I realized last night that I've done a disservice to the people who care about me. I'm a little whiny, lately. And grieving. And adjusting to something that I never thought would happen. I'm adjusting to the loss of one person, and all of the fallout that comes with it. But, let me assure you, I am not alone. I haven't been alone since the moment that I swallowed my pride enough to let people know I was hurting, and I'm so grateful.
I have lots and lots of very good people who have stood steadfastly and gone above and beyond in every step of this process. From going out of their way to give me company and safe places to escape, to opening their homes, to giving me a financial boost so that I could get on my feet, people have been there. Praying for me, sending me messages every day, building me up, mediating the custody discussions, people have been there. I may be lonely at times. I may miss that one person dreadfully, but I am absolutely not alone. And guys, I'm so, so, thankful and humbled and in a way this feels incredible because for a long time, I was alone. I was isolated. I felt like my value to others came from my then-husband and my kids. I'd pulled away spiritually, because I felt unworthy. But not anymore. I'm, in many ways, feeling more loved and more whole than I've felt in a very long time.
I could give a story for each person, and perhaps I should. Today, though, I want to just focus on one. This happened this week, and it woke me up in about one hundred different ways. My oldest son is on the autism spectrum and he is struggling. He is regressing quite a lot in the face of all of this change; I am seeing behaviors that I haven't seen in years. In the past, when he got lost inside his own head, I could always go in after him. That's how I viewed it. I would walk into the woods where he'd gotten lost, and would find him, and together we would find our way out. Sometimes it took longer than others, but I could always find him and, hand in hand, we could always navigate to a path. Usually our own path, because that's just us, but a path nonetheless. This time, it can't be me. He's mad at me. He understands, on some level that I couldn't stop this, but he's still so very angry. So, it's me that a part of him is fleeing and while I am working to change that, actively pursuing him could just push him farther into the dark.
I explained this to one of my friends the other day, and he said five words. Five words that rocked me to my core. Five words that left me gaping like some strange, fuzzy-haired fish and later would leave my crying in gratitude.
"So, what do we do?"
What do WE do.
Do you see it? This didn't have to be his problem. Just like my firefighter training didn't have to be a group effort, or getting my house in shape didn't have to be a multi-person undertaking. My custody woes or financial concerns didn't have to affect anyone else. But people are reaching out and willingly taking some of my load. My load is lighter than it has been in years. Scary, and terrifying, but lighter because people are standing next to me and caring. And carrying.
Autism at it's best is overwhelming and exhausting. Even with the good things because moderation isn't really my 'lil dude's strong point. Autism at it's worst is frustrating and heartbreaking and scary. There is no reason this man should dive into the middle of it, and part of me wants to shield him from it. But he did it. He dove. He chose to go where I can't right now.
We. It's a pretty wonderful thing, y'all. Thanks for being my "we."