I don’t know about a happy ending, but I do know that the impact of living with a son who is handicapped by autism has caused me to a be stronger, kinder, healthier person. I’d thought I could not endure all the sacrifices and challenges of living with PJ and did not plan to live with him this long, but I am feeling better at age 70 than I did at age 40 and 50.
We were so worried about his future that Pervis and I decided that we would be his future. Once we decided that we were in it for the long haul, I had to develop a system for how I was going to cope with his behavior. I took stress management classes that are still beneficial to me. One of the outcomes of these classes was learning how important it is to get respite.
I also had to develop Faith. Faith is hoping for a positive outcome in spite of all evidence to the contrary. If you already know the outcome, you don’t need Faith. I would rather have Faith for years and then be disappointed, than to be disappointed for years because I had no Faith. My Faith was not in me, but in God. God might not move the irritation, but He can help you grow past it. That’s how pearls are made. (I don’t know where I read that, but it is a spoonful of comfort to me).
I gave PJ birth, but God gave him life, so I learned to quit apologizing for his existence. He is entitled to his little space on the planet just like the rest of us. Is he worth any less because of his condition? Would I still love him if he did not recover from autism? God did not cure PJ, but He cured me.
In his book, “The Prophet” Kahlil Gibran said, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. You can give them your love, but you can’t give them your thoughts.” This quote has always been a spoonful of comfort also.
I am closing with a poem that I wrote over 20 years ago when PJ was at his worse going through puberty. It was first published in my book of poems, “Let There Be Light” in 1995. It is also included in “Inspired By Autism”.
Will There Be A Happy Ending?
Will there be a happy ending / when all of this is through?/ Or will I wish I’d given up / and found something else to do?
Will there be a happy ending?/ Will I laugh instead of cry?/ Turn lemons into lemonade / Can I make it if I try?
There springs the hope eternal / that things will turn out right. / Please don’t confuse me with the facts / ‘Cause then I’d lose the fight.
One day, I’ll say, “It’s worth it all / the troubles I have seen”. / Or do I have the wrong perspective?/ Am I allowed to dream?
Will I find the pot of gold? / Does the rainbow follow rain?/ Or will I open up my eyes to see / optimism was in vain?
I know that “happy ever after” / only comes in fairy tales./ But I can’t shake the feeling / that all will turn out well.
So you may think that I’m a fool / but I must stop pretending / I can’t accept the doom and gloom / I’ll have my happy ending.
Until next time; May the Love of God enfold you; May the Power of God protect you.