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Tag Archives: autism loss of pet

Ode To A Dog

I came across this poem in a book I have been reading (Vegan’s Daily Companion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau) and it really resonated with me. I thought I would share it, and hope this is allowed.

“Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog”

by Lord Byron

When some proud son of man returns to earth,

Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,

The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,

And storied urns record who rests below;

When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,

Not what he was, but what he should have been:

But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,

The first to welcome, foremost to defend,

Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,

Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,

Unhonour’d falls, unnoticed all his worth,

Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,

And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,

Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,

Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,

Degraded mass of animated dust!

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,

Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush

disgust, for shame.

Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,

Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn:

To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise,

I never knew but one, and here he lies.

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Autism: Morbid Humour

Most of the time I guess I would agree that I don’t have the best sense of humour. I don’t ‘get’ jokes; I hardly even like them. I am too anxious or depressed most of the time to be anything other than serious; the world scares and hurts me. Every once in a while however, I get this uncontrollable urge to laugh in what might not be the most appropriate of circumstance.

Like the other day when I went to get my license renewed.

“Are you an organ donor,” the person asked, “Would you like to sign up for that?”

“Yes,” I told her, and suddenly got flooded with many thoughts about this. Not so much that I wanted to die in an accident or anything, but if something happens to me, and my husband has me cremated (his family does that, mine doesn’t) at least parts of me might still be around for… Okay, I am not sure about cremation, though I did have my dog and my son’s cat… done.

I have buried so many of my pets – rabbits, guinea pigs, and a couple of cats – here in my yard. Not only did I feel I was running out of room, but… it kind of traps me to this property. It really is the only hesitation I have at thoughts of moving. Kind of morbid, really. Cremating makes it… easier, somehow – as anywhere we go, they could come too.

Not that I exactly believe they are tied to their bodies or their box or… the thing is, I really don’t know what happens to animals when they die. That lack of knowledge has been painful for me. The problem with cremation, though, is that DNA is destroyed, and… I think a lot about these things. I probably shouldn’t. I am sure it can’t be healthy. Still I do.

So if I was cremated, and I was an organ donor, parts of me might not be cremated – and therefore when the resurrection came, there might still be something to resurrect. So I signed.

Of course, while I was signing, that is what I was thinking of: “What if the resurrection comes and my ‘parts’ are made suddenly into a ‘new me’ standing outside of the person.” I pictured this and had to fight really hard not to start laughing hysterically in front of this complete stranger – who would not understand.

But as I was fighting laughter, it turned to sadness as I realized the tragedy of this – the person who had my ‘parts’ would probably need those parts to survive, and what would happen to them if they were suddenly removed?

I wonder if the worker perceived any of these struggles in my mind as I was signing the card, and thought there might be something not quite right with me. I kind of wonder if she might have been right with that perception.

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Autism: Please, Not Again!

So we did go camping. I had a lot of anxiety over this through the year as I couldn’t figure out a way (that I could afford) to keep ‘my girls’ safe during the trip – and to keep others safe from them. It isn’t that they are aggressive dogs, but they are defensive, and that often looks the same; for Clara especially.

Clara is my baby. She loves to cuddle. She loves to be held. She curls up in the crook of my arm like a newborn baby as I walk, or rock, or talk to her. She is tiny. She is cute. And maybe, people think, this is why she doesn’t behave well with ‘others’ around. Yet for as long as I have had her, I have never allowed her to jump at people, nip at people, behave in negative ways. She does get in trouble for such things – and she is smart enough to know what I mean; I can see it in her eyes. But she still does it, so I warn people away.

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Clara not wanting to leave ‘bed’ to visit while camping.  July 2017

Clara doesn’t like different. She doesn’t like new. It took me three weeks, and many liver treats to fully win her over. Thirteen months since we got her, my husband still hasn’t made it that far. He can give her treats. He can hold her leash while she is wearing it, maybe. He can be in the same room. He can even talk to her. But that is about as far as it goes. My son doesn’t even get that much. We are happy if she doesn’t bark at him when he comes up the stairs.

Clara is ‘my girl,’ and she has decided that as far as people are concerned, I am enough for her.

Maybe she wasn’t socialized well when she was young (she was nearly 3 years old when I got her, and came from a house with many other dogs.) Maybe something happened before I got her that frightened her (they did try to adopt her to another home before mine, but took her back after 10 days for she wouldn’t come out of the corner where she was hiding.)

Whatever the reason, she doesn’t allow people close to her.

