There was this horrible letter going around the news pages the other day. A letter on purple paper telling the family of an autistic boy that they should euthanize him. I’m sure you’ve seen it or heard about it by now (click the link if not). I won’t post a picture here, I don’t need to see it again. But there was one line in that letter that made my blood run cold. Because it boldly states a fear I’ve had since the day my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age two:
“No employer is going to hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him, and you are not going to live forever!!”
God, how fucking scary. Because… what if it’s true? I will protect him and support him until my dying breath, but, odds are, I will die before him. And someday, my love won’t be enough, he’ll want a girl or a boy to love him. Will he find one?
Now, to clarify: my son is what many people call “mildly” autistic, or “high functioning”. Can you tell I hate those terms? But they are accurate descriptions of his “disability”. And I always make sure to put them out there, because I’ve known parents whose children were severely autistic, and I can’t come close to their daily pain. Not even close. My little guy is quirky, and certainly has his issues, but he passes for “normal” with most people.
But will his quirks and issues prevent him from functioning on his own in the world? Will he be able to drive a car, or manage his own home, or have a career? Will he constantly struggle? Will he find someone to love him?
I also saw this video, and although it’s about a guy with OCD, it still brought up the same fears:
The thing I saw in it that had me tearing up was that: he knows. He knows he’s not normal, and that’s why he’s losing her, and he can’t do anything to change that.
And what makes me particularly sensitive about this right now is that school resumes in a few days. And my sweetie boy is starting first grade, in a new school, in a “typical” classroom, riding on the “regular” bus. Up till now, he’s been a short-bus riding, special-ed classroom kid.
I am seriously freaking out.
And I asked him if he’s excited, and how he’s feeling about it, and he said “Well, actually, I’m a little nervous.” So I asked him why, and he said, “Because… what if nobody likes me?”
So of course I told him everyone will like him, he’s a great kid! And I smiled and kissed him and said he was going to have the best year ever and make lots of friends!
But inside, I was crying.