Pam Halter
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Parents Blog

The Rest of my Life?
9/19/2012 5:47:36 AM by: pam

“You’re so lucky Anna is the way she is,” my sister said to me one afternoon. We had taken our kids to the park to play, and while her girls argued and tormented each other, Anna sat quietly in my lap and played with stones while my younger daughter, Mary, enjoyed the swings.

I couldn’t believe she actually said it. For a moment, I stared at her. Then I said, “Well, your girls are going to grow up and leave. I’ll have Anna for the rest of my life.”

The rest of my life.

I don’t think I realized it until that day. Not really. And that started a downward spiral in my thoughts and emotions that is still in place today. Feelings which I kept locked tight within for fear of what someone would think if they ever found out.

How do you feel about maybe having your child for the rest of your life? Do you feel anxious? Robbed? Terrified? Me, I'm scared to death. What will happen when I can do it anymore? What if Anna outlives me?

Fortunately, we have our younger daughter, Mary, who is great with Anna and understands she will be guardian someday. We have things in place right now that will enable us to keep Anna with us for as long as possible. But really. The idea of having Anna when I'm 90 totally freaks me out. And the idea of not having Anna when I'm 90 totally freaks me out. What the heck?

So, what do I do? I pray the Lord will take Anna before I can't take care of her anymore. What else can I do? I can't imagine the difficulty someone would have, trying to explain to Anna where Mommy is. It breaks my heart thinking she'll look and look and I won't be there. Dear God, please have mercy!


Comments

pam From At 10/3/2012 11:23:40 AM

ohmygosh, yes, Julie - so many times I find myself wondering what Anna would be like if she didn't have autism. It fires the imagination. And then great sadness comes knowing it will all never happen.

Julie Monzi From Gettysburg, PA At 10/3/2012 9:25:36 AM

I once had someone say that I won't have to worry about experiencing some of the things that other parents do, such as teenage pregnancy or drug use. What is that supposed to mean? I won't get to experience her college graduation or her first date; her wedding day or her children either.

pam From At 9/20/2012 3:06:12 PM

Dave, we all struggle with this thought. And many families have special children who do outlive them. That's why we MUST put things into place now, while we have our wits about us, to take care of our children. My burden isn't greater - just different.

David Hughes From Vineland, NJ At 9/20/2012 2:53:18 PM

Pam,I have the same thoughts that you do! What's to happen to Joshua when Barb&I & his mother are dead and his sister is off photographing the world? And he is not nearly where Anna is! The repetitious teaching of self-care seems to barely take root, if any! But your burden is so much greater!!

Dale From Abington, PA At 9/19/2012 7:04:19 AM

How wonderful that you are providing this opportunity for parents with special needs kids to be real with their feelings. It's so difficult when the beautiful baby you expected has serious problems and people want to tell you how you're ""supposed to feel"" while their healthy child scampers about.

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