Guest Post from Mom

As I said in yesterday’s post, I am so happy that my mother follows my blog. She is new to WordPress and would have written a comment on yesterday’s post had she found the ‘comment’ button. I’m glad that she didn’t, because I want to present her commentary as a post in itself. Those who are regulars on my blog know that my older brother is autistic, very low functioning and nonverbal. Since Michael grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when little was known about autism, my mother didn’t have much information or help in caring for him. In fact, since it was the era of the ‘refrigerator mother’, she, along with many other parents, were blamed for the plight of their autistic children. Thankfully this is not the case any more.

I asked Mom if she would mind if I posted her e-mail to me. She said it was ok. I am not posting this as an ego boost for myself, although I am certainly happy that Mom is proud of how I processed my childhood with Michael. I want others to know that miracles do not always happen, and when they don’t, a parent has to do the best he or she can, find the best care for their child, and move on with life.

Thank you, Mom for your thoughts and for sharing.

Mom’s letter

Dear Jack

I don’t know how to respond right on your blog, hence the e-mail.  I am proud of the steps you are taking to keep yourself in contact with the traumatic life you have led with and about your brother.  I am sorry that I couldn’t protect you and Dave more, but on the other hand I am really delighted with the way you have dealt with it.  David is dealing with his past in his way, and you are dealing in your way.  One thing I have to tell you is that it is good that you are dealing with it. Another is that I regret that you have to deal with it.  But I guess that’s part of the past, and can’t be denied and shouldn’t be ignored.  I am certainly glad that I didn’t lay a guilt trip on you with respect to Mike. That was the last thing I wished to do, and it just isn’t my way to make others feel responsible through guilt. Nor, do I want you to feel responsible for Michael. I want you to be free to relate to him and his troubles any way you choose.

I hope that you are not so wrapped up with the past that you are spending all your time on it. It’s a part of you, but only a part. But being a thoughtful, insightful person as you are, I understand your need to get involved with this. As for myself, I’ve done all the involvement I want and am prepared to tuck it away for the most part.

I feel bad about Mike, and I grieve for the person he could have been. But spending time with a person who just grunts and smacks himself on the head is just useless, and non productive (for me), and I don’t have any trouble in dealing with it. I long ago accepted the fact that he is not a normal person; that I can’t do much for him; that I am responsible to keep in touch and make sure he is well cared for; … and that he is a lost cause. I saw your father spend endless hours with him, trying to get him to learn something, and he wouldn’t have done it any other way, but it was a sad burden on him and on both of us. He was not our only child, and we were happy that we had two other sons and hoped to enjoy them.

Anyhow, enough of letting the hair down

[other family stuff…]

Bye for now.

Mom

autism mom sibling

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