One of the greatest fears I have had over the last number of years as my parents got increasingly older was for them to both pass away and I would be left an orphan – totally alone in the big wide world.
These days I face that fear directly on as I face losing my Mom, my last living parent. This fear has been so great that 2 years ago I was in a very dark place where I concluded that once Mom died there was nothing left for me on this earth. I planned on taking my own life after Mom went so I could be with her and Dad in Heaven. This was a certainty for me. Being left as an orphan somehow had morphed into a nightmare of the worst kind.
I did not understand these feelings I had. I just knew they were there full force, staring me in the face and taunting me. I did not want to be an orphan, alone, alone alone……..
I also did not understand the whys of these feelings until I read a book the other day called “Death of a Parent”. In it, it talked about the universal loss we all go through. We all lose our parents and we become the next generation. Our mortality looms in front of us and our history of being a child disappears. We are now a full-fledged adult.
I don’t know if it has anything to do with my autism but I have always been scared silly of growing up. There was comfort in being the child. Being the child meant that when I was needy and didn’t understand the world, I could seek out help. Children rely on parents and other adults to care for them, to help them, to guide them. As an “adult” I still rely heavily on others to help me maneuver through this overwhelming world. This is hard enough for any normal adult but for an adult with autism the world is a very scary place. So for me to suddenly lose my “child” status when my Mom dies is earth shattering. Can I still ask for help when I need it?? Am I supposed to be able to all of a sudden manage everything that at the moment I can’t?? Suddenly becoming ONLY an adult is a 360 degree change and change and autism DO NOT GET ALONG! Who will I be?? I have enough trouble understanding who I am now. How on earth will I ever figure out who I am as an ADULT? I don’t know if I am making sense to most of you reading this. I have always coveted the CHILD position in my identity. Losing Mom will change all that…… or will it??
What if…..what if….. what if losing my identity as a child gives me the FREEDOM to explore my life as an adult? What if it could actually be a positive thing?? What if it means I no longer need to listen to the tapes of who I have been to my parents ( even though I have loved them both dearly, I have lived with an identity of shame, belittlement at times, neglect and much hurt). What if I can create NEW tapes of who I am? What if I can see the future as an adventure of discovery and creativity and new beginnings instead a dead end? Sure, there will certainly be much grief. I know that for certain. But could the grief be transformed into hope, renewal instead of a pit of despair of which I can’t escape from. I think of the caterpillar and it’s transformation into a butterfly. It literally has to die to self to be transformed into a new creation. New life can rise out of death. Just as Mom can have new life in Heaven, I am sure she would want me to live a life here on earth where I would continue to grow, transform, create and love.
I picked the photo for this blog of the lion with the child for a very special reason. It may seem like a strange choice but just hear me out. I may lose my CHILD status here on earth when Mom dies but I am an eternal child of the King, the LION OF JUDAH, my God. I am eternally HIS child. When I am scared, lonely, needing comfort or advice I have a Heavenly parent that I can go to anytime of the day or night. I can climb up into the King of the Universe’s lap and rest in His unconditional love knowing my Abba Father will take the best care of me ever!!!!