
I don't recall being given a book anywhere along the way that told me it would be simple.
I do know that I learn through my trials.
I know that when I humble myself and accept with LOVE the things I have been given that life is more enjoyable.

I still grieve a little bit everyday. 
Sometimes its fleeting and sometimes when I am on the verge of tears I kneel in prayer and ask for the strength to make it through.
I take it one day at a time.

I may not have asked for a son who has autism, but I did ask to be a mom.
I have promised the Lord, with every child I have gotten, that I would do what was best for each of them, not what was best for me, but for them.
 I made a promise over 4 years ago that I would teach the precious baby I held in my arms everything he needed to know to grow up to be a good man.
 I promised God that I would do everything in my power to give this boy the tools he needed to succeed in this life and that I would teach him the ways of the Lord. 
I promised that I would be the mother he deserves for me to be and that I would never give up on him, even if the going got tough.

Nothing has changed since I made that promise.
The only thing different is that the path I thought I would have to take to get there is a bit different. 

This life is amazing!
Braddoc is amazing!
This life is hard!
Autism is hard!
But Braddoc is amazing and WORTH ALL OF IT!

Braddoc is a wonderful boy and I would not change him for the world.



Today, on the way home from the therapy office, I cried again.
But this time they were not tears of sadness but rather of hope.
I cried tears of compassion, tears of understanding and tears for a brighter future.

Every day is going to be a journey. 
Sometimes the road will not be paved.
Sometimes the road will be straight and beautiful.
Sometimes the road will be stormy and 
sometimes the road will be the most amazing path I've ever seen.

I cried because I never knew I could love my little boy more then I did in that moment. 
I cried because God knew I needed Braddoc and that Braddoc needed me.
I cried because though the dreams I once had were gone, I now had new dreams and those dreams come true every day.

My long term dream is for Braddoc to be the best man he can be.
My short term dream is that each day, we try a little harder to be a little better.
I dream that each day we grow a little bit more and come to a little better of an understanding about autism and how to help Braddoc cope.

I have come to realize that while long term goals and dreams are wonderful, that its the short term ones that get to us to those long term dreams.
I celebrate each milestone and each day.

There is hope smiling brightly before me and I know that this journey was meant for me.




3 comments:

Shelley said...

Aurie,

With our precious Jared in our home, I can truly understand the emotions that smack you right in the face until you feel like you are going to just wither up and die.

I can tell you that despite what the doctors and therapists all say, NONE of them are God.

He sees Braddoc as the Son of God who valiantly said "I know it will be hard, but I will go and do" and you as the mother and warrior who said "I will accept this at Thy Hands because I know I will NEVER be alone in this journey with Thy son, Braddoc".

Special needs kids in ANY spectrum are a challenge, but they are also a wonderful blessing that helps you to never take for granted any milestone, any moment of progress or any single instant that lets you see that stalwart soul inside that little boy.

People who don't understand can either be taught and they will come to love Braddoc or, and sadly this will happen, you will learn who you can easily cut out of your circle of influence for your tender child because they refuse to see him as God sees him.

The roughest part of any of this journey of the unexpected is learning that even though you had everything planned out one way, what God has in mind for you all is going to be infinitely more rewarding and that you DO have all eternity to get there.

You are in my prayers.

much love,
Shelley

Kellie said...

Aurie, you also chose the harder path. That tells a lot about you too, and you continue to prove what a great person you are as I read your different posts.
I know everyone's trials and grieving are so personal but there's also a common thread of hope and trust in God and strengthened faith. I've written quite a bit on my blog of what I've learned from my second daughter being stillborn this May. Feel free to read it.
bobbmf.wordpress.com
You can request access if you don't already have it. In my posts I've talked about some of the things that have really helped me in the past few months that I think are pretty universal and would hopefully help others with trials too.
Hang in there! You can do it!

Shannon said...

What a beautiful post. :) I didn't know all of this was going on. I'm not on FB much anymore, and I lost the link for your blog. I'm glad that you feel hopeful. We didn't talk about it much, but Ethan was somewhere on the autism spectrum and had (though never diagnosed, we knew he did after much research) Aspberger's. that was one big reason we pulled him from public school...it was too much over-stimulation. Anyhow...God will use this for His glory! You are shining His Light. Never stop believing, and know that He never gives us more than we can handle. Hugs!