As a “perma-caregiver” keeping emotionally healthy is top of my list. Finding a balance in life that includes Hannah’s complete well-being and my own well being is a juggling act that I have yet to see a how to book on or at least a social media meme. During the years of medical inconsistencies and autism unpredictably my emotional wellness was not only not on the top of my list but far from any pen that would write a list.
Things have changed. I didn’t know that they would. Being a little tiny bit of a “Drama Queen” I regularly felt that “this is it”. That it would always be so difficult. But we worked onward anyway. We worked through autism difficulties, advocated for services, took her to appointments, nursed her back to health again and again celebrating every tiny bit of wellness and joy we saw from her.
I recently had two separate appointments to assist in the healing some of the trauma of Hannah’s growing up years. I had realized that I was a little hair triggered when thinking about the intensity of care giving for her had been. The appointments were from two separate people using a guided meditation technique. (See end of blog for information). During both of these visits I could visuals one thing. (Insert breath). That she is okay. That it is okay. That I am okay. Such a beautiful gift to be able to partake in this with such wonderful and trusting practitioners.
I wish that at age thirty I had (nearly) fifty year old me by my side. I wish that (nearly) fifty year old me could say to thirty year old me that it will be okay and to do what you know is right. I see thirty year old me at night on the white wicker rocking chair with its hunter green with dusty rose flowers (hey it was the late 1990’s) holding Hannah in the middle of the night, grief and worry stricken. I wish (nearly) fifty year old me could say to thirty year old me to grieve. Grieve that the typical life you yearned for Hannah was not the life for her and it was not the life for you. And that it was okay. That you will be stronger because of it and you will have insurmountable joys because of her life. And to know that she will be okay beyond you and she will always have love.
I did not know that Hannah would mature the way she has. I know it is the result of her ABA program and educational years. They were so difficult and sometimes it seemed like no progress was being made. I did not know that despite her disability that there would be a form of maturation. Of rising above being a child while staying a child in so many ways. I want to say anyone in the early or middle stages to keep going. Your. work. will. matter.
We now see Hannah (age appropriately) super annoyed with us as parents over trite issues and laughing it up with her respite workers. We see her wanting to stay up late – usually later than us. We see her yearn to be out and about. Her social life is so rich thanks to a city of people. We see her having crushes – celebrity and real life. We see tiny bits of independence with self help skills and abilities in general.
If only thirty year old me would have had a crystal ball to give a moment of respite for the heart …. But that’s not how it works. We will go onward and imagine what seventy year old me would come back to say.
(Guided meditation information in the Southern Manitoba area:
Chantelle Neufeld: https://www.facebook.com/mindfulregeneration
Tamara Franz: e-mail – email@example.com