Sunday, September 7, 2008

20 Minutes of the Unthinkable and Life-Learned Lesson for a Mom

One should never know how it feels to lose a child, even if it’s only for a few minutes, but your heart is worn on your sleeve when you are faced with the unfortunate and life altering opportunity of finding out.

I had once posted about the day that Meghan ran away from me and I had lost sight of her due to an obscuring partial fence, and I didn’t know which direction she ran off to. Well, I thought I knew, actually, but when I got to that location, she was nowhere to be found.

An enormous weight of dread and a flood of emotion crashed over me—this is the best way to describe the feeling. An overwhelming and surreal wave of “the unthinkable” came to light and I wished more than anything that I could actually go back and delete, delete, delete those last few written moments of my life and be where we were three minutes ago—safe.

This was my opportunity (ironic gift) to learn what I would be thinking at a time of realizing that my child was missing--and a child that I did not think could find her way back home, and that there were 9 ponds and plenty of woods in the area of which I lived. As I was running back home with an 8-year old autistic boy in tow, I thought about my lost little 7 year old, not only as a child who was profoundly autistic and who entailed challenges, but as my “girl” who I appreciated, truly appreciated and forgot that I did.

I thought about the enormous love that I had for her; about her huge, happy, photogenic smile; her sky-blue eyes and happy disposition that made her a photographers dream. And that this was my punishment for forgetting that she possessed qualities that so many could only wish for. I was being punished for actually allowing autism, and of the struggles that it entailed, to outweigh the promising qualities, skills and personality that she possessed—the girl underneath the autism.

I was thinking and praying (and I’m not the praying kind) that if I could get another chance that I would appreciate her more for the gifts that she brought into our life; and that I would love her more for the happy, strong minded and creative child that she was—and smart—I mean she found a way to outsmart and lose one sorry and bewildered mom.

How strange it was to use autism and appreciate in the same sentence—when do you see that or say that? But it proved to be very true at a moment of uncertainty. Actually, I was thinking more about "appreciated" and forgot all about "the autism" for those uncertain 20 minutes of wondering if I would ever get the chance to prove it.

1 comment:

Christina Shaver said...

Thanks. I needed that post.