If someone had told me 6 months ago that I would be writing this post, I would have asked what they had been drinking. And maybe if I could have some.
But here I am.
There is a common misconception that people with autism do not feel emotion. I obviously can not speak for everyone, but in my experience, this is totally not true. If anything, the children, including Faith, that I have been blessed to know actually experience emotion more intensely. She feels, and feels deeply.
I’m still not sure of how or why, but Faith has fallen in love with baseball. And not just baseball, but our local AA team. She loves the stadium. The parking lot attendants. The clerks at the Team Store. The group of kids who make up the “Scream Team”. She loves the seats. The hot dogs. She loves watching the moon rise over left field. Watching the between inning acts. She loves singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Singing the players walk-up songs. She loves yelling to the players “Go go go! Do good with your bat!”
She. Loves. Baseball.
But what she loves most…..is “her guys”.
Her guys. The amazing group of young men who have called our town “home” for a few months. These kids who are working their hardest to achieve their dreams. Who play their butts off almost every single day.
Her guys. Who have taken the time…every single game we attended….to welcome Faith. To talk to Faith. To laugh with Faith. To make her feel included in something much bigger. To let her know she is important.
Now the season is over. And her guys have gone back to their hometowns. Some might return. Some won’t.
And Faith is heartbroken. She doesn’t fully understand what has happened. Her guys were here. Now they are gone. The stadium is still here, she can see it. But her guys are gone. She is feeling loss. She is feeling grief. And I don’t know exactly how to help her.
She is going through the stages of grief clearly. She is grieving the connection she forged, the camaraderie she found, the routine we established.
Right after the last game, she was fine: “They will be back tomorrow mommy.” (Denial)
Soon she moved into: “Make those guys come back, now.” (Anger)
She has spent the last week in the next stage. “Tell them I’m sorry I didn’t cheer louder, then will they come back?” “I won’t cry anymore at the games, I promise, can we go to a game now?” “Mommy, I’ll be a good girl, please call them.” (Bargaining)
This morning we have tipped into depression. She woke up this morning and the very first thing she said was. “I just miss my guys so much.” and began crying.
She is breaking my heart and I don’t have any way to fix this.
It’s going to be a long winter.