Coping with loss and autism

Coping with loss and autism

Coping with loss
Coping with loss
Grief in dealing with loss
Grief in dealing with loss
Autism awareness ribbon
Autism awareness ribbon

Coping with loss and autism

It is certain that our lives are tested throughout and we will always have to adapt and roll with the many changes we will encounter along the way. If we are lucky we are blessed to have many wonderful moments in our life but we also will have to deal with the inevitible sad and difficult moments too.

I am a father of a wonderful son who is autistic and has his share of challenges. It is a reality I have come to understand and adapt to. No one wants to see their child struggle and have difficulties especially when they try so hard. I have never experienced what the world is like through the eyes of an autistic child and I can only imagine it but I do have a glimpse into the world of my son and although I am not with him every minute of the day I have a fairly good idea of what he goes through and all I can say is that my role as a father has really been tested and my love has always been unwavering. I will do all I can for my son and I know my wife and I are both in this together to help our son. As I think of my son's situation I sometimes try to go back in time to my own childhood to find a point of reference.

As a young child I was fortunate to be raised in a stable and nurturing home with caring parents. It seems life is magical and a happy time when you are free of problems and have loving and caring parents. Of the many things I have learned I realize that we are totally dependent on our parents and we live under their watchful eye always. We learn and grow along the way and we are influenced by our parents, our teachers, our friends, our surroundings and our encounters. At this time in our life we are constantly learning and we rely on our parents for almost everything in our young life.

I have so many wonderful memories of my parents and growing up as a child with my sisters. It was a special time in my life and I was truly blessed. As I am a grown man now with a family of my own I feel very blessed and my wife and son mean everything to me. They are all that is right with the world as I live in it now. It has been a roller coaster ride as I have grown into my adulthood having experienced loss first as a teenager when over a span of five years from when I was 13 to 17 I lost all my grand parents. It was sad because I had wonderful times with all of them. I remember celebrating family Christmases and other family gatherings throughout the years. I remember those times as if they were yesterday.

The most difficult time in my life was when I lost my mother as she suffered throughout the last 5 years of her life being in and out of hospitals. She died at age 50 and we were devastated. I was 29 when I lost my mom and it took time to overcome the grief and sadness I felt. I have not figured out why we have to experience such pain but it is something we will all have to go through.

The year we lost mom we also lost an uncle who was very special to us and also very courageous. He was my father's younger brother and they had a wonderful bond. I remember my uncle being very sad at mom's funeral and it really affected him. We always looked up to our uncle because he was the very definition of courage having survived a devastating fall from a construction site and having to live the remainder of his life as a paraplegic.

I felt for my dad who was very devoted to mom and they were truly special together and they certainly loved each other. My dad never missed a day visiting mom at the hospital and he never expressed his feelings. He was very courageous and dealt with the loss of his wife and brother in the span of 2 months as best he could. He was a wonderful father and a wonderful husband to his wife. I looked up to my dad and was always proud of him as he worked very hard and he was very dedicated to his work as an ironworker. He helped build the verrazano bridge in the early 1960's, the world trade center in the early 1970's and worked on so many interesting projects. He was also very devoted to his family and we knew it.

I was very fortunate to have my dad in my life for almost 20 years following my mom's death. I know how much he missed mom but he faced each day with courage and determination and we all loved and respected him. I was so very happy that my dad got to see my son throughout the years and how he treated my son no different from his other grandchildren. He didn't look at my son as being autistic. He looked at him as just a boy growing up and he loved visiting with him and spending hours with him and just having fun. Those times were truly special. When I think of my father I am reminded of his tremendous work ethic. I think of his dedication to his work as an ironworker. I think of his love of family and his devotion to mom, my two sisters and I. I think of his love of country and his time in the service in the navy. I think of his beaming pride as a grandfather and his precious time devoted to each and every one of his grandchildren. I think of the times he spent with our son and how he bonded so beautifully.

When I learned of my father's death in such an unexpected way I was just so devastated that I cried and felt such a deep loss. My dad was truly a wonderful man and he was always so giving and just a great person. He was very humble and I just feel such an emptiness with him being gone now. I know my dad missed mom after she died and he was very loyal and devoted even in her death as he visited her grave quite often.

Dealing with loss is very difficult but dealing with my dad's death was at times overwhelming because we did not see this coming. We relied on him even in the end as he welcomed spending time with all his grandchildren watching them and sometimes even babysitting my sisters kids.

All I can say is I believe my dad is at peace and is very happy to be reunited with his wife after so many years.

I try to remember all the good times and not dwell on the sad times but being human it is sometimes difficult to always be upbeat. That just is not reality. I live for my son and will always be there for him and will do all I can to help him with dealing with his autism and achieving his true potential. Our son is quite remarkable and we are so very proud of him and we just want to see him feel comfortable, happy and find happiness and friendship. We wish for him to rise above his diagnosis and live with confidence, find his talents and seek to be all he can be as Pop has always said throughout the years. He always said that Matty can be anything he wishes because he has so much potential and we certainly believe that.

Edward Iannielli III


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