I know I should be writing about a book today but I had to write about this instead. It has been one rollercoaster of an afternoon and evening… and I’m wiped!
I’m going to begin with the ending and then go back to the beginning. It will make sense, I promise.
My son, who is an adult with special needs, thought he was having a heart attack today. He wasn’t, as it turned out. (Thank God!!) It was a trigger from another of his disorders that mimicked a heart attack. While he was having an EKG and other tests, I was sitting in my chair thousands of miles away – for three hours. When word finally came that he was going to be okay, I nearly barfed and cried at the same time. So, that’s why it’s been a rollercoaster.
But before all that… on my way home from work…
I stopped at the grocery store to buy a favorite of mine – Swiss Chalet frozen Chicken Pot Pie – and they were all out. Ah, but they had beef, so I thought I’d try that one. If you like pot pies, it’s the only one (next to homemade) worth it’s weight in … well, weight. Not that I need extra-that!
My husband is at a meeting tonight so it’s usually my night to get a hot, sudsy bath, jammies, a *just for me* dinner that he doesn’t appreciate (like, for example… can you guess? Yes, as discussed above, pot pies. Hates them! The only thing he hates more? Tuna casserole. But that’s a very, very rare treat as it makes the entire house smell like sweat socks for at least three hours!)… and, what else? Oh yes, cocoa and then I sit around watching YouTube videos, write or read. The sky’s the limit!! No plans!! Except tonight. Tonight I had plans. The best laid plans…
Which tells you where this is going, eh? Remember, you already know the end of the story!
So, I was at the grocery store, just about to get in line, when my son called. Normally, I wouldn’t answer the phone in that situation but you may remember that he has attempted suicide. There’s a little trigger-y thing for me there and I suspect it will follow me for the rest of my life. Whenever possible, I pick up the phone when I know it’s him.
I quickly told him that I was at the store and would be home in about fifteen minutes… would it be okay if I called him back? Yes, he said, it would.
We signed off and I said, as I do every time we speak, “I love you.” He said, as he does every time, “Ditto”. (And yes, like from the movie Ghost, because as a person with autism, he is very uncomfortable with mush.)
We hung up and the checker said, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be nosy, but can I ask who you were talking to?”
I said, “My son.”
She said, “I don’t usually say things like this, but you have love exuding from you. I can feel it.”
We talked about my son a bit and it came out that he’s an adult with special needs in the States with his sister and I’m in Canada.
She said, “You obviously love him very much.”
“Oh, I do!” I said.
And then, she looked into my eyes, right there while my debit card was in the machine, and she said, “That must be very hard for you, being so far away.”
“It is,” I said. And I felt a little swept-off-my-feet. “Thank you for saying so.”
As I left the store, I thought about the love for my son, and how it rubs off on those nearby… and how it felt to get the acknowledgment that it’s hard for me being so far away.
You know how when someone close to you dies and people around you are afraid to say anything about them? That’s how it’s been with my children living in the States while I’ve been here in Canada.
(I’ll be honest, their fears are warranted, since I’ve fallen to bits a few times… but… it’s hard.)
From the very beginning, I knew it was a sacrifice we ALL were making, including their father. Our girls were college-aged but our son was still in high school for two more years. It was in his best interest to stay with his dad and get the special schooling and therapies I’d set up, etc. I’ve said before that we all went to therapy and did everything we could to facilitate a smooth transition. It wasn’t easy… and in fact, at times it was downright icky. But we did it and are doing it, every single day.
But sometimes, it’s just nice for someone – even a stranger – to say, I see you, mama. It must be hard.
And today, looking back over the last few hours, it seems even more important that my son know that I love him and that the love spreads across the miles. I hope you feel it, too!