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All Alone


mscat
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I really do n ot know what to do with myself right now. My son has left to go on a mini vacation with his grandfather. My son is turning 17yrs old on Tuesday. He has autism.. He is verbal and is a sweetheart. I have raised him as a single parent all of his life . It is the first time he has been away from me without having to be.

Now I am going stir crazy. I spend much of my time and love raising him , now he is gone . I was raised in a foster home , and was never formally adopted. Inside of my head I fear that I will never see my own child again. I was not envited to go which I do not mind. It just hurts that they did not even ask , and only wanted my son to go. I said Yes that he could go without really thinking how things were going to be without him, and all these bad feelings that are going on.

I am not very close to the people who raised me, I am very different from them. I heard my son crying last night , he never cries . He is or was full of anxiety about going, and I felt so bad . I told him he did not have to go, however he wanted to , yet was upset.

Time is going by very slowly, all I want is for this to be over with and he is home safe .This is killing me.:rolleyes:

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There comes a time when children are supposed to leave but, having poured all kinds of love into them, it can be difficult to let go. If this is the first time your son has been away it's understandable that you'd experience some anxiety about it. For most children however, they will eventually leave home entirely.

This can be a blessing of sorts because it frees up time and energy for you to develop your life and follow up on interests and activities you couldn't do before. Maybe now is time to start exploring those options. It doesn't mean abandoning him, merely finding some other areas of life that might offer fulfillment. There might also be things you can do to help foster your son's independence so that way, you're both more capable of weathering the inevitable storm of separation.

I can't claim to be very knowledgeable about autism -- is your son's condition such that he could never live independently? If so, then you might be able to delay the inevitable. He will still have to develop those skills though because as parents, we're not going to be around forever either. At some point in time, your son will have to function without you.

Maybe for now, if you think it will bring you some measure of reassurance and won't add to your distress, give him a call and just check to see how things are going. Let him know that you love him, express your faith in his ability to manage on his own and then, find something to keep yourself busy with in his absence and after his return.

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He also has M.R. and will not be able to live on his own. We are very close , and Yes, it is the first time he has spent the night over my families home so it is difficult. Having a stormy relationship with this side of the family makes things hard to let go.

I also have my own personal issues surrounding this, being left alone ect. It is not so easy .

The T.V is on , but that does not help with the emptiness. I reaslise just how much I have invested my love and time , dedication I have towards my son.

It may be unrealististic , however, their is this sense of loss that has swept over me. I am tempted to take some pills to knock me out just so I do not have to feel this sadness.

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Mscat: I don't know if this will help you, but there is a term used for what you are feeling. I see it as an attack of Early "Empty Nest Syndrome". Parents experience it first when their small child goes to spend the night with other family or a friend. You sit by the phone, hoping they are OK. By the time they are a bit older and they have been away on more sleepovers, away on school trips etc, you're more accustomed to their being away, but still you're left without those things you normally do with them in the evenings. (My one daughter (17) is Type 1 diabetic so ANYTIME she sleeps anywhere but at her dad's I have that nervous alertness from concern that her blood sugar will drop too low in the night and she'll have convulsions - it has happened a couple of times. When my other daughter went to university I was lost for months as her sister then went to live with her dad as well. Empty nest.)

I'd imagine that since your son has not spent as many of these days and nights away from you when he was small, this is what you are experiencing? Knowing this doesn't make it easier but it does mean that it is quite normal and appropriate to feel lost and empty. Your central focus has gone, of course you are left with a hole.

I second Ken Ian's advice. Get busy making or doing something for him. Decorate your house with a big Welcome Home banner made from sheets of paper? The T-shirt is a great idea. You will have to deliberately fill the time, because it will be empty. Get some DVDs for the evenings? Talk with friends on the phone? Read? Anything that occupies your mind so it doesn't wander off to bad spaces in your head.

I'm glad it is temporary. :)

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Guest GingerSnap

mscat: Big hug! I know exactly how you feel! If you remember, I have the son with Down syndrome who is turning 24 on this Saturday. Everyone is always tell me that I need time for myself which, after 24 years, I don't know what to do with time for myself.:confused: I just pulled him out of the day center (they have endangered his life more than once and I am getting the message at this point that for "people like him", this is basically how it goes) and they are telling me that I need a break from him which might be true but I am so concerned for his welfare, with extremely good cause, that while he is away, I am more stressed out and at loose ends than when he is with me. I mostly homeschooled him because I could not tolerate the way he was treated in school as he functions at the pre-school level. Other people have a hard time getting it. I once saw a family in NC on tv that adopted a bunch of special needs children (very disabled ones) and the interviewer asked them "Well, how do you ever get out to enjoy yourselves?" and the sweet mother said "We enjoy ourselves being at home with the children