This is a tough one for me to write because I’m being completely honest here, and I really don’t want to come across as ungrateful. I know that we are extremely lucky that both of our children are happy and healthy. We are very blessed, I know that. But it’s hard to not think about the things that you and your child are potentially going to miss out on because of autism.
I have known deep down for a long time that Max has autism, but once he was finally diagnosed I began to really think about things. One thing that I hadn’t expected to feel was an overwhelming sense of sadness and grief.
I guess you take for granted that your child will get a normal start in life, and when they don’t get that start it’s hard to know how to deal with it. I mean, it isn’t something we can change, it is what it is but that doesn’t make it any easier.
At the moment Max is just a five year old kid. And for the most part he behaves like any other five year old kid. So it’s hard to know what the future will bring. What he will be like in his teens, his 20’s, 30’s? etc. But autism is something that he is going to have to live with for his entire life. Something that is going to have an effect on him all of his life, and ours.
My husband is one of those people that is very laid back and he doesn’t really think about anything until it’s right in front of him, and that’s what he’s been like with Max’s diagnosis. He 100% agreed with me about Max being on the autistic spectrum but he never really thought about the consequences of that and what it would mean for his future, until now.
But how can we grieve when we haven’t actually lost anyone?
I think the grief is over losing what you expected to have in your child. My husband said something a couple of weeks ago that really struck a cord with me. He said that Max might never do the things that he did when he was younger. Like go on a lads holiday, go out drinking with this friends, being into sport, all of the ‘normal’ things that we take for grated. And as trivial as these things might seem, they are part of growing up and we make memories from them, memories that we treasure forever.
For me I think about him having girlfriends, getting married and having children of his own. He might still do these things, I do hope he will, but it seems less likely now.
It’s strange all these emotions that you feel after an autism diagnosis, things that you never expected to feel. I was fully expecting the diagnosis so I thought I was prepared, but it seems I wasn’t at all. I guess this sense of grief is just a process we have to go through. And as with anything, it will get easier with time. At the end of the day, we still have our beautiful boy and for that we are grateful.
Thanks for reading.