Monday, September 22, 2014
We may not remember at what exact point in our lives we realized it, but I bet you have all thought about it.
What will happen when I die? Where will I go? Will I cease to exist?
Many have religious beliefs that help with these questions, but whether you do or not doesn't really matter, because despite the answers, we still have these questions:
Will it hurt? When will it happen? Will it catch me off guard?
These questions can be more plaguing, and most will try to live their lives cautiously to avoid an untimely death. But it's mostly out of our control. Most of us don't get to decide the logistics.
I remember the moment when I really began to fear death.
It was shortly after my first child was born.
Like being slapped in the face, I was hit with the thought of what would happen to my child if I were not around to take care of him. Panic instantly set in as I went over lists of names in my head of family and friends who could possibly take on this responsibility.
Are they already good parents?
Do they have the ability to care for a child?
Do they have the monetary means?
Would they be willing to take on the responsibility?
If you've had this experience, I'd many of you have easy answers to those questions. You know good, kind-heart-ed, competent, willing family members who would be fighting over the opportunity to step up in such a tragic circumstance.
Some don't have such easy answers.
Maybe you don't have much family. Maybe the family is willing but ill equipped. Maybe the ones closest to you have struggles of their own. Maybe they would want to, but couldn't.
No matter what the answer...easy or hard, it is something that really eats away at us as parents. Just the thought of leaving our children like that in this world is enough to shed tears, but to find a suitable substitute in some cases may be near impossible.
Will they love the child as you do? Will they have patience? Will they teach them all the tools they need to live a successful life? Will they be kind?
What if your child has a disability?
What if every ounce of effort it takes to raise that child on a daily basis is that times 10 of a typical child? What if your patience level needs to be a thousand times? Who is going to have that quality needed for your child?
When you see how the world looks and interacts or ignores your child, so you have to be the advocate every waking moment...who is going to fill your shoes?
This goes beyond being just a “parent”, although I believe parenting is the most important job a person in this world could have. This is a super-parent: an up-all-night-calm-all-day kind of super being!
Will the person have what it takes to continue to love this child when no one else does?
All we have to do is look at the news to see how autistic individuals are treated.
This is the fate of many individuals who HAVE doting caregivers and loving homes.
Where will my child be if no one steps up to the challenge?
Then there is the money. Who has the disposable income for life-long care?
And if you are biomed or homeopathic? Forget about it! Who is going to pay out of pocket when you can get prescriptions practically for free?
Will the person caring for my child care about their special diet? Will they understand how important a gluten free casein free diet is? Will they jump through hoops to have similar alternatives at all extracurricular functions? Will they cave to the peer pressure because they don't really understand why they can't eat those foods? Will they buckle after seeing the grocery bill for one week and switch to Ramen and Fruit Loops?
And what can we do about it? We will be helpless from wherever it is you believe we go after life on earth is done.
Will that person understand their needs?
Maybe if my child had super-human quality or trait to impress them. An impressive singer or dancer or pianist. Or an impeccable memory. Impressive artistic abilities. The world loves those kids.
But what about the biters, pinchers, scratchers and screamers? What if they can't tell you what they want...what is hurting...what they need?
Will they clean up the poop smears on the walls day after day and still cuddle them at night when they want to be loved?
Will they change their diapers when they are adults?
Will they cry out helplessly with every seizure and pray for it to end?
Children and adults with disabilities need a kind of self less love that is unfortunately diminishing in the world as we know it.
It is heart-breaking and horrific to think of any child losing a parent and not finding a loving home to thrive in.
It is down right all consuming and terrifying to leave an autistic child in this world without the ones who understand them and depend on them the most.
When we are doing all this worrying, we are visualizing the 'what-if's'.
Well, 'what-if' you were an autism mom, diagnosed with cancer.
Please, if you can, give anything at all to help this mother diagnosed with cancer have more time with her son.