Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Autism: Go Ahead, Get Angry

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I’d like to take you back in time. It’s July 1992, and I’m in the advanced portion of my training for the Army. (It’s called AIT & it’s where they teach you how to do the job you signed up for.) My Grandaddy had been ill before I left for the Army, and I got pulled out of ranks my first day of class to be told that he had passed away. I was then given the choice to stay in training or go home on Emergency Leave for the funeral.

Before I left for the Army, the last time I saw my Granddaddy, he was in the hospital. I remember going to his house growing up and seeing his pictures in uniform. You see, he had been in the Navy way back in the day. :) While lying in bed and upon hearing that I’d be leaving for the Army he told me, “You’re going to be a soldier now, so you better go be a damn good one.” I was 19 years old, & up to that point, I had had a bad habit of starting things but not finishing them.

So, based on his words, I chose to stay in training. I stayed, but my heart wasn’t in it. A day or two later, in the wee hours of the morning while doing Physical Training (PT), I just stopped. We were doing push ups and I just couldn’t because my body was shaking from the sobbing. I was crying. My drill sergeant came up to me and asked me what was wrong, upon explaining why I was sad, he asked me “But are you angry? Are you mad he’s dead?” It took only a second for me to answer yes. And I was angry about it for more reasons than we have the time/space to go into here. He then told me this, “Good, now you use that anger. Use it to do your push ups. Use it to run. You use that as long as you need to, to get you moving and get you through.”

I was telling a friend this story yesterday when the full impact of what he did for me hit me. I have taken that advice and brought it with me into having a child on the autism spectrum. I was pissed off when they told me my son might have autism. Shock, denial, yeah, they were there too. But mostly, I was angry as hell that someone would even try to tell me my perfect little angel wasn’t as perfect as they thought he should be. So I used that anger. I researched until I dropped. I advocated to hell and back for my child and other’s like him. I refused to give up on him, to let anyone else give up on him, or for him to give up on himself.

So go ahead, GET ANGRY! Now, what are you going to use it for? Please share how you’ve done so in the comments below. Thanks! :)

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