Gifts from my Dog

Sometimes the best gifts to us come from the most unlikely places. The unconditional love and care from a beloved pet can be a great gift.
Feeling sad and sentimental
 

We lost our lovely, sweet brown dog this week. Her time had come, and she has left us heartbroken but with eleven wonderful years of memories. She was a special dog who enchanted everyone she met. She had sweet gentle rescue dog eyes and a superpower of being a dog who knew how to hug.

Her death has left a giant hole in our little family group and lots of tears have been shed. We look for her around every corner and in familiar sunny spots in and around the house where with think she should be. We are all feeling her loss greatly and in our own way.

What I Miss Most

I miss her most at night time – particularly in the middle of the night. Across eleven years she has been with me through many of life’s triumphs, tears and tragedies. I envied the evenness of her life sometimes.

Continue reading “Gifts from my Dog”

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Cutting to the chase

Recently in my world I have had some difficult family matters to attend to. This required me to fly to my home town and speak with my family about a stressful and sad situation.  My older brother is very sick and we needed to discuss and plan for this as a family.

I elected to leave Lammy behind at home for the few days I’d be away for all the right reasons – well so I thought at the time.  Firstly there is that good parenting practice of not wanting to alarm him and make him anxious.  And I think that is the same decision that most parents would make. Continue reading “Cutting to the chase”

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The Journey….on the roller coaster

But this was only the first time I experienced grief on this journey. 

roller-coaster-wall-inkblue-sky

With acceptance comes some peace, but it doesn’t mean healed.  Acceptance is not healing.  For me there is no complete healing…like the Welcome to Holland poem says – the pain of that never, ever, ever, ever goes away.

So what are you accepting?  Accepting that this is your world, this is your child, that your child is perfect and not a mistake – maybe to a point where I can’t imagine him any other way but the way he is now.  Accepting that is our normal and I’ve accepted that.  Accepting that wallowing is pointless and achieves nothing.  Accepting that being proud is important.  I no longer stumble over saying my son has Autism.  I certainly don’t boast but I am comfortable, and consider it nothing to be ashamed of, and I have no expectations of (nor do I want) people pitying me or my child. Continue reading “The Journey….on the roller coaster”

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Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”

I desperately didn’t want to hear the words.  Please not the words Autism. I had done enough research by this stage to know that that’s not what I wanted the problem to be.   Not that I am saying any of these are easier, but at that time I was hoping his lack of language was partial deafness.  I hoped that perhaps there was just a blockage – a reason – a fixable reason.

And so the bargaining started.  It was usually as I was driving or as part of my night time worrying, my ‘lunar thinking’.  I could hear myself making deals out loud with God and the universe.  Sometimes they were silent pleads other times they were loud rages. Continue reading “Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.””

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Denial: This can’t be happening to me!

My Grief

So what has been my experience of grief? My journey is my experience.  It doesn’t set out to guide you or give you any instruction.  Maybe you’ll see some familiarity in some of the stories on the journey – maybe you won’t.

But what I think it does show is that grief generally occurs not really from a single event, but that it’s part of the journey as you take on this role as parent to an ASD child.  Your awareness changes, your feelings change, your triggers change as you go.

I knew it was coming.  I’m a smart girl – I had two eyes.  He may have been my only child, but I could see the difference.  My child looked the same as other children his age, he even hit the same physical developmental milestones as other kids like teething, eating, walking.  But I still knew that he wasn’t the same.  But denial can be very powerful – and it can seem very safe. Continue reading “Denial: This can’t be happening to me!”

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What about Grief?

Illustration of sad female face

‘Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. ‘

Losing the dreams, hopes and expectations you had for your child when you get an Autism diagnosis and the many, many other times along the journey you have to take means that grief is a constant passenger.

The intensity of the grief is different for everyone.  It can be huge, particularly at the beginning of the journey but even subtle losses can lead to grief.  I’ve learnt though that when you have grief in your life it’s not about healing your grief but managing it. Continue reading “What about Grief?”

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Welcome to Holland

"Welcome to Holland"  by Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”  Continue reading “Welcome to Holland”

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