“She might nip,” I tell them. (Please give her space.) So far she hasn’t hurt anyone. She has scared and surprised many when she suddenly lunged at them. I don’t know that she would hurt anyone – but I also am not convinced she wouldn’t. So… please stay away.

I love my girl. She is comforting, and caring, and loving, and absolutely the one I needed to help me through and past – even if I didn’t know that when she first came to me. But she is a one person dog – and (much like myself) it will take more than your confidence that you are ‘good with dogs’ to gain her trust. In fact, nice as you probably are, it is unlikely she will ever give that trust to you.

Molly is much more laid back. Much calmer. But it is rare that Clara will give the chance to get close to her. So Molly likely wouldn’t nip – but Clara would do it for her. Best to leave her alone, too. We are her ‘pack’ I suppose, and she would quite possibly give her life to defend us (all 6.5 lbs of her.)

But she is cute – and that cuteness is almost an overwhelming temptation for dog loving children who don’t understand that not all dogs can be won over by kindness.

Such was the case with my niece’s 4 year old daughter who was up camping the same time we were. We all warned her, but she had no fear. She knew that she wouldn’t hurt ‘anyone,’ and was convinced that she would be able to get Clara to see that. After all, she was able to sit and pet Molly while my husband held Clara’s leash out of reach.

Alas, such was not to be the case.

I was sitting on a camp chair. Clara was on the ground resting. Her leash was wrapped around the arm of the chair to shorten it (there were a lot of people up at the time) and I was holding the end, also wrapped around my hand. The girl came from behind us. We didn’t know she was coming until she was there – but Clara was aware. She barked, and jumped at her before I could pull her back.

Away the girl left, in tears and badly frightened.

I took my girls, and left too; I needed alone time. Perhaps they didn’t see the tears I cried that day, or feel the fear in my heart. Perhaps they didn’t know how badly triggered I was in that moment, or how afraid of what would be done to ‘my girl.’ Perhaps they thought I didn’t care… Or maybe they saw all of it. Maybe they knew what it reminded me of. Maybe they saw me then, too – for that happened only feet away that time so long ago – and yet not long at all.

I talked with her father later that day.

“Has Clara ever nipped you,” he asked me.

“Once when I first got her,” I answered, “but so far it has just been scary, and she hasn’t hurt anyone. I don’t know if…”

“She didn’t hurt her,” he said. “She was just scared.”

But had we been there with another person – the one who was there that other time – the one who… but I can’t talk about that now. Had she been there… had it been her child… it wouldn’t have mattered that Clara “just scared her,” she would have had my dog put down.

My children stolen. My ‘baby’ murdered. I don’t think I could bare it again. I don’t think I could live – no, not even live – through such pain again.

Not again.

 

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Autism: 365 Days

The day… I was aware of it. Of course I knew it was coming, only… I expected the sadness. I expected missing him. I expected that I would think of him a lot, and wish he was here, and wish he never died.

But he did die.

And as the one year anniversary of that date quickly came upon me, I did feel sad. I did think of him a lot. I did miss him. I always do.

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What surprised me was the panic. The irritation. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed and powerless in this life.

I don’t know why it surprised me. These emotions are nowhere near abnormal for me, but…

May of 2017 was a good month. A really good month. Better than any I have probably had. I had energy. I was (mostly) calm. I was content. I was happy.

As June 8 approached, I expected to cry a lot. Instead I shook. My mom is still here. I am thankful she is still here. But I haven’t been visiting well. It has been hard to talk. When I am so anxious, I retreat inside myself. Inside my head it is so loud, that I forget the sound doesn’t carry forward into ‘real’ life.

I have been so quiet, and I feel bad. “It is a hard day,” I explained to her (even before the day arrived.) She acknowledged the words, and we remained mostly in silence.

And then we reached the day before. I was washing the breakfast dishes, and she came in to talk to me. Her words were ‘off.’ She seemed ‘off.’ She sat down on the dining chair and I kept looking back.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Just dizzy,” she answered – but her words were slurred. Slow. Like she was answering from a dream. Not like her.

The panic grew, but I couldn’t figure out what to do.

So I asked again, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Just feeling really dizzy,” she answered. Still ‘off.’ Still ‘slow.’ Still not like her.

I finished the dishes, and left her there to deal with her dizziness. I shouldn’t have left her, and worried about leaving her – but I really had to go to the washroom, and couldn’t wait.

