Sure, it’s the month that marks the end of summer. That sucks. But in my world September means nothing but death. Plain and simple. Death. Oh, and loss. I suppose I could insert 99 synonyms for death into my definition of September.
From where I sit the rest of the world is busy shopping for back to school supplies, clothes and shoes. Sending their eager children off on long school buses with their friends, waving good bye and smiling as they pull away from the curb. No fear. No anxiety. Just a sigh of relief that now they can get back to their “normal” lives. I in no way identify with any of this. Let’s talk about a boy who can’t tolerate shoe shopping without his aide providing constant redirection and support as I search the shelves for a size 7. Show me that picture of the 10 year old with no friends climbing into his mom’s car to drive 30 miles to his specialized school where he will receive the best available education/instruction for kids with autism. But you don’t need a notebook or pen for this school. Since his brain was fried at 18 months of age, writing is a skill that doesn’t seem to be achievable. But hey … there’s always typing right? Now how about the 30 mile drive back to my office after drop off when I spend the time with Howard Stern at full volume in an attempt to drown out the “what if’s” and “what will I/he/we do when ______” that wont shut the fuck up in my head.
My beautiful, silly boy turns 11 on September 14th. Isn’t that great? Sure. On paper. Before I go on, just understand that I truly am thankful for his health and the strengths he has and the blessing of his school placement and home team and all of that. But also understand that I mourn deeply for all of the things he doesn’t have. Things he may or may not want because we just don’t know. He can’t tell us. I mourn for things I can’t imagine him having as he ages. No, I’m not discounting the progress he’s made. And, I’m not disbelieving that he will make amazing strides in the coming years. But I also owe it to him to remain realistic and to plan accordingly. What’s that saying? Assume the best, but prepare for the worst? Something like that. I can drown in this darkness. I allow myself a few tears – usually in the morning before the day starts – I mourn this yearly celebration of how far behind we will always be.
And the newest, freshest loss that is remembered in the fall is the loss of my rock, my confidant, my strongest support system I’ve ever known. Sure she was my mother in law, but in reality she was the mother I never had. The mother I never knew was possible. I miss her every second of every day. I know my son does too. I know he can’t express that pain, but it’s there. How could it not be? She was there for every single celebration and every single heartache. She comforted all of us. All of that is gone. Left behind is just emptiness. My family is shattered by the loss. Nothing will ever be the same.
So forgive me if I don’t celebrate September and this season of death and loss. I’m too busy keeping the promise I made mom almost 12 months ago … to take care of her boys.