Autism: Heart Full of Pain

07 Jan

Last night, the movie I watched on Netflix started out with a sad scene where the woman had to put her dog down. The tears started flowing, and kept coming, and wouldn’t stop. The movie ended some two hours later. I was still crying. I wrote in my journal, then read part of “These Happy, Golden Years” (one of the Little House books) and still the tears were there. I dried my face as my husband came into the bedroom, and started again once the lights were off. I cried myself to sleep. It was a hard night.

Tears. Thousands of tears, a heart full of pain – over a dog that maybe lasted 5 minutes of the movie. If a person had died that quickly, it may have shocked me, but it isn’t likely I would have cried. I have to feel connected to a person before I will cry over their death – and that happens with movies… sometimes – but never in the first few minutes.

I always cry over the death of animals. It doesn’t matter if I knew them, or not (of course, if I knew them, I relive it again and again – but even if I didn’t, still I cry.)

When I was about 18, my son’s birth dad and I brought home a trout minnow, and put it in his large aquarium. His name was Zebediah. We didn’t have him long – maybe a few days – when he jumped out of the tank, and died. I cried for hours. John laughed at me.

On the day I took my driver’s license test, I drove past a cat who had been hit by a car, and was dead on the road. I cried on the way down to the test, and though I passed, it was another 7 years before I would drive another vehicle. I hadn’t even hit the cat, but the thought of having that power for harm terrified me. I have been driving now for nearly 16 years (not including the 7 where I refused) and still I am afraid of that power. I hate driving.

Go to church, and someone tells me their pet died – I cry through the service. Pass a pick-up with a dead deer in the back – I cry. Someone accidentally rides their bike over a small frog on the road – I cry. Read a sad story online about an animal – I cry.

I swerve around caterpillars. Cry when children step on ants. Fall apart watching nature documentaries. And never, never, get over the death of my pets.

So I cried – not a surface, that was sad type of cry, but a deep felt heartbreak. I cried over that dog, being put to sleep, because it was old and sick. I cried for China – my son’s nearly 18 year old cat that we have had since she was 6 weeks old, and he was 2 (it is going to kill both of us when she goes.) I cried for Chiku – my cat that died nearly 4 years ago, a week before her 16th birthday. I got her a week before my son was born, and it broke my heart to lose her.

I cried for Gryffindor, Ditch, and Finn – none of them particularly old, but they will get there, and I will not be ready. I cried for Einstein, Smokey, Merlin, Thumper, Apostrophe… my rabbits that all died in the past few years.

Then after crying for all of the animals – how cruel it is that they must suffer – my thoughts turned to the future, and in my mind, experienced the loss of my husband, and mom, and grandmother, the moving away of my son… All that I have lost. All that I will lose… and I felt utterly alone.

And how can I then consider – when I live so constantly with the pain of all of those losses – do I seek to bring others into my life? Other dogs, other cats… more to lose.

So I looked to my future, and I was all alone, and it terrified me, and it broke my heart.

So who is it that says people with Autism or Aspergers cannot feel… cannot form attachments… cannot experience true empathy or love? I feel it deep within me, and I cannot let go.


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