While I was in there, there was a huge crash, and my dog started barking excitedly. I thought maybe my mom had tried to get to her bedroom, and had knocked over the baby gate leaning on the wall in the hall. That happens often.

I got back to her as quick as I could, and found her on the kitchen floor, covered in spilled cappuccino. She was just starting to get up, and seemed highly disoriented. Our guess was that she had fainted – a mix of Gravol and Valerian she had taken during the night before seemed not a good mix for her. It was the first time she had taken the two together, and only the second time she had taken the Valerian at all.

Maybe that was it. She didn’t want to go to the hospital to be checked out. Instead she rested, and I worried for the day.

364 days. Three hundred sixty four days before, my Gryff also started falling over in the morning. I also looked at him in concern that morning. He fell, and I rushed him into the vet (well… I rushed, they left him waiting in the waiting room for his appointment, though they could see he was in obvious distress.)

He fell. I worried. He died anyway.

A year later, my mom fell. I worried…

Am I sad? Extremely. I absolutely did not want to lose my dog. Who does?

A year later, I was reminded once again how quickly everything could change – and that sadness grew to panic that has been with me ever since.

 

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Autism: My Sharp Cat

My son and I spent most of the morning, and part of the afternoon trying to cut Finn’s nails. They have to be done – but we have had no luck in convincing her of that.

I got Finn 5 years and 5 days ago. She was brought home to fill a hole left in my life after my 16 year old cat, Chiku, died. Finn was advertised `free to good home` on Craigslist. My husband and I went to pick her up at night, at the house with the wagon wheel out front. It wasn’t difficult to find.

She lived with a couple that seemed really nice. They had had her since she was a kitten, and at that point she was 5 or 6 years old. The couple was getting transferred out of town for work, and they bought into a strata with a huge book (52 pages, I think they said) of rules. They had already bought the place when they found that pets weren’t allowed, and so they had to give her up.

The couple lived in a nice home with nice leather furniture. Within that home, Finn (called Muffin at the time) was allowed to sit on one specific chair, and no other furniture. She had a large plush blanket with a picture of a horse on it, which she had claimed shortly after arriving in their home. The horse blanket came with her.

When we brought her home, Finn was understandably nervous. Upon getting her out of her crate, she ran down the hallway to one of our bedrooms, and hid inside. I brought her horse blanket, crate, food, water, and litter box into the room for her while she settled. It was a year before she came out of that room, which ever since has been known as `Finn’s Room.` An entire year!

Finn

During that year, my son and I would try to visit Finn in her room. For a while I had my computer in there, and Finn would tolerate me sitting at my computer, while she sat on `her` bed. If I got too close, or tried to pet her, she was really fast, and would lash out. She was kind of like a shark – sharp, dangerous, unpredictable… Siamese.

It took me by surprise the first several times she actually ventured out of that room. She decided it was time to come and visit, and would walk down the hallway to the kitchen to visit while we were in making or getting supper. It was not only surprising, but also quite scary, for she would still lash out if we got too close – though she would permit, and actually encourage, several seconds of petting.

Shortly after our second anniversary with her, she started to visit more, and even spent some time outside on our back deck that summer. She would weave between our legs while we were in the kitchen, purring all the while – but we still had to watch closely, or she would swat at or bite our feet if we were there a moment too long (or she got slightly too excited.)

By the third year she was coming out into the living room, and at three and a half years I brought `her` chair into the living room, where she relocated herself. I am glad that she moved with her chair, though it wasn’t quite expected – she had a bed in the room, and I was bringing the chair out to have more places for people to sit when they visited; but this way Finn spends way more time with us, and that has to be a good thing.

Five years later, I can quietly sit by Finn and pet her for a short time without her attacking me. She loves to get attention, and will loudly purr while I am playing with her, or petting her. I still have to watch very closely as in a moment she will go from purring to swatting – and she is very quick, and very sharp.

Only since I haven’t been able to get close to her enough to cut her nails (or even get her into a crate to take her to the vet) her nails are now very sharp. So sharp that she has been cutting herself scratching her belly, and her neck, and her eye… so somehow, I have to cut her nails.

I am guessing we will have to invest in full body armour to succeed at this task… hawking gloves perhaps?

