Autism Speaks is promoting a walk in Little Rock on October 1st and our family is planning to participate in it. I sent a request for a package to help promote the event and one of the suggestions to help build our team was to send an e-mail to family, friends and even a message on FaceBook informing everybody about it.
As I finished writing the email to send to everyone I didn’t realize how hard it would be to hit the send button. Not because I am ashamed, but because I am terrified. I am terrified of the future, of how people will react, of how people might treat him after knowing his diagnosis. I am terrified people will walk away from us and I will feel even more alone than I already do. I am terrified of people judging him and even judging our parenting… I am completely terrified.
As I share the news with my peeps I know I am letting my guard down, and that I might get hurt, but at the same time it is the only way I can get help. How am I supposed to get support from friends and family if they don’t know what I am going through? As hard as it was, I forced myself to do it. I started by sending a message to some of my family members by telling them in a few words what was going on, and them invited them to know more by following the blog. I decided that I should go slow… And little by little I was able to send messages and e-mails to a few groups of friends.
I was surprised with some of the responses and lack thereof. Some people didn’t even acknowledge my message. I wasn’t expecting to get a response from everyone, but there are some people that really disappointed me! Sometimes silence can do more harm than good. I understand some people don’t know what to say, but a “I am here if you need me” or “I am praying for you” would do. Some friends on FB only sent me an emoticon, and that was enough, no words needed. Maybe they didn’t know what to say either, and yet they said something by their action. Then there were those friends that took the time to write a line of support or even a long e-mail, which were really comforting to read. I almost forgot the ones that not only showed support, but also asked questions about it. It was nice to know that some people really care and want to learn more about the subject so they can offer more help.
As I sent the messages I realized how difficult and bumpy this road will be and I am terrified I won’t have the strength and knowledge to help him go through it…
“I thought I would have to teach my child about the world. It turns out, I have to teach the world about my child.” (Unknown)