Adults with ASD and Death: Mourning and Mornings Aren’t Easy

MBHM with mother, Beth, in 2003

My Brain Hates Me with her mother, Beth, in 2003

Growing up on the spectrum but being undiagnosed was difficult enough. I’ve experienced a lot of deaths along the way in the up-close, gut-wrenching way that some people do. Death is a part of life, but I’ve never known how to grieve. Whether this is an ASD characteristic, a failing on my parent’s part (which is doubtful because society is really uncomfortable with death as a natural process), or merely something that we as humans have lost the ability to do is unknown.

A friend of mine lost her mother in a way that is heartbreakingly similar to the way that I lost my own. The difference is that my mother claims to have been ready and her mother still had some fight in her. Sometimes fight isn’t enough to tip the scales and God, or science, or what or whomever, does what they are going to do. It’s tragic and I am incredibly sorry for her family.

Of course, those feelings about my mother in her final months are flooding in, and the feeling of fresh grief is flooding in, and it’s taking a long time for me to process all of it. I feel a bit frozen by it. Overwhelmed.

Autism in Adults is Still Talked About More By Adults with Autism than by Professionals

This morning, I took to the internet (as I do) to find some articles on adults with ASD and how they grieve. It came as no surprise that most of the information was written about how to handle children with ASD who are dealing with a death in the family and that the rest of the information were scattered personal accounts. Even Psychology Today has a personal account, albeit from one of the most respected autistic people in the nation, Lynne Soraya.

The trend that I see among personal accounts, and that I have felt during situations in which I have had to handle my own grief, is fear of doing it wrong. As an adult with autism, I understand that there are rules and social graces and expectations, but I don’t always know what they are or why they are, so I’m not always certain when it’s okay to break them. My husband is good at telling me when I don’t need to worry about other people and when I do. My mother’s funeral was a good example of when he told me I shouldn’t have to worry about other people.

Adults with Autism Feel Like They Are Doing It Wrong

His mother’s funeral was an example of when I did have to worry about other people and how I acted. My grandparents’ funerals were the same. I had to be on my best behaviour because those deaths weren’t about me. They were about other people losing friends and parents. But it’s very confusing.

I know how funerals are supposed to happen in my family. You have a wake, you have food, you dress up and Southern women tell inappropriate jokes while sipping sherry and eating little ham biscuits, then you have the funeral. Occasionally, I sing something. You don’t cry unless you are also telling a funny story about the deceased. There are always funny stories about the deceased. Always.

Growing up, I never saw adults cry at the funerals I attended. I saw people be quiet. I saw them look sad. Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough because I was so distracted by everything else that was going on. There were pretty dresses and suits. Lovely grass. I got to dress up.

I don’t remember if my mother cried at the funeral for my twin brothers.

So when my mother died and I cried at her grave side and I couldn’t stop crying… I felt like I was doing something wrong. When people came over to my house after for wine and little sandwiches, it had to be perfect because that’s what you do. You give people wine and little sandwiches. I was so worried about doing it right so that everyone thought that I was good at funerals and grieving properly.

That’s all that I thought grief was.

When everyone left the house, I thought that I would feel better. I thought that I wouldn’t feel sad anymore.

But I, and all of my grief, were still there the next morning when I woke up. I had no model for that. Because I grew up in a family that suppressed emotions and went on about their business, I didn’t see people being sad. I didn’t connect my mother’s drinking with sadness. I didn’t understand any of it at all.

Without those models, I had nothing TO model. I had thrown the perfect funeral… and then I didn’t know how to grieve for my own mother.

Society’s Tendency to Sugar Coat Death is a Detriment for Adults & Children with ASD

In December of 2013, about 4 months after my mother’s death, I wrote something about not understanding what was happening to me. I didn’t understand why I would suddenly cry over nothing or just stand in my kitchen for half an hour. I turned to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for that. I wrote a blog called, “Buffy Terms” because that’s how I started to explain grief to myself.