My son and I spent most of our morning trying to cut her nails. I got one cut, and the very tip of another. Obviously we weren’t too successful. I wish I could make her understand that we are trying to do this to protect her from herself – but that might take another 5 years.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Experiences of an Autistic

 

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Autism: If I Were Well

It had been a really rough week. Hard to believe two weeks had past since we lost my son’s nearly nineteen year old cat. The pain was raw, and everything bothered me. I get like that when things hurt; my already sensitive nerves are overwhelmed by every little thing.

I spent the day before steaming with anger and frustration over things that I was unable to express. Communication is hard at the best of times – and this was not the best of times. It isn’t that such things only bother me when things are hard, but that the irritation I am able to suppress and redirect when I am well (knowing that I am very sensitive about such things, so it really isn’t the fault of other people) wants to come out in an explosion when my functioning is low.

The struggle didn’t get shared, however. I am getting better at holding it in until I can find some way to solve it, or express it better. Since my ability to express myself still isn’t close to the level where others can accept what I am saying (or even understand my point) I often find myself holding so much in that I am at the edge of being overwhelmed nearly all the time. The tiniest things can throw me over… even then I rarely explode, but do spend a lot of time alone and in tears as a result.

Though the plans had already been made, I still woke up that morning full of frustration over the things that had bothered me the day before – again, more because I couldn’t figure out a way to solve or communicate the issue than that it was actually the fault of another that I was feeling that way.

The plans had been made with my son, however, and were really important to him. We were to go downtown for a few necessary supplies, and then head out to the local SPCA with the hopes of adopting a cat.

I guess he learned that from me, and I in turn learned it from the loss of my Chiku. I got Chiku a week before my son was born, and she died a week before she turned 16. In the part of my life that I remembered, I had her longer than anyone at that point, and the loss hit me hard. They always do. I was determined that I would not get another cat as the pain was too much. That is the year I ended up adding three new cats to my home!

Then when I lost Gryff last summer, I knew I needed another dog. The pain was intense, and I could hardly even get up when Clara was given to me 15 days later. It hurt, but I knew she was necessary. So when my son lost China, the first week the pain was too much, but he knew that he would need another cat. He learned that from me.

I didn’t think it would be so hard to find a cat at the SPCA (there were 5 he was very interested in from the ages of 2years to 13years old – all were gone before we could even think about getting there) and I didn’t think it would be so easy to adopt a cat from the SPCA.

On the Friday afternoon, six kittens had been posted on their site, and three were gone right away. The three left were brothers, and all three had the personality my son was looking for – so we got there on Saturday half an hour before they opened, and waited in the car.

My husband came with us for all of this, and though in my mind he spent most of his time in the background, the very fact that he was there helped to calm me. He does that – especially when I am out.

In the main room were four kittens, two of them already spoken for. They were really cute – 10 weeks old, and very energetic and curious. My son and I spent quite a while playing with them before asking to see the other kittens we had come for.

We were taken to another room where we were greeted with meows from a small orange kitten. The two orange ones were also spoken for. My son walked over to a cage that was open, and a black and white kitten came straight to him. “He is usually very shy,” the worker said, “this is very unusual.” My son and that kitten spent the rest of our visit together, while I played with his brother, and pet some older cats in the room.

Obviously he is the one we decided to bring home – a six month old tuxedo named “Rocky Road.” (My son changed the name to Nicholas.)

And you know? Despite the pain, and the grief, and the frustration, and all the negative emotions and struggles I was feeling leading up to that moment, I really enjoyed spending that hour at the SPCA playing with those cats. And I thought, “I would love to volunteer here… if I were well.”

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Autism: Inappropriate Response

My husband brought home China’s ashes last Friday. He handed me a paper bag, like a gift bag. “What is this?” I asked him. “China’s ashes,” he replied – but he let my dogs out when he came in and I had to go out and get them (they don’t go out alone.)

I carried the bag down the stairs, and was suddenly overcome with a desire to laugh. “What is wrong with me?” I asked myself as I stood outside of my son’s living room door holding a bag, containing a box, holding what was left of my son’s best friend – and trying to suppress a smile.

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Finally under control, I walked through the door and handed him the bag. He took out the box, and I took out the envelope, and read the “Certificate of Private Cremation.” “I never got this with Gryff,” I said – even though he had been privately cremated, too.

As I looked at the box, it suddenly became real that she was gone… in a box, a tiny box, and as with Gryff it didn’t make sense that one who filled so much of our lives could just be gone; all we are left with is a tiny box.

It didn’t make sense, but it did make it real – and that inappropriate urge to laugh was drowned in a downpour of pain. And the pain was overwhelming, but it would not come out – so I searched for a sad movie to watch, and I watched sad music videos on YouTube, and I cried: for I loved China for so long. I loved her so much, and I never wanted her to go – and that first week where I cried some, but laughed too much, has not made sense. China is gone – and it should hurt.

For the entire weekend between that moment and now, I have been in pain. It is right that it hurts. It all hurt this weekend – the loss of China, and Gryff, and my grandma, and my grandpa, and my cousin, and… the list grows, and the pain builds, and it should be that way. It should be. For this pain is the cost of loving them so very much – and I would pay it again to love like that again (but please, don’t let it be soon.)

 

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Autism: Death, Time, Loss

China died last night.

The news doesn’t seem real. For nearly nineteen years she has been in our home. My son had just turned two – a small, blond, curly haired boy full of energy, and full of love for this small kitten who (out of fourteen kittens born to three cats on the farm) claimed him as her own, and decided she would be coming home with us.

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Now a very tall, bald-headed man (whose hair turned to dark brown sometime around the age of 3.5 years) who has little energy – and still a lot of love for this shrunken, blind, deaf cat who had stayed loyally by his side for nearly nineteen years had to come to me in tears to say the words, “China died last night,” and he broke down sobbing.

My son was with her in the end, and had to deal with her alone as we were in bed, and didn’t know. It is fitting that he was with her when she died, for in life they were hardly ever apart.

It breaks my heart to think of her without him now, and I pray that is not the case. I hope that she is there with him still, though he cannot see her. (Oh how I wish we could see them still, though their bodies are gone; how I wish we knew where they went.) I pray she is young once more, and free of pain, and right by his side – as she has always been.

China died last night; nearly 5 years to the day from when I lost my Chiku – and just over 7 months from the loss of my dog, Gryff. When will the pain end?

I fill my moments with small, unimportant tasks, and push the grief away. I can do that for a while, because for years she spent nearly all of her time downstairs with my son, and the loss isn’t so noticeable up here. When I go down to see him, though, her absence is heavily felt. The very air seems to cry that she is gone; even as I still see her in the places she has recently been.

I go to comfort my son and end up in tears myself. I am not sure he feels better when I go down; then again, I am not sure he wants to. Perhaps he is thankful to know that he is not alone in his pain. Yet, he is alone, for she was his. For nearly nineteen years I loved her, and the pain of this loss is great – but not as great as his, for she was his.

And maybe that is true of all of us who mourn – though surrounded by a crowd of people hurting from the loss, the pain is still our own, and we are alone in it. I don’t have words of comfort for my son – all I can share with him is my own grief, and my own lack of answers.

Were it up to her, she would be right there with him still – now and forever; and maybe she still is. I pray that she still is – and so much happier without a failing old body in the way. I wish we could see her still. I wish we could see all of them.

As I stop with the movies, and the games, and the distractions of the day, my tears flow. But how is it even those things can distract me? One would think for all of these losses, the tears would go on forever – and sometimes they seem to. So how is it I laughed today?

This world, this life… it is so wrong. I wonder how we carry on at all.

I used to long, so full of regret, to return to the beginning and try again. The more I lose, however, the more I long for the end – for the possibility that when I arrive, I will see them there waiting for me. And the pain will be no more.

 

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Autism: Welcoming Foxy Home

Despite the fact that this would be happening just after I got home from church, I felt I did really well in the service that day. I paid attention, and was moved by the words, and was able to focus and think of other things as well. The transition, I anticipated, would be challenging. Hopefully by Christmas, things would be more settled, I hoped. Even so the anxiety wasn’t so bad; not as bad as the Friday before when she was supposed to come, that is.

He brought her in the house, and talked with my husband, who is much better with people than I am – though I did say some things. “My girl,” Clara didn’t even bark, and I was so pleased that she remembered them. He was pleased, too.

He sat in a chair (Finn’s chair, but I don’t think he minds fur much as they have so many dogs, and Finn wasn’t in it at the time) holding Foxy in his arms. The plan was to get a harness and leash on her so that she wouldn’t run and hide in her new home. Only he didn’t know how to use the harness, so I was trying to put it on her while she was in his arms.

The thing was, though, that I had it set to fit Clara, and Foxy was quite a bit bigger (despite being the same breed, and Clara’s mother above that.) Adjusting it while she was in his arms was really awkward for me – after all, I had only met him for a few moments before this when he dropped Clara off with me nearly six months ago. So I picked her up, and carried her to my seat, and put the harness and leash on there.

I thought she would be nervous, and would want to run and hide, but she just sat there happily letting me pet her. He was pleased with that as well. He picked up Clara and visited with her while talking with my husband – and I held Foxy, petting and talking to her the entire time. When he went to leave, I picked up my new girl and held her while I said, “goodbye, and thank you.”

I then sat with her again, and my Clara came to sit with us, too.

Things only got better after that.

She allowed me to carry her for her “walk” not two hours after she arrived. She sat beside me when I sat down, came to me when I called her, was “best friends” with my Clara (who hasn’t taken to any other dog in the six months I have had her -which is the reason we agreed to adopt Foxy in the first place) and even slept on my pillow the first night, giving me “kisses” every time I moved.

I took off her harness and leash; she didn’t need them.

By the next morning I could take her out into our yard without being tethered to me. If she wasn’t beside me, she was right next to Clara. Watching them has been amazing; they have the same ways of communicating – right down to the exact eye movements to express the same desires. When they look out the window, their heads turn at the same moments, like they have been synchronized.

In less than 24 hours, she was as well adjusted as if she had been here for months.

I love how every time I move in my house, I hear the sound of 8 feet pattering along behind me. I love how whenever I sit down, I have two warm bodies climbing onto my lap, and falling asleep with their heads resting on each other. I love how when I wake up in the morning, I have two wriggly, squiggly bodies excitedly greeting me, and choosing from a pile of small stuffies which would be the best to bring to me as gifts.

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I love “my girls” and my heart is overflowing with a joy I didn’t ever expect to experience again – tinged of course with a pain that brings me to tears at my happiest moments with them for the loss that brought them here. Yet that very pain makes the joy all the sweeter, for I know how much it has to overcome to reach me.

 

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Autism: Overwhelming Empathy

Last night, I got three hours of sleep. It wasn’t even all together, either, and I am really feeling it today. The thing is that I have been so nauseous lately that I end up eating all the wrong foods just so I can eat something. Yesterday that included English muffins with peanut butter. I know that wheat gives me insomnia, but that is my ‘go to’ food when I am nauseous (which has happened more often than not throughout my life) and I didn’t know what else to eat. If I didn’t eat, it would have just made things worse. It is pretty bad when one of the main activities for staying alive makes it so hard for me to live.

Anyway, as a result, I am hardly accomplishing anything today: A couple of loads of laundry, my lessons, and hopefully this blog.

I picked up a ‘new’ book to read last night, and for the fifteenth time in as many years read the chapter that hurts every single time I read it. About one hundred and forty years ago, someone’s dog died. The tears began before I even read the words – after all, I have read this book fifteen times: I knew it was coming. It wasn’t just a few tears, either, but such a deep heartache that I felt in every fiber of my being.

The dog died. That is just so wrong.

It doesn’t matter that he was old, or that he had walked so very far, or that he survived several books earlier when they thought he had been lost. I mean, yes, I was thankful he survived back then. I was thankful to read that he had lived many years after… the thing is, it is never enough.

This wasn’t my dog. She wrote well, and I felt that I knew him, but it wasn’t my loss. Still it hurt. It hurt a lot!

The tears started, and grew, and grew, and pretty soon I was near hyperventilating.

Her dog died, and she knew that she was grown up, because now she had to move forward alone. I cried for her being alone. I cried for the dog who was buried by the path he loved so much, but who would not be moving along with them. I cried for them, despite the fact that they lived so very long ago.

I cried for my dog, who died suddenly four and a half months ago. I cried for the dog that I read about in the news, who died in a house fire beside a young boy, who also died in the fire. I cried for the boy. I cried for the dogs in shelters, and the ones abandoned or abused. I cried for all my dogs who have died, and for my cats, too. I cried for my dog who is alive, but won’t always be.

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I cried for all the losses I have experienced, and I cried for all the pain that is in the world. I cried for hungry people, and broken children, and broken adults, and all who are lost and will never find their way home.

I cried for about two hours, and then I washed my face, and said goodnight to my husband. As he fell asleep, I started crying again – for the pain of nearly one hundred and forty years ago is just as real, and felt just as strongly today. And I feel the pain of the world, and I feel it so deeply that I can hardly move on.

So you see why I have to block it out? You see why I might struggle to respond well to the pain of another? It isn’t that I don’t feel, but that I feel so much, and so deeply, that I become overwhelmed.

 

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