I am going to start off really honest here...the idea for this blog did not come from me, but from a review of a book I just read...The After Wife, by Gigi Levangie Grazer. You might be familiar with her name, she wrote The Starter Wife, which was turned into a TV series. The protagonist in the present book, after suffering an unexpected trauma in her life, continually asks "why." "Why did this have to happen to me, to us?" until someone (or something) replies "why not you."
The truth is that I realized in twenty odd years of dealing with autism and all the comorbid, conjoining issues that go with it, I always asked "why."
"Why my child?"
"Why did everythign have to be so hard?"
"Why is there so much difficulty and so much pain?"
Well you get the picture. This, by the way, is not the same kind of "why" when trying to figure out if you are at fault, if your husband is at fault, if you both are at fault, if its something eaten, drunk, ingested or breathed that gave your child autism.
I am talking about quite honestly the very selfish kind of "why."
Truly, what makes any of us think we are immune to reality?
Are we better than someone else?
Are we more righteous than someone else?
Are we more deserving of a "typical" life than someone else?
So we are then left with the reality that if there is no true answer to "why mine," the alternative has to be well..."why not mine."
I think that our inability as a group to ask "why not," is the outgrowth of this entitlement society that we have come to know as western culture. We think that because we have modern medicine, technology, and in-door plumbing, that somehow, in someway, we are entitled to a life devoid of complications, trauma and angst. We decide that life has to be fair. That the issues we fear most in life, should happen to someone else. It can't happen to me, well, well, well.....well it just shouldn't.
Yes I know, there are people in this world that do deserve a bad life. The cruel and hurtful, (especially those who have been evil to your child), the dictators from hell itself...yes they should have trauma deep inside their bones, but that is not how things always work out. In fact, from my limited experience that is generally NOT how things tend to work itself out.
I suppose this is when we need to show our metal as human beings. Sartre said that "we are our choices." I agree with that. But I add on a bit from him...it is also how we handle the cosequences of our choices and the "curve-balls" that life throws our way that decides if you live a good life or a very poor one. You can live up to the challenge or live life a shell of a person-angry, bitter and hateful.
I acknowledge that there are plenty out there that do this so much better than I ever could...
The woman I met on the train one day years ago, who on the anniversary of her daughter's death from breast cancer, was going into Memorial Sloan Kettering to counsel and help parents of newly diagnosed children. HERE
The parents of a young teenager murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem, who started a foundation for disabled children in their daughters name..opened to all- no political questions asked...HERE
Once you get to the point that you recognize that you are NOT entitled to anything in this world, except the chance to try to make this place a better one for everyone you come in contact with, will you then understand your true worth and value as a human being. You will also be able to answer the question "Why not..."
Meanwhile, I just ran into one of the boys' paras from public school. She told me that her 15-year-old nephew is dying of bone cancer. Now this is when you need to ask "WHY," in that very selfish, human sort-of-way. Warning....don't whine to me today about nonsensical crap.
Until next time,
Read: Daily Gratitude Without the Drama