Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Good Son

Today is Good Friday.  Not that I'm super religious or anything but it is a day of significance nonetheless.

Today is the day that we would colour Easter eggs with my dad.  I can't ever remember a time when we didn't.

But my dad died in November.  Today my mom will try to carry on the tradition.

How does all this factor into a blog on Autism?  Simple.


Last year my family experienced two deaths.  One was our beloved dog of 14 years, Whizzer, in June and then, of course, my dad Thanksgiving week.

In no way am I equating the two....

The way Sean dealt with both was remarkable.  He had such grace throughout....
When Whizzer suddenly became ill, there was no denying that something was seriously wrong.  It was only a span of two weeks but since she was home the entire time, it was extremely intense.  Not once do I recall Sean falling apart or even crying during those days.  He had his alone time with her.  He helped make her paw prints.  Only on the night she died did he cry.

Even then he was steady and calm as could be.

When my dad became ill it was really a shock to my family. 

On one of the last days of October, Sean interviewed my dad as part of a merit badge for Boy Scouts.  He had to interview a veteran and my dad had served in the Korean War back in the 50's.

I videotaped the exchange.  Sean was amazing.  He listened to my dad tell stories.  Since Sean is a history buff - specifically war and weapon related - he was able to ask detailed questions.  It was one of those great wonderful moments between grandson and grandfather. 

My father went into the hospital a couple of weeks later.  It was minor. 

I brought Sean to visit him.  Sean walked in the room and right away took my father's hand and asked, "Grandpa, what was your favourite story?"

My dad replied, "Oh Sean, there's so many."

Days later my father died.

Sean was so strong.  I barely remember him shedding a tear.  But I think he knew and understood.

At the cemetery I stayed behind to watch the casket and vault lid lowered.  My husband was going to take Ashley to the car.  I asked Carissa and Sean if they wanted to go with their dad.  Sean said he wanted to stay.  Carissa stayed as well.

The three of us stood there in silence.  Watching.

But it wasn't Sean, my little boy, who stood next to me.....

Instead, it was a young man standing next to his mom and his little sister - watching over them and protecting them - just like any good son, autistic or not, should.

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