Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all
And sweetest is the gale is heard; and sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm...
~Emily Dickinson

Monday, November 26, 2012

Goodbye J.

How do you let go...
How can you take a step forward when sometimes all you want to do is stand still...sit down...bury your head and cry.
Cry out of frustration, love, and loss.

Everything in life has the potential to hurt you.
Nothing in life is predictable.
But that is what makes it painfully beautiful.
The hard lessons our hearts go through...

As of tomorrow Kannon no longer has a therapy team.
Due to internal strife and policy changes all of his therapists gave their 2 week notices 2 weeks ago...
This includes our angel, whom I will call J.
J is his main therapist.
The one who has held his team together over the past 4.5 years without fail...without her Kannon would not be where he is today.

J has been on Kannon's team since day 1.
She is his best friend...his comfort blanket...his true love in life besides family.
That's because now she is family.

So tomorrow we must say goodbye to J.
She is moving on to better opportunity, to a place where hopefully she will find happiness.

Such is life.
Sometimes you come across people who really give a damn.
Who truly make a difference in this world.
Smart, savvy, amazing souls.
They can't help but touch your life and make a difference in your little world...

Kannon has always found a way to feel the beauty in life.
He rarely is down or sad...a troubled heart is just something he does not have.

When I told Kannon that J was "leaving"...she won't be coming back to our house anymore to do work,  it stopped him in his tracks.
"Is J mad at me?"
"Kannon is good boy, not make J mad..."

He broke down.
He dropped his head as if it had no strength to hold itself up and cried.

He cried and cried.
He wiped his tears.
He wiped away mine.

"It's o.k momma... J will find love again..."
"It's gonna be o.k."
His heart yet again overcoming pain...overcoming the obvious and feeling through it all.
His strength and actions are inspiring.
Through his own pain and loss he still thought of J.
He wanted her to be happy...to find love again.

J came over on a day off to say goodbye.
To take a walk with Kannon, just the two of them.
She said she felt as if she needed his approval to move on...this is how much she loves Kannon.
It is so real. The love, respect, and admiration they both have for one another is beyond special.

On their walk he asked her to marry him.
He thought if he did she wouldn't leave.

He wanted forever.
I now realize why he has always loved princess movies...why he always chooses princess dolls and fairy tale movies over matchbox cars or nerf guns.

He believes in happily ever after...

If this doesn't prove souls talk to one another without words, then I don't know what would.
J was there from the beginning.
J helped Kannon learn language...learn his name...his colors...
J never gave up on Kannon, even when things seemed impossible.
J was Kannon's happily ever after.

Thank you J.
You have no idea how much you mean to our hearts.
You have made a permanent indentation on our lives.
You are wonderful.

Kannon's life, heart, and mind is better because of your hard work, love, and dedication to your craft.

Kannon may never propose again...
As his mother I never knew it was even possible for him to comprehend the concept.
But I love that he believes in an ever lasting love.
One that can be solidified with words.
Even though in the beginning words weren't there...

Love finds a way.

It always finds a way if it was meant to be, no matter what the relationship is...

We love you J.

Goodbye, and thank you.
To the moon and back, thank you...


Friday, November 16, 2012

every day you learn...

You learn the difference between what is important and what really doesn't matter.
I've learned how to find the peace in every situation without loosing myself...without getting caught up in it all.
Sometimes that means walking away or keeping my mouth shut...but I've learned.

I've watched Kannon play on the playground by himself, time after time after trying to play with other kids...
I've watched him be bullied, harassed, and laughed at...too many times.
As a mother it breaks my heart, it hurts.
I just walk away. I don't watch sometimes because it hurts too much.
I let him find his way in this confusing, sometimes cruel world.
I close my eyes when I see the pain all over his face when he knows he has just been treated badly by others...I close my eyes and wrap him up in my arms.
I just can't watch it sometimes.

I've learned to accept my journey for what it is while allowing others to experience their own.
Without judgement, without jealousy...but as a friend, a mother, a lover...
No matter what my role it never makes it easy to watch those you love in pain.
I can accept and deal with my own pain, but I am still learning how to deal with the pain of others.

So sometimes I close my eyes.
Sometimes I walk away...sometimes I walk closer and make my presence known.
I suppose it's trial and error...I don't always do the right thing.
But I learn and keep moving forward.

With every door that closes, another opens.
Everything happens for a reason.
Blind faith is the only option.
With every goodbye, you learn...and learn.

Constant reminders to keep my heart happy.
To keep it at peace.
To help me understand the entire journey, not just my own.
To help me be a better mother, friend, lover...

Because the bottom line is that without these people in my life I am not whole.
I am better because of my relationships in life.
Sometimes we forget how important other people are, or can be.

I have experienced too many people leaving my life to know better.
I never take it for granted anymore.
My emotions make my weak at times, but I know no other way.
I don't know how to not show my love for those who love me.

Maybe I should open my eyes more.
Stand my ground instead of walking away when the pain gets the best of me...

I don't know the right answer, but I am still learning.

With every goodbye in life, you learn.
With every relationship there are lessons...
With every moment there is opportunity.

I stood at Kannon's school yesterday and watched him play at recess.
He was by himself.
He was smiling, he stopped a few times to interact with other kids with no outcome...he moved on, happy.
Again, I stood there and could feel the sadness overcome me as I watched him.
All those feelings welling up...knowing how badly Kannon wanted friends, kids to play with.
And just as I was about to walk away out of not wanting to watch anymore, I saw Kannon stop and look down at his feet...
He picked up a handful of grass and threw it up in the air, he threw his arms out and smiled as the grass fell on his face...he laughed and jumped and did it again...then he just stood there with his head back in air feeling the sun shining on his face...

And to think I almost missed that moment.

I almost walked away not trusting he could handle it...


Monday, November 5, 2012

2Dimensional Love.

Every day Kannon is bombarded with stimuli.
Stimuli used by his therapists and teachers to evoke a response that will hopefully produce a correct response.
Usually it starts out in 2 Dimensional form...as simple as a drawing on a piece of paper.
Then sometimes it moves onto 3D, or used in the real world to see how he responds to the cue given to him.

Ahhhh, the beauty of fundamental ABA therapy.
Discrete Trial Teaching...basically breaking down a task into smaller, more teachable components.
The child is given a "cue" or discriminative stimuli - the child responds - a reward is given for a correct response.

A few years ago Kannon didn't understand the concept of love.
What it really meant.
What it felt like.
I think more than anything he wanted to, I think this desire is what drove him to dig deeper sometimes when he just wanted to stop...
Stop all the hours and hours of therapy...the demands being placed...the constant life work.
I would see him at night hugging his stuffed giraffe.
Holding it to his cheek and looking at it...almost like he was waiting for some sort of response, some sort of reciprocation...something called love.

What he didn't realize is that the whole time he was giving so much love...so much of him wanted to feel it back and understand what it all meant to his heart, and to his brain.
He was truly finding his way within the limitations of his brain.
Damn brain...it seems to never find its way to the heart...or is it vice versa?

As a parent to a child with Autism you learn very early on that you must let go of all pre conceived notions of mile stones, both physical and emotional. You must accept that your child may never reach any of them.
I believe one of the first things I accepted early on was that Kannon may never tell me he loved me...and if he did he may not really understand what it meant.
Would they just be words he muttered out of his training?
Would he be "programmed" to tell me these words before he went to bed since he heard me say them every night to him while he lay there sleeping?
I just didn't know.
I didn't want to set myself up for such heartache....I logically wanted to prepare myself so that I wouldn't feel the sting of it all.

As Kannon's mom I find myself constantly preparing myself for future heart break.
I don't let my heart get ahead of itself.
I don't allow myself to have faith in the process...
And logically why should I?
When you see your child fight so hard day after day just to say their name when asked, how the hell can you expect them to feel love or empathy.....how?

But here's the other side to that wall.
On the other side of it I still pray/prayed every night for Kannon.
I still talk to him while he sits in his bed staring at the ceiling muttering mindless words.
I open my arms to him every morning, hug him and tell him how proud I am to be his mom.
I talk, and talk to him when he sometimes has no response for me.
I still cry to him and tell him how scared I am...how I don't understand what is going on and how much I hope he someday will just look me in the eye and say "I love you."
And not just say it, but feel it...understand it.
It sounds so simple I know.
So simple in such a complex world...in the world of Autism.

It seems ironic looking at it, or thinking about it all now.
My faith in Kannon never stopped.
My faith in HOPE never failed my heart...or my brain...not once.
No matter how hard I trained myself to not feel pain, or disappointment, or fear, it didn't matter.
Even though I was getting through every day content, at peace with it all, my heart never gave up hope for more...for a bigger picture of why it is what I do every single day for Kannon.
To believe that love cannot be taught, nor should it be.
That love is something the heart breaks through to the brain...it fights for the honor of feeling love.

I get asked quite often how it is what I do every day...how I find the strength to carry through some very tough times...
I find moments that matter.
I allow myself to be brought to my knees in times of weakness...and I open my heart and arms and just be human...I just breathe.
I pray...I cry...I laugh at myself a lot...I talk to my son who may never have a meaningful conversation with me.

But here is what I remind myself of every single day...
Just because you don't hear a response doesn't mean they aren't listening...whoever "they" may be.

It doesn't mean your words or faith go away or have no meaning.
And never expect a response that you want...it's blind faith.
It is giving yourself to the situation and letting go of expectations.
It is truly a raw life learning experience.

Kannon's therapist drew a 2D stimuli for him a few months back to prompt a response from him when asked a simple question.

You know what he said when she asked him?


My heart hears you too Kannon.
It really does.
And apparently he was listening all these years...at least his heart was.