This journey has taken us on many unexpected stops. This past week we have dealt with death, a very unexpected death in the family. We were all dealing with our own emotions and then there was Kelsey. Her anxiety plays a big part in who she is so I hide some things from her and don’t tell her everything. When a family member passes away however there is no way around it. I had no idea how to tell her so I googled it. Although there was no answer to the right words to use, it did say that every child grieves in their own way. All children deal with death differently.
For Kelsey it meant, at least this time, that not one tear was shed. I for the other hand cried for days and was expecting the same from her. Instead, when I told her the news she looked at me and said she was not sad and then proceeded to put on her headphones and tune me out for the rest of the day. She went to bed early that night holding her favorite stuffed animal. In the morning she woke up and asked a few questions. She was dealing with this in her own way in her own time.
Kelsey chose not to go to any of the services. With the help of our village we found friends to come and stay with her while we were gone. Thank you again to the both of you. You are appreciated more than you can know.
As the services at the cemetery concluded the funeral home director said that he believed the family was going to be all right because they had such a strong community supporting them. It made me realize that just as special needs families have their “village” of people supporting them, neurotypical families have their community.
Sometimes it seems as if this world is filled with nothing but horrible people. It isn’t. There are villages and communities supporting one another. It’s our families, our villages, our communities that matter. It’s people supporting one another day after day. And to our village of people, you make a difference. We are grateful to have you in our lives.
Death is not an easy thing. These past few days however I have learned some things:
1) We all grieve in our own way. Whats important especially for our children is to just be there and keep routines as normal as possible.
2) Family is everything in life
3) Neurotypical families have communities. Special needs families have villages. They are both it he same. People supporting people. Be grateful for the people in your life.
4) I’ve questioned my religion for many years and doubted many things. Often times families of special needs children face isolation from their religious community and thus stop participating. I may have left my church but my personal religious beliefs never left me.
5) Live your life each and every day and always be kind to the people you meet along the way.
6) Having a child with special needs and seeing the world through their eyes through both the happy times and the sad times is amazing.