My Gram, as far as I know, didn't know much about autism. It wasn't something that plagued her, her children, or her grand children's generations. It was not even on my family's radar.
The only connection between my grandmother and autism is this: My gram came with me to each of the twins well baby appointments their first year. I needed her to hold the first baby after his shots so I could hold the second baby for his. She was happy to come for the outing and to help out.
She'd say "Horrors! Why do they have to have so many shots?!" I would roll my eyes privately.
I don't remember if she came to the 15 month appointment. The one that changed everything. But every other one she was there, comforting one of my sons and helping me maneuver through twin well baby visits.
My grandma loved babies. She had three daughters, six grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. She was a daycare provider to many. A foster mother to 27 babies over the years.
She would be appalled at what has happened to my babies.
I told her, at Christmas last year, that Andrew has autism. We didn't have a formal diagnosis yet but he had just passed his hearing test, so we knew we had ruled out the only other option. It was still so new that it hurt to say it.
She was confused, she couldn't believe it. Autism? In this healthy happy boy that she knew? I never brought it up again, and I am sure she didn't remember.
Another thing I am sure of though, is that if she were here, really here, she would be my biggest cheerleader as I fight this uphill battle to recover him.
And goodness, who better to look to for how I should love this child to health? Her unconditional love is weaved into my heart and it is so easy, therefore, for me to wholeheartedly love and accept this boy. Which is the very foundation for healing him, in SonRise.
What did she do when we screwed up? Loved us more. What did she do when we were sad or mad? Loved us more. No matter what we did or said she had more love to show. In her love, we thrived.
And now we must carry it on.