There will be days like these

I hear him. I can hear him limping around his room. I can hear him cough. I can hear him randomly shouting words—words he once had, words that mean nothing now.

I check his bedroom camera. I zoom in to see if he can wait the five minutes I need to coax my body into waking up. My back is stiff and sore. My neck creaks.

I am 36, so I am pretty sure I am too young to be feeling so stiff and sore in the morning.

My mind tells my body to get up.

My body refuses.

Today is already one of those days.

The days when I just can’t. The days when it takes so much to stop myself from breaking. I know these days well; I have them often.

I know today will be a day that I will break; a day that I will spend counting down the hours until bedtime.

It’s a horrible feeling. It’s a feeling wrapped in heavy guilt.

My child is terminally ill and I have days when I just can’t do it.

Society tells me to relish every minute with my son, for I know what his future holds. I tell myself the same, but some days it’s hard. It’s hard to take the slaps, punches, pinches and kicks, and still find something to be grateful for.

I know I will feel a huge amount of guilt over feeling this way, especially when I can’t hear him or see him or hold him anymore. I remind myself of this and that is the reason I get up: Guilt is powerful.

Just managing to get by isn’t easy or something any parent wants to do when it comes to their kids. But on the days that I break, it’s all I can do. I push the guilt away and remind myself that I am human.

I get up. I go into his room and I clean him and everything else that requires cleaning. He’s happy to see me, but not for long. He doesn’t like to be cleaned, and the wipes, the cream, are all too alien to him despite us having used them for years now.

I get it done and we begin our day.

He is out of routine.

He expects a bus to come get him, but I know that bus isn’t coming for another three weeks. He doesn’t know or understand this.

I watch the clock as I feed him and medicate him.

He lashes out as I clean his peg site. I don’t dodge the slap in time, which means I have a fresh scrape on my face. More explaining to do when I meet friends or family, and even strangers some days.

Once, a woman very kindly handed me a card when my husband wasn’t looking. It was for an abused women’s home. She presumed my husband was behind my black eye and scraped face. My husband is a big man who is used to getting the evil eye from random strangers when my face cannot be hidden behind makeup.

Some days I break.

I want to run away and not come back. I don’t want to do all the caring. I want to stay in bed and pretend my life is just like yours.

People tell me that at least I don’t have the future worry of what will happen to Ethan once I am gone. They are right—I don’t have that worry.

I worry about what will happen to us when my son is no longer here. How will that feel? Will I be able to look at myself in the mirror then, knowing that there were days when I wanted to run away from everything, including him?

For me, autism is very different from the shows we see on TV. For me, disabilities are very different from the shows we see on TV.

Our life with Autism is violent.

Our life with disability is heartbreakingly painful, as we watch our son lose each and every skill he ever had.

So, yes, I have days when I break. Days when the world I live in is too much for me. Days when I want to run. Days when I wish for a different life and days when I am angry at the life I have.

Am I ungrateful? I don’t know.

Are there worse situations out there? I am sure there are, but that doesn’t make my situation any easier.

I think society puts us parents on a pedestal by saying things like “I couldn’t do it” or “I don’t know how you do it.” The truth of it is, as well-intentioned as those types of comments are, they often make me personally feel like I am not doing it. Because there are days when I break, days when I just can’t, and days when the only thing that gets me up is guilt.

I think that the only way parents like me can change this view is to be honest, be open, and admit there are days when we just break.

And it’s OK.

It’s OK to feel like running away.

And it is OK to tell society the harsh truth about being a parent to a child with a life-limiting condition or autism or Down syndrome or any other disabilities or challenges.

This was originally published on Autism Awarenss 



Kevin Willetts
August 21, 2017 at 2:24 am

Well, you have managed to do it again. I cannot help myself from reading about Ethan and yet I know, I will be a blubbering wreck by the time I have finished. Our Rupert is two and I am sixty years older, he is getting heavier to carry by the day and wonder how I will hold out when he is older and bigger. I have wondered and marvelled at the things he is able to do of which I believed he would not be able to but now understand that he wont be able to later. This is heartbreaking and difficult to comprehend. I also know that there are very few people that he can be left with for their safety and sanity and for Ruperts best welfare. It has taken Rupert to show an old man what real love and commitment is so please keep writing about Ethan in your very truthful way as it really helps people like us in our situation. Thankyou.

    August 22, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you Kevin. You’ve left me a bit speechless to be honest. Rupert is very lucky to have a grandad like you, and I suspect you know exactly how lucky you are to have him. Life is funny; the path Ethans hunters has taken is not necessarily the path Ruperts will, I beg you to hold onto that. There are huge medical advances being made every day, I think we all hope that one day a cure will be found and if not a cure a better more life changing treatment. Thank you for your kind words x

October 23, 2017 at 10:12 am

This has made me so emotional, I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for you. I think you are a very brave, special and strong person. You are absolutely right, it is okay to feel the way you do and I think a lot of people will find comfort and strength from your story and your words. Sending love x

October 23, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Sending love to you – I can’t imagine how difficult life must get for you. You are so brave for writing about it in such an honest way & you’re so right – society needs to know how damn hard it is! x

October 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Being a parent is a hard job but for parents like you with children with disabilities, it’s even harder. I find myself sometimes wishing myself away and the guilt that brings is horrible. I can’t imagine how you must feel but I take my hat off to you for sharing your story with us.

October 24, 2017 at 12:37 am

Oh hun don’t feel guilty you have every right to feel like this and I can imagine it must be so hard for you to get through some days. I know that your readers are here for you if you need to talk x

October 24, 2017 at 9:55 am

This is such an honest post that I am sure that you are helping others out there who are feeling the same feel less alone. I hope that today is a better day x

October 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm

I can’t imagine how it must be for you sometimes. It is ok to feel like running away. We all feel like that sometimes. I know I do and my days are nothing like what you have described here. Sending you all virtual hugs xx

October 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Oh gosh this made me cry, tears of sadness at how unfair it is that any child should suffer, but tears of sympathy at how hard it must be for all of you. No words, just love. xxx

October 24, 2017 at 8:22 pm

Such an honest and brave post to write. I can only imagine how tough it must be for you.
You are so right though, it is OK to feel like you have had enough, you’re only human after all.
Sending love and hugs and hope tomorrow is a brighter day x

October 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Such an honest and brave post to write. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for you. Thank you for sharing.

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