I'm Still Mourning

Today the tears won't stop. I spent time in reflection, Casting Crowns blaring praying that I would feel His presence in my heart and that he would heal my hurt but I sit, still crying. I started out this journey at a sprinters pace. A dear friend, Jess had suggested I slow it down and prepare for a marathon. I hoped she was wrong. I wanted to believe that this life that had dropped into my lap would somehow, someway be different than what everyone else said it was. Nearly a year after the official diagnosis I sit, tears falling, feeling further away from where I was when I first heard the words, Autism.

Today we have a new President being sworn into office. I have been watching. Quietly. I have friends shouting in celebration. I have friends lamenting the loss of our former President and I sit wishing that mattered to me like it used to. I sit wishing I could be that strong woman who had opinions on things I didn't have any control over but I am not. Maybe I am the lucky one that I have no energy left to care about what happens outside of raising my kids. Maybe that is a gift.

Yesterday I spoke with a beautiful mom. She's so put together and has a beautiful baby son. Looking into his eyes as I talked to him I saw what I once had. Some autistic kids have been "different" from day one, but for me, that wasn't the case. My sweet Serrie was born into this world and completed me. She helped me heal from the loss of my sweet cousin Clare. I knew she was a gift from Heaven that Clare asked God to send me, a special package wrapped in pink. I still remember the chills I felt when Colin announced "Its A GIRL!" I really wanted a girl. I still remember choosing her name with care. Seraphina...our angel. Seraphina MaryClare, after her cousin, an angel in the sky. And I remember how perfect life seemed.

Today I sat scanning old photos. There she was. She was perfect. She was present.

She grew. She hit her milestones. I couldn't begin to believe how lucky I was. I knew that she made the family complete but I never expected months after her arrival to start wondering. Wondering if she was okay? Wondering if she was slipping and praying that I was wrong.

I started to wonder. I started to ask. I questioned friends. I questioned family and then it happened, she was gone.

You could see it in her eyes. That distant gaze. This photo is from the week I knew. I knew as I couldn't calm her. I knew as I listened to her cries and I felt it when my uncle couldn't bare to be in her presence and so we slipped away. We left vacation and we headed home while the answer swirled in my head. From that moment on, I knew. I knew she was different but the formal diagnosis wouldn't come for months. When it did, I questioned myself for not pushing harder, for not asking more, for not getting her help when I should have, when I felt it.

I was going to make it up to her. I was going to heal her. I was going to do everything I could. As I did, I stepped out of my marriage, I became a full time autism mom. I tried to explain to friends. I tried to share with family but until you have spent time with Serrie, time with her in her moments of rage you cannot understand what we feel, what we experience, what we know to be her life and I feel the burden of guilt. I feel the pain of her suffering and I want to take it away. I want to help.

So I dug in. I went full force. There were few tears. I had a mission and I was on the mission to save the child inside that I had left. I wanted to be the Jenny McCarthy of autism who saved her child, brought her back from the darkness of her own world inside her from the absence of her speech and I am grateful to say I hear her words now and sometimes I see who she was before but we still live in this never ending, constant motion of making sure we get her as much therapy as we can afford. I still try to balance the other 4 kids and sometimes find time for that husband I married 15 years ago when I was barely legal.

Today, it all came to a head. I finally had time to breathe. I have her schooling set. I have her therapy set and I have taken as many classes as I can muster right now and so today, today I realize I have yet to mourn and so today I decided its okay. Its okay to cry. Its okay to feel the pain inside me and its okay to begin to heal.

Mama Bear is taking a little time because I can't give to the other kids, my husband or anyone else when I am empty and right now, my battery is on E.So if you see me today, tomorrow or in the coming weeks and I seem "not myself", like I haven't pulled myself up by my bootstraps and dug in head first, truth is right now I can't because I am mourning the child I had. I am mourning the dreams I had for my family, for my children for my child.

I am trying to let go of the expectation that I had for what our family was and I am going to accept the family we are to become.


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