Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Here's Why Parents of Special Needs Children Grieve

I have to tell everyone that there hasn't been an episode of Parenthood that hasn't left me with a lump in my throat. While there is a character with asperger's syndrome on the show, it isn't always the reason why I feel connected to any particular scene. I think in plain and simple terms this show speaks to me simply because I am a parent. Within the latest episode an interesting scene caused an "aha" moment for me. It was between the single mother and her rebellious-brilliant-talented daughter. The mother was explaining a parents' hopes and dreams for their child.

Many parents of special needs children feel guilty because they grieve when their child is designated with autism or any other life effecting disability. We all try to rationalize it away, this visceral inward feeling and we feel guilty because we grieve, because we are so sad. There are those who say that we are upset for ourselves, because we do not have a perfect child. How sad that that is how the naysayers need to view other human beings, only through the lens of self-importance, egotism and an unattainable ideal of perfection.

We, the parents of special needs children, all know that we do not grieve for ourselves but for our offspring. Yes, as the parent in the clip below, we see ourselves in our children. Yes they are an extension of who we are in many ways. Half of them is genetically us after all. Yet, deep down inside we all know that  our children are individuals in their own right. That their lives ultimately belong to them and to them alone.

I think I figured it out, the reason why at times I still cry when no one is looking. I cry because as human beings, a person has the right to accomplish anything they want. Everyone has that human right  to "fly."  But there is always something (that lousy dropping shoe) that causes an angst or an issue that does not really have to be there. This disability, along with society's ignorance, either makes that right to "fly" for the boys so much harder than it has to be, or in fact, like for so many that I know, takes that right to fly completely away.

That is my introspection of the day....I hope it helps.

Until next time,