Tag Archives: autism regret

Autism: Like Losing My Children All Over Again

The week my mom left was an especially difficult time for me. It is so hard for my mind to understand the abstract nature of this world – such that, “my mom is gone; will I see her again; and… are my memories of yesterday(s) real?”

Above the difficulty I was having with her departure, I also happened to be reading a book that led me to question my faith. It wasn’t so much in belief, but in “faith without works is dead.” So I was overflowing with guilt and shame, regret, and fear that since I seem to fail at everything. Does this then mean I won’t have ‘works’ to show my faith is alive, and therefore God will reject me?

That same week, I must have been triggered by something (perhaps the dream in which I was trying to bring my children home,) for I was emotionally re-living the loss of my (foster) children, and the attack I had experienced at that time much like it was occurring again in the present time. My pastor says that the emotional receptors of the brain don’t understand time. Therefore, when a memory is triggered from something that was emotional (and that time in my life was very much so) it feels as if we are experiencing it again. Therefore the saying “Time will heal,” is not accurate.


I tend to agree with him on that one, as it is certainly true for me. I frequently relive traumatic times in my life when memories are triggered, and it really hurts as badly now as it did then. I may not be living it every moment of every day as I did when it happened – but the pain is just as intense, and the hurt just as strong, as it was in those days.

And then I had another dream. And though the dream was extremely unlikely to be a subconscious reflection of reality; and though he has never given me any reason to believe this might be a possibility; and though I have not been suspicious, or jealous, or anything in our relationship – the dream still had a very strong impact on me.

In the dream, my husband was confessing to cheating on me continuously, and was mocking me for being upset, and for being too stupid to know he didn’t want our marriage to last.

It wasn’t even a very long dream, and when I woke up, while I still acknowledged such a thing to be extremely unlikely – emotionally I was aching, and responding to my husband as if it were true. I didn’t speak to him of this – it was a particularly ridiculous dream; yet perhaps if I had I would have been able to heal, and not fall apart in ways he couldn’t understand (not knowing where such things were coming from.)

It has been hard enough living with this idea that he doesn’t want me battling in my mind for several years – but to have this added to my mind: that he doesn’t want me because he has someone else (even if I know it to be untrue, and only the result of one nightmare) brought me to a certainty that he doesn’t love me, and doesn’t even want me around.

And while it was unfair to him, since it had nothing to do with his actions, and everything to do with my dream; I still responded to him as if it were truth – and it hurt. It really, really hurt. And he had no idea.

So he fed this belief he didn’t know I had, from a source fully outside of reality, by responding to my discussions about not being able to go to the lake since I had no solution for keeping my girls safe with (what appeared to me) indifference – and as if he really didn’t want me to go with him. And then he got my gloves wet, and I fell apart, and it was like…

It was like losing my children all over again.


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Autism: Choices Made Long Ago

This morning I woke up early with a nearly overwhelming urge to plan What if? Not what if I get this job, or win the lottery, or suddenly find myself pregnant, but more on the lines of: What if I could return twenty years in the past, indwell my twenty year old body, and live and make decisions based on who I am now, and what I now know?

If that were possible, what would I do differently? What would I do the same? Where would I live? (On ‘my little corner’ where I always find myself in my dreams?) Who would I live with? What job would I do?

If I didn’t move across the country, would I still have turned to church and found faith? If I hadn’t met my husband, what would his life be like now? (Probably much messier, much simpler, and easier for him, I imagine.) If I hadn’t tried to adopt “my” children, would someone else have succeeded in adopting them? Would they still be together now?


If I hadn’t moved away from home, would I have followed through on homeschooling my son? If we had remained close to our families, would my son be more social? Would he have friends who lived close enough to visit? Would he seem so alone?

If I didn’t have twenty years of failure behind me, would I still have sought my Autism diagnosis? Would I have brought my son in for his? Would we still have gotten it?

I am completely overwhelmed by the reality that my choices have such lasting consequences – and that if I choose wrong, working to fix it won’t remove all that was set in motion due to that choice.

I don’t know whether this is in spite of, or because of, my form of Autism, but I spend an unreasonable amount of time and energy considering things that are outside of the laws of the world I find myself in.

And though I know making plans for what I might have done is at best a waste of time, the pull is so strong that I will likely spend my day fixated on it anyway. Though I realize it will ultimately lead to me feeling trapped so far from home, for a while – a very little while – I will believe that “anything can happen,” and there I will find hope.


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Autism: For The World

There is a longing in my heart that my life will make a difference. Otherwise, what am I here for?

Perhaps there is not some great purpose in this world for my life. Many people pass through with few being touched by anything great. Yet the longing remains.

Could I live a life of mediocrity? Can I find peace and purpose in the little things? Does this longing mean that this life – my husband, my son, my pets, my house – isn’t enough for me?

I hope that is not how those closest to me feel – that they are not enough for me. This longing for more, for restoration, for new starts… does it take away from my love of what is right before me?

There is joy in the moments, which is often hidden in my fears and regrets, in my striving for wholeness, for completion. The quiet moments, which allow me to reflect. The sun shining through the window. The cat, who climbs on my lap, and purrs with such contention. Walks with my son. Time with my husband.

There are moments that are lost as I cringe from the crowd, and fall apart over the drop of water on the floor. When the world attacks me, and I cry for relief, release, something other – how then do I turn, and tell those close to me that they are enough.

Though I ache and weep for my lost children, I see the one who remained, and he is enough.

Scared, and hidden, and quiet, there is much I wished for him that he could not be – but he is enough. I would not trade him. I would not change him. He was given to me, and I am thankful, and he is enough.

Years ago, before my husband and I were married, he asked me – what if he couldn’t give me children. He knew my longing for them, and it was an honest question, and I replied with the most honest answer I could: “Even if I knew that we would never have children, I would still want to marry you.”

Twelve years have passed, and the truth of that statement has come to pass, and I have been tested – without children, is he enough?

He is my anchor, a constant, steady, kind, loyal safe harbour in a frightening chaotic world. Though I say it with pain, I would answer the same. Knowing all I know, I would still choose to marry him, and he is enough.

When my children were moved, when the adoption failed, when all of my dreams were torn from me… it is like my world became small. Closed in with this tiny family, who each moved in separate directions to deal with our pain.

And that smallness – it is hard to live with, it is hard to settle, it is hard to accept.

When I seek to find a way forward, for healing from my pain, for something… something… anything to fill that hole that was left the day my children were taken away, I hope… so deep within me I hope that never for one moment do I leave my husband or my son feeling like they are not enough.

For I wouldn’t trade them for the world.


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Autism: Fifteen Years

The news came at the end of the day. It was a good day, as far as days go for me. It wasn’t expected, though I’ve feared it for some time.

“She isn’t doing well,” the words told me. “She may not last the month.”

Fifteen years. That is what I have been thinking.

My husband asked, “are you thinking of flying out there?”

I wasn’t thinking of anything, I told him – but it is not what I meant. The words wouldn’t come.

Fifteen years. I could have had fifteen years more with her if I hadn’t been so stupid. I am supposed to go back now? At the end of all things?  How will that help her now?

I have no job. No money. She is so far away, and it’s my fault. And I hate myself for it.

I really do hate myself for that decision that took me away so long ago. And it is all good and fine (and even true) to say that I wouldn’t have met my husband… my lost children… all the experience that came from moving here – but I wouldn’t have known that. I wouldn’t have missed them from that end.

But here I am, fifteen years later, and my Grandma is dying. And it hurts! It hurts so bad I cannot express it. Not even so much because I can’t get there now – but more that I can’t get back to then.

I miss my Grandma. I miss my Mom, and my brother(s), and my aunts and uncles and cousins…

And what is true for her, is really true for all of them. I’ve lost fifteen years with them, and maybe forever more, and it breaks me, and it’s my fault!

And I want to bang my head against a wall, again and again… so stupid! How could I have been so stupid?

I ran. All those days ago, I ran, and I lost them all… But I ran, because I felt like a failure – and now on this end of it, it seems so much the same.

I can see a great big, red, letter F with a circle around it on my forehead, for all the world to know.

A failure for staying, a failure for running, a failure for not being able to get back… and I can’t go back. I know that.

If I could go back, I could fix it all, maybe, but I can’t go back, and so have to live with those decisions I made all those years ago, and now she may be dying – and what can I do?

I want those years back – all those years. Not because they were good – they weren’t – but because I need to do better. I want to do better. I have to do better – and not lose all those… I lost everything.

I am sure some good things came – my husband, my dog, my faith – of moving here, but that doesn’t take away what was lost, and what was lost comes to me tonight, and breaks me.

Fifteen years. I can’t even express it. I can only weep, alone in this room, knowing once more that what was lost is not coming back, and I am full of pain and regret over it.


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I Will Restore The Years

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25

This is the promise I rest on, when all seems dark and lost. When I am crying in my bed, afraid that I will not get through another day.

Everything is lost, I think in despair, there is nothing now to look forward to. And I am reminded of this passage.

But it is my fault. Though others have been involved, and some of my struggles, and many of my flashbacks are related to what others have done to me, I nevertheless claim responsibility to where I am today, and it hurts.

In these moments, reading Job doesn’t help. Job was a righteous man… okay, so Satan sought permission to try him, and Job struggled a lot, but it wasn’t his fault.

Sometimes I seek comfort in the story of Job. Not everyone who suffers does so because of something they have done, or failed to do. Sometimes we can’t understand why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes there is comfort to be found there… but not in these moments.

The story of Joseph, too. Okay, so he bragged a little – or a lot. Still, he didn’t deserve what happened to him. Sold into slavery by his brothers… put into prison for something he didn’t do. He had a hard life, and it was a long time before things started to look up for him. But it wasn’t his fault. At times, there is peace, patience, inspiration to be found in Joseph’s story… but not in these times.

Jacob lied. Moses killed. David took another man’s wife (and so many others) and put him in a place where he would be killed. All of these were used of God anyway, in spite of themselves. I hope I can be used, but I don’t really relate to these men. Not really. The suffered, were tried, and then were used for great things. There is hope there, but not comfort. Not now.

But this! These words. This passage: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.” That would be wonderful, Lord! I think, But it is my failure that brought me here.

And that little bit of hope that comes with this thought starts to fade.

Read more, God tells me. So I do.

I read about how the Jewish people turned away from God, and were full of sin. In response, God’s wrath is coming against them, and they are in real trouble. Surrounded by enemies, famine, pestilence… The end is near, and it is their fault.

Everything seems hopeless. There is no way out. They deserve this.

And God tells them to return to Him.

They look in the mirror and see themselves as they truly are, and are disgusted. Full of hate for themselves, and what they have done, and cry out to Him. I see myself here, in my worst moments, I am there, facing that same mirror, and hating all of me.

And He gives them this promise, as He has given to me: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.”

Which ones? I ask.

All of them, He tells me.

And there I find my comfort.


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