Early morning conversation with the boy - 9/15/08

I've been having a rough time, recently. I'm having a difficult time, financially, because gas and just about everything else is getting more expensive and we've been living on a fixed income for years. Also, I got into an argument with my folks, yesterday, because I pointed out that Republican shenanigans are why my Mom's retirement account with AIG is in jeopardy. They're both hard-core Religious-Right Republicans and my Mom actually ended up shouting at me about it, telling me to "shut the fuck up!" (She rarely cusses...) It didn't matter if I was right, they were entitled to their opinion. Pointing out that you can't have an opinion that's contrary to actual facts only made it worse. Naturally this stirred my ever-lurking insomnia and when I got up at 6am, this morning, to get the kids bathed and fed before school, I was feeling pretty rocky.

My girl is autistic and for some reason was really pissed off that I put syrup on her waffles so she was yelling and screaming all through breakfast. A little while later I was just chattering at her while I was dressing her (she's completely non-verbal all conversations with her are one-sided) and told her that I was going to be taking care of her for the rest of my life, so she'd just better get used to putting up with me.

My son heard this, and immediately hopped over to where we were sitting and asked, "When you die, can I take care of her?"

I told him, "Well, son, that'd be very nice of you, but I don't know if you'll really want to. By then you'll have a wife and kids of your own, and you may not be in a position to."

I then turned back to my daughter, putting her shoes on, and continued, "Which is sad because when I'm gone she'll have to go into an institution, and there won't anybody who loves her, there."

And I started to cry.

I wasn't expecting it. It just flooded over me. The realization that this poor girl, a grown woman by then, who simply can't make sense of her world, will be shuffled off into some sort of institution where she'll be stored away to count down the rest of her days. 5 hankies.

** Addendum **

This was an unusual event for me. As this diary illustrates, I cry a lot, and all sorts of things can trip me up and push me past my emotional tipping point, but rarely do I cry about events in my own life. Which, when you look at the facts of my life - widowed at 28, lost the love of my life who was pregnant with a son I never got the opportunity to know, and an autistic daughter that I'll likely be caregiver to for the rest of my life - is really astounding.

There are days I feel put upon by the universe, and days I feel sorry for myself and inwardly grumble that my life couldn't have at least been simpler, if not altogether more fortunate. But since I finished grieving for my wife and second son (which did take about 2 1/2 years, though) - but once I finished grieving their loss, I rarely am made sad by my own circumstances. Today, really, it wasn't even my own circumstance that made me sad. It was the idea that there will be a time in my daughter's life that she won't have somebody who loves her as much as I do. Hell, even typing that sentence is making me teary-eyed, again, but it's not for me - it's for her.

I spent the better part of this afternoon absolutely crying my eyes out. I mean wracking sobs and using up most of a box of tissue. Every time I'd try to come back to this post to edit or finish it, it'd set me off again and I wouldn't be able to do anything. I guess once I do have a chance to stop and think about the tragedies that are happening to me and mine, it hits me much harder than all these times when I merely get misty-eyed over a touching movie scene or a tragic comic book hero.