Weirdly enough, on this, the day after my friend’s mother’s death, I am having a “Buffy” marathon at my house with two other friends. We plan to watch “The Body,” which is the episode in which Buffy’s mother dies. Buffy’s mom dies. My mom died. My friend’s mom died. People just die.

Whether you have ASD or not. I don’t think any of us really know how to handle that well. But I think that there needs to be more literature out there for people who are adults on the spectrum, because we don’t know what to do and we feel like we’re getting grief wrong.

There is no way to get grief wrong.

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Suicidal Thoughts aren’t About Death

I’ve had some stress over the past few days that has triggered my very familiar cycle of suicidal thoughts. In my last post I discussed negative self talk, and this ties in with my suicidal cycle.

Let me first say that I am not going to kill myself.

When I have episodes such as these, I work through them by determining why I’m having the episode and going from there. I know what the stressor is. Now I’m going through the steps of determining how this particular stressor triggered this particular set of thoughts. Let’s start with the thoughts that I have:

  • I am horrible partner because I am not healthy and I am often grumpy. Basically, I’m not fun anymore, so why should my husband want to be around me?
  • I make everyone around me miserable and contribute nothing positive to my family, society, or the world
  • I am a bad person because I can’t control my negative thoughts
  • I don’t deserve to be loved
  • I don’t deserve to be helped
  • I hurt so much and I am so terrible that dying is the only option
  • I am so tired of being in pain
  • My family will be better off without the burden of caring for me

Obviously, those thoughts aren’t true. I know they aren’t true. I know they aren’t true when I’m reading them right now, and I know they aren’t true when I’m sobbing and telling my husband these things. I recognize that this is a chemical spiral that happens when I am overwhelmed. It’s similar to my autistic meltdowns. Once that emotional train leaves the station, I’m just a passenger looking out the window at the very ugly scenery.

My next step in working through these thoughts is to think about the science. How are suicidal thoughts triggered? Breaking things down into their biological components not only makes it easier for me to cope and mentally stabilize, but I occasionally learn something and then feel the urge to write about what I have learned. Doing that gives me purpose and makes me feel productive. That crosses off one of those negative thoughts listed above. Science!

But today when I searched the following phrase in Google, “triggered suicidal thoughts,” an alarming trend became apparent. Information about suicide and suicidal thoughts treats people who have these thoughts as if they are single-minded. The recurrent theme? They see death as the only option.

Correction, we see death as the only option. Below is the first paragraph from the first article that came up in my Google search:

“In overly simplistic terms, suicidal thoughts and behaviors start when vulnerable individuals encounter stressful events, become overwhelmed, and conclude that suicide is the only reasonable way (given their very likely biased way of thinking) to stop the pain they are experiencing.” – NATALIE STAATS REISS, PH.D., AND MARK DOMBECK, PH.D. via Suicide Triggers – Suicide, Depression, Anxiety Disorders

Right out of the gates these Ph.D.s state that, “suicide is the only reasonable way… to stop the pain,” and that people who are suicidal have a, “very likely biased way of thinking.” As someone with both emotional and physical pain I can tell you that I don’t view suicide as reasonable. Even when I’m calm and I’ve decided that death is a welcome solution, the process isn’t PAIN PAIN PAIN – WELL MIGHT AS WELL END IT. And my thinking isn’t biased, it’s twisted, it’s skewed, it’s chemically altered by the things that make one feel depression and guilt and despair.

Being told by psychological professionals that I think that death is the only solution doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel worse. And it makes me feel stupid. Apparently, I am so misguided in my thinking that I just believe suicide will solve it all and I can’t see anything else. No. Not at all. It’s more complicated than that, and it would be really nice to feel more respected. If this article were written with an audience of suicidal people and non-suicidal people alike in mind instead of just to a non-suicidal audience, it wouldn’t sound so condescending.

However, that is merely one article and one set of authors. Surely in my search for answers about how suicidal thoughts are triggered I would be able to find a credible source. I turned to the second search result, Mayo Clinic. Here is what Mayo Clinic has to say about suicidal thoughts:

“Suicidal thoughts have many causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can’t cope when you’re faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don’t have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution.” via Suicide and suicidal thoughts Causes – Mayo Clinic.

Yes! Information I could use! I do feel overwhelmed! I don’t have hope for the future! I do list suicide as a solution… but then Mayo Clinic went on to say this:

“You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out.” via Suicide and suicidal thoughts Causes – Mayo Clinic.

Tunnel vision. I, the suicidal person, might experience tunnel vision in which I think death is the only answer. I don’t disagree that I become focused on the idea that I don’t want to go on. But it’s not a desire to be dead.

It’s a desire to not be alive.

I know those sound very much like the same thing, but they aren’t. Biologically, our bodies want to live. Psychologically, our minds want painful things to stop. Suicide is an acute desire for pain in any form to stop permanently. Death becomes involved because the only true way to stop any physiological or psychological process is to stop living. I don’t want to be dead. I don’t want to die. I don’t want my family to grieve.

I want to stop hurting. I want to stop being a burden on my family. I want to stop making the people I love miserable. I want to stop existing. If there were a way to do any of that without ending my life, surely I’d be on board. But there isn’t.

I staunchly state that my suicidal thoughts are not about death, they are about not being able to cope with the things that are happening in my life, so I want that life to stop. I believe that it’s demeaning to essentially say that someone who is suicidal can’t cope so they decided to die.

A person who is suicidal can’t cope, so they decided to stop trying to cope.

If we change the way that we view suicide, we can change how suicidal people are treated by professionals and their family. Suicide is not stupid or selfish or weak. Suicide is about hopelessness. And that’s stating it simply.

Therefore, I am left to deal with my negative thoughts myself. I shall treat my physical pain as best I can, and I shall try to convince myself that the negative thoughts I have are not true by engaging in encouraging self talk.

Need help? United States:

1 (800) 273-8255 FREE

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

I’ve Got the Botox Flu, and I’ll Get Over You, One Pain-Killer At a Time

So, I re-upped my Botox injections yesterday. It was also my mother’s birthday. I couldn’t visit her grave.  That’s an excuse. I break down when I get anywhere near my church or her grave, so I’ve not been. I can’t bring myself to.

I was thinking about my mother while the lovely Dr. H. yammered on about their being new injection site protocols and how I might notice a difference. I did, but I was too distracted to ask questions. For the past week, or weeks, or months. I dont know… for the past while I’ve been aware of my mother’s birthday.

My mother loved yellow roses, and the colour periwinkle.

This past weekend my husband worked on clearing out some things from our attic. Originally, I was of the impression that we were just making room in our attic for some entertaining space by moving our belongings to the back quarter of the area. Of course he meant to clean some things out as well. Of course. I had even read several articles on attic organization in preparation, all of which included purging the unnecessary accumulations of time. Yet, when he mentioned that he was going to take some things to the dump, I became very upset. I suddenly felt as if the world tilted sideways.

Loss. Mourning. Pain.

I spent yesterday evening was spent with friends, and was it welcome and uplifting. I injected myself with DHE and loaded up full of pain medication and went to my favourite place in town for a meeting, and surprisingly so many of my lovely friends were there.

Today, I am suffering the expected symptoms of Botox. It makes me feel like I have the flu for a day or so, and it makes me really nauseous for a few weeks. Then my nausea will clear up.

One of the things that my mother gave me was the theater community. Now, I’ve found a community to which I belong and I feel like my mother would be happy for me if I could sit down and tell her about it. There are so many things that I hope she knows.

I credit my upbringing for the really good things in my life now.

Loss. Mourning. Pain. Depression. Anxiety.

Dr. H. has added a battery of psychological screening questions to her intake. We agree that I’m coping with this period of high pain levels much better than this time last year.

Dr. H. spent Thanksgiving in Florida.

While she was injecting the back of my neck I thought about being in Disney World with my mother, getting caught in the rain, and buying terry cloth Disney slippers to walk around the park in because our shoes were soaked. They were white, with little Mickeys on them.

Little frogs were everywhere.

 

 

Depressive Valley

This evening I said I was done.

My son is a teenager and therefore hates the world, being at home, and his jerk parents who make him do homework.

My husband is incredibly stressed and going through an emotional recovery and is depressed but doesn’t believe in talking about his feelings, so I don’t know how to communicate with him about my feelings on the same issues.

I threw up my hands in frustration, stormed into my bedroom, and slammed the door. Our bedroom door, which I have already broken. I’m at a 9 today. I’ve little tolerance for people who can’t communicate or listen or do anything on my terms at the moment.

My husband chased me down and said something that put blame on me in some way and I collapsed inward and all of the suicidal thoughts that have been swirling around came swooping in as if they had been waiting for their chance. It was literally as if I’d been an injured animal and suddenly my legs had given out.

I work very hard to keep those moments contained to my lonely hours at night when the family is sleeping and I can use music and silly television and other distractions to calm myself down. My husband doesn’t understand how I go from sobbing to entirely calm. Hyper-rationality, that’s what I call it. It’s the calm, chemically-induced quasi-sanity that makes me think that killing myself is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

He suggested I call my therapist.

And say what? Honestly, I’m so used to battling the chemical reaction that happens when I get like this on my own that it felt intrusive to have him present. The thought of having a nice chat on the phone felt like it would make me worse.

I’m fine now. Well, I’m not fine. I know I’m not fine. I’m in such great pain and so very worried about money. But I am not a danger to myself.

I just need to win the lottery so we don’t have financial stress. Simple.

On the Deathiversary of My Mother

My mother died a year ago today. I wasn’t with her. I didn’t get to say goodbye. Her funeral didn’t happen until September because of all of my medical issues. Her funeral was populated by people who didn’t really know my mother, her struggles, her victories… any of it.

This year we had the chance to set all of that right.

My mother worked with a golf tournament annually from her third date with my step-father on. They married in 2002. She was the First Lady of the BNI. The golfers loved her. The other volunteers loved her. It was something she prided herself on. It was also a part of her that I didn’t know much about. As a general rule, I don’t go to West Virginia unless someone is dead or dying. So I certainly never made it up for one of Mother’s projects. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her. It was just that the entirety of the state holds too many bad memories for me.

My mother was the first female honoree of the golf tournament in it’s 34 year history. Her name was on our Polo shirts. Her name was on the banners. Her name was on beautiful plaques that were presented to my stepfather and me. People hugged me and told me stories about her micromanaging and her systems of organization. They told me about how she kept everyone in line.

That was the mother I knew. The mother whose life was falling apart at home, but who could run a committee or an organization like no one’s business. I, thankfully, inherited those skills from her. It was a joy to see people who saw the functional side of my mother as opposed to last September’s funeral goers who saw her as a failure, a recluse, and an alcoholic. The volunteers at the golf tournament genuinely seemed to appreciate my mother.

I needed that. I needed to be reminded of some of her greatness.

 

 

Deathiversaries, Or, Why I’m No Longer Interested in Dying

In my last post, I mentioned that I received nerve blocks. Nerve blocks aren’t extremely effective at high pain levels but they do accomplish one thing when combined with DHE and Midrin… they grant the recipient a tiny bit of humanity. People tend to take things for granted when they can do them all the time without having to plan carefully. Bathing, for instance, seems like a normal activity… but as many of you who also suffer with some form of chronic pain may know, bathing can suck the life right out of you. Showers require standing, and the water hurts my skin. Baths can be too hot and overwhelming sometimes. By the third day of wiping down with unscented baby wipes and maybe putting on fresh pajamas (but usually not, hey… our germs are clean germs, right?) you don’t feel like a human being who can just roll out of bed and face the world.

Putting on makeup is another thing that becomes a mysterious luxury. As a makeup addict, I used to revel in my purple eye shadows and my false lashes and my magical primers that kept everything in place all night. Now, though, it’s just such a chore…and fuck makeup hurts. My skin isn’t used to it. My left eye (THE OFFENDER) begins watering when I simply pick up a makeup brush, let alone attempt applying the damned stuff. If I go all out, I know I will be miserable and self conscious about my leaking left eye the entire evening. I don’t bother unless it’s an occasion. Tinted moisturizer with some SPF in it is my daily routine. I shudder that I just wrote that sentence. I used to never leave the house without mascara… ever.

But this past weekend I got a little bit of that old me back, for just a minute, or… well… I got something. Describing it as the old me isn’t precisely accurate, because the old me was not a happy person. The old me was just as miserable as the me who has been in pain for two years with this stupid mysterious brain thing. This past weekend, I think I caught a glimpse of who I am with less pain and less sadness and less anxiety and less weight on my shoulders.

And this weekend I realized that I didn’t want to die any more.

I haven’t actively wanted to kill myself. I’ve never had a plan. I’d never do that to my family. But I sure as hell haven’t wanted to wake up in the morning for well over a year now, and I’m just going to be honest about that right here. I’ve wanted to die. I’ve wanted to not be alive. I’ve wanted to not exist. Being in pain all the time stripped the will to live right on out of me and the only things keeping me going have been my husband and my son and my two dogs, and when my mother died I was pretty much done with this world. I just didn’t see the point anymore. Food has tasted bad in my mouth. Things have smelled bad. Colours have been greyed out. I have been very ready.

Earlier this year, when Dr. H. wanted me to have an MRI because she had concerns, I was scared… but I was also relieved. My husband and I had a big argument the week before that MRI happened because I wanted him with me. What I wasn’t telling him was that I wanted to spend time with him because I was ready to go and I needed to say goodbye to him. I was ready for something to be majorly wrong with my brain. I was ready for a tumor or cancer or anything that would just make it all… stop.

Pain is a terrible friend. It talks you into all kinds of things when you hang out with it long enough.

Next month will mark on year since my mother said no to pain. She stopped her radiation and chemotherapy and she died quietly with my step-father at her side. She and my step-father always helped with a gold tournament, in fact, he directed it for a number of years and she ran the show from behind the scenes. They’re honouring my mother by naming the tournament after her this year and having a big dinner at the country club. It’s all huge to do. It’s very touching, and a reminder that my mother was a human being outside of being my mother… that for all of her flaws… she was loved and accomplished and had a zest for life.

Two Psychologists have been ignoring the fact that I’m in mourning and Dr. B. was calling my constant talk about dying normal for the amount of pain I’m in, but the Psychologists at the Jefferson Headache Center focused in on it and on my depression and put me on medication and told me they weren’t going to let me feel less than human anymore. My art therapist, T.W. (I still haven’t asked what to call her, T.? Seems weird and informal to me. AHHH! Artsy informality wigs me out. But I’m an artsy person! Bleh,) immediately focused on all of the loss in my life, from the loss of my brothers when I was six onward. She recognizes trauma and wants to help me through it and to heal. She’s gentle and has a plan and she has helped me recapture some of my self over the past few weeks. I feel like I am in good hands with her, Dr. H., and with Jefferson.

So there is this big anniversary, or deathiversary coming up. I had a little relief from pain this weekend. I wasn’t pain free, but I was a little lighter, so to speak. And I’ve had all of this, well, this shit going through my head about death and dying and not existing for over a year and then the following happened.

Friday night, my husband and I went to a burlesque show. This in and of itself was not abnormal. I love burlesque. I love women. I love boobs. I love sparkly things. I love dance. I love camp. Burlesque has all of that. This particular show benefited Locks of Love, which is a charitable organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. I donated my hair to Locks of Love in 2001 when it was down to my waist. I cut it to shoulder length at that time because my son, who was a baby, would use it as a weapon against me. The next time I cut my hair really short was in 2003, after my son’s biological father had beaten me up. I was a very single mom trying to hold down a job, and make grown-up decisions that I wasn’t necessarily prepared to make.

After the show, some of the performers donated their hair. They also targeted some of the rocker guys in the audience (the theme of the show was “Hair Metal”) and those poor souls were called up on stage while my salon (oddly enough, it was the salon I go to!) put their hair into pony tails and hacked away at them.

Then something terrifying happened.

One of the Bombshell calendar kittens pointed at me and said, “You have long hair!”

I was seated in the second row with my husband. I was wearing a denim pencil skirt (because… hair metal… I try to dress to theme) and four inch heels (with a 1 inch platform, let’s not get crazy now) that I had no business walking in front of people in. I put my hand on my chest. I looked at my husband. He shrugged.

Like a zombie, I sluggishly made my way to the stage and then teetered up the very narrow and non-high-heel friendly steps of the stage and waited my turn. Then a girl wearing a tiny pink corset, a pink fur bolero, and tinier black shorts put my hair in a pony tail and whacked off all of my hair in front of an audience full of people.

I know the producer of the show, and she found me after to tell me that Bombshell would give me half off of anything I wanted… so I got a cute bob and some lilac mini-highlights. Now I have funky-coloured hair that my mother would hate that I’m going to walk into the country club with. She’d just die.

Oh wait.

My husband has decided to dye his hair green.

I’ve started a whole thing.

And now the part where I don’t want to die anymore.

When my hair came off, and then when I went to the salon and got funky-coloured hair that I’d never have been able to have at my old corporate job… something suddenly felt free inside me. Something lifted. Suddenly, I felt good about myself.

Back in 2003, when I cut off all of my hair and bleached my apartment walls and changed everything about myself to rid myself of my son’s father and that terrible relationship… I became someone I really liked. I went through another “rebirth” in 2005, and another in 2010.

Now I am starting another phase, and I am going to run with it. I wouldn’t say I’m happy. But I feel hopeful for the first time in a little while.

Dreams

1. I can remember my dreams again after this weird foggy period where I actively wanted to remember my dreams and then couldn’t.
2. I have been dreaming about trips and pigs… literally.
3. Lots of dreams about people with whom I should reestablish more direct contact but probably won’t because I am the epitome of awkward.
4. Everyone else in my dreams is dead… so that’s pleasant and not at all sad. So nice to wake up to telling myself,

“Oh that was a nice chat with so and so, I should call them- SO AND SO is DEAD.”

“When someone y…

“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Victorian mourning etiquette

Oh yes, I am in a morbid mood.

“For deepest mourning clothes were to be black, symbolic of spiritual darkness. Dresses for deepest mourning were usually made of non-reflective paramatta silk or the cheaper bombazine – many of the widows in Dickens’ novels wore bombazine. Dresses were trimmed with crape, a hard, scratchy silk with a peculiar crimped appearance produced by heat. Crape is particularly associated with mourning because it doesn’t combine well with any other clothing – you can’t wear velvet or satin or lace or embroidery with it. After a specified period the crape could be removed – this was called “slighting the mourning.” The color of cloth lightened as mourning went on, to grey, mauve, and white – called half-mourning. Jewelry was limited to jet, a hard, black coal-like material sometimes combined with woven hair of the deceased.

Men had it easy – they simply wore their usual dark suits along with black gloves, hatbands and cravats. Children were not expected to wear mourning clothes, though girls sometimes wore white dresses.

The length of mourning depended on your relationship to the deceased. The different periods of mourning dictated by society were expected to reflect your natural period of grief. Widows were expected to wear full mourning for two years. Everyone else presumably suffered less – for children mourning parents or vice versa the period of time was one year, for grandparents and siblings six months, for aunts and uncles two months, for great uncles and aunts six weeks, for first cousins four weeks.”

via Victorian mourning etiquette.

Grief’s a Bitch

My mother died and I’ve been manic. My mother died and I’ve been worried. My mother died and I’ve been in pain. My mother died and I’ve been all over the place. My mother died and I had this one great afternoon where I was numb and it was fantastic.

My mother died and I’ve felt like I deserve it.

My mother died and I refuse to believe it.

I talked to my step-father and I asked the tricky question about things. People leave behind so much stuff and my mother, bless her hoarding heart, was a stuff-keeper. I asked him if he needed me to help him with things.

He said he knows there are things I’d like to have like jewelry and photos and such. Lawd lawd. I don’t know that I could stand going through her jewelry box like I did when I wanted to play dress up when I was little. I have not had contact with my mother’s belongings in a number of years. I have some of her books in my attic. She read romance novels weekly by the dozen. She could speed read and therefore read voraciously.

My mother died and now I will have to touch her things.

My husband lost both of his parents suddenly and within a year and a half of each other. They just died one day, separately. They were here and then they weren’t here. My mother had cancer and I knew there was this chance. Sure sure… Stage IV. But my mother was stubborn and I thought there was no way my mother would let a silly thing like cancer stop her from bossing people around and being unpleasant to people in restaurants.

My mother died and now I’m afraid I’ll get cancer.

She smoked and drank to excess and didn’t eat a balanced diet and didn’t get checkups or go to the dentist. I don’t drink or smoke, and I am a vegetarian and I try to feed my family good things that are made from scratch so they aren’t pumped full of preservatives.

My mother died and I am worried that I don’t eat enough preservatives. “Preserve” is right there in the name.

About a week before my mother died I was joking with my husband about the fact that I thought my mother would haunt me if she died… that that would be the sort of thing my mother would do. She would do it just to mess with me. She would do it because she’d think it was funny.

I told my son about that conversation while we were driving home from my appointment with my Psychologist on Friday. My son, thirteen, said that my mother died and was happy. He said that my mom loved me and that she went peacefully and the way she wanted to. So therefore, she wasn’t going to haunt me.

My mother died and my son is staunch about the fact that she will not haunt me.

On the way to my Psychology appointment I missed the turn into the office park. My son said, after I missed the turn, “You missed the turn.”

I asked my son why he didn’t point it out to me.

My son said, “I trust the things you do.”

My mother died and I wonder if I trusted the things she did. I don’t think I did after I had my son. I’m glad my son thinks that I do thinks purposefully, but I suppose he’s just following me blindly like I followed my mother blindly for so many years.

My mother died and I cry frequently.

Death, bereavement and autism spectrum disorders – | autism | Asperger syndrome |

“It is difficult to predict anyones[sic] reaction to the death of someone close to them, and individuals on the autism spectrum will be no different. Each person’s reaction will be unique to them. You may not recognise the person with ASD’s displays of grief, but any difference in their behaviour may be an expression of their confusion and loss. Howlin (2004) describes how the “person with autism may seem apparently unconcerned, even by the death of someone very close,… [they may focus on] seemingly callous issues, such as how much they may have been left in the will.” She then outlines one particular adult’s reaction to her fathers death, describing how she “began to embark on bizarre monologues about punishment and pain, murder and the police”, (Howlin 2004) though her father’s death had not involved the police in any way. These behavioural changes may not coincide with the death of a relative or friend, but may occur perhaps three months, six months, or a year afterwards. This will need to be recognised so these behaviours are appropriately understood and supported. (See information on behaviour: http://www.autism.org.uk/behaviour ). You may notice a reoccurrence of these or other behaviours at significant dates after the persons death; for example, at an anniversary, Christmas or birthdays.

There are recognised approximate stages of bereavement (Allison 2001):

Shock, numbness, denial

Despair, turmoil and acute grieving, including:

– anger

– guilt

– anxiety, fear, panic

– depression

– pain, appetite disturbance, breathlessness, illness

– more than usual need for sleep, sleeplessness, hyperactivity

– nightmares

– regression, loss of skills

Recovery, including

– acceptance

– resolution of grief

– when the bereaved can think of the deceased without pain or anger and can recall the times they had together in a positive way.

Please be aware of these stages: they may merge together, and not everyone will experience all of them.”

via Death, bereavement and autism spectrum disorders – | autism | Asperger syndrome |.

This Is Not Happening

My mother decided to discontinue radiation and chemotherapy and began hospice this past week. This afternoon she died. My stepfather and mother had been keeping it from me so as not to worry me… on top of my stupid head stuff.

My mother is being cremated, and has requested no formal funeral… but said it was okay if I needed to do a Compline. I’m going to ask my aunt if we can hold Compline at her house, and then enter my mother’s ashes with my brothers and my grandparents at my church. I just want people to have a chance to remember my mom.