I have always spoke of patience being one of the necessary elements in dealing with Autism.
But what I have yet to touch base on is the patience of those outside of our immediate circle(s) in everyday life.
I am speaking of family...friends...strangers...people who have lent an ear, hand or kind word in times of need.
I live away from my biological family, whom as the years pass by is getting smaller and smaller.
The past 5 years of my life have been painful and emotional, but they have been full of life lessons and change.
Such is life, always changing...evolving...whether we are ready for it emotionally or not.
This is where other people can really make a difference.
At least, this is where they have for me in my journey.
After I lost my father I received support from my immediate group of friends.
Those who have been there always, my childhood peers.
Their love, support, and guidance through the fog of grief helped me get back on my feet again.
I am forever grateful.
After I went through my divorce and received the dreaded "diagnosis" of my son, well this is where my world opened up to a whole new world of people.
I have met some of the most courageous, kind, patient, and emotionally honest people through my journey with Autism.
I am continually inspired and humbled by their stories and acts of strength and integrity.
If you have ever found yourself feeling alone and overwhelmed you should search online through the hundreds of blogs written by people affected by Autism.
These are the stories and words that got me through many dark times...this is also why I started my own blog.
If only I could reach out to one person...just one.
Because sometimes those who are closest to us just don't have the words for us.
Sometimes they don't know what to say after a day filled with tantrums, screaming, biting, echolalia, paperwork....etc....etc...
Not because they don't love us, or want to take away some of the pain...but because unless you know Autism you can't understand it...and that's o.k. It's not any one's fault.
There are many types of families out there.
Many definitions of what a family is.
I have found common threads and experiences with complete strangers through them sharing their life journey, and they have brought me peace.
I have also found support and love through people who have been in my life for years, decades, that I never knew possible...
I have also seen my biological family evolve with me and Kannon through our experience with Autism.
Out of love...out of hope...out of the kindness of their hearts.
I know I am lucky to have them.
I know that if it weren't for Autism I may have never seen this side of them.
I also know that Autism brings out the best, and worst in all of us.
I feel lucky enough to be surrounded by people who choose the higher ground, at least most of the time...
Perfection is not in my vocabulary, never will be...
I am lucky to be among those who chose to walk a path unknown, yet one that continues to strengthen all of our spirits and perspectives.
I suppose Autism allowed me these gifts.
It allowed these wonderful people to come into my life.
And for that I will always be grateful...
People are what make us better, even if we only watch from the sidelines we can still learn.
We can learn from one another if we allow it.
We can also be weak enough to let people help us.
We are all just human.
We all are here to live this experience together...
To create new families and to strengthen our existing ones.
I have come so far in my life because of people.
Because of my family.
Whether they walk into my front door every day or never will, they are still family.
And this is why I have survived.
This is why I will continue to survive.