During the years that Pervis and I were separated, I knew that I could always count on him if I needed something for PJ or myself. He paid the bills at our house when he paid the bills at his house. He gave me extra spending money and constantly checked on us to make sure that we didn’t need anything.
However, there were times when I decided that I would not rely on Pervis and that I would handle my situation by myself. I hated the fact that I always needed help. I still do. When you have a child handicapped by autism, you need help. You can not do it alone.
So that’s how it came about that my electricity was cut off. I never saw a notice about this, or I would have let Pervis know what we needed. It was a Friday evening in the early 1980s and back then if your utilities were cut off on Friday, you had to wait until Monday to get them back on.
Pervis came to check on us and we had no electricity. The house was not only dark, it was also cold, because with no electricity, there was no heat. Pervis was shocked and extremely upset with me. “How could you let this happen? This did not have to happen. Why didn’t you let me know you needed money for utilities?’
For his part, PJ was frantically running around the house flipping light switches and trying to turn on radios and TVs. “Look at our son”, Pervis said. “He doesn’t understand any of this. You two can’t stay here in the cold and the dark. You have to come home with me.”
I looked at PJ getting more and more frantic as his behavior began to accelerate. I felt so bad and incompetent. We were in for a difficult weekend if we stayed at home. I agreed that this situation didn’t have to happen. I packed a bag for PJ and me and we went to spend the weekend with Pervis where we would be warm and have electricity. I again had to admit that Pervis wasn’t ALL bad. He constantly tried to make sure that PJ and I were OK. It was this kind of looking out for us that led to us eventually getting back together.
What do parents do who don’t have someone to help them? We thought there should be a place where parents could get emergency help without having to jump through hoops. This was the beginning of our wanting to start PJ’s Foundation. Years later, after we started the foundation and I mentioned this to a parent, she said, “I’ll jump through the hoops if I have to”. We parents get so used to all the red tape and hoop jumping that it becomes a part of our life as we try to find services for our children.
We are a small foundation and we can’t help everyone, but we can help someone. So can you. A friend or family member trying to parent a child with a disability may need a little support and assistance now and then. You, too, have “a spoonful of comfort” to share. I hope that you give this some thought.
Until next time; May you have Peace, Love and Prosperity in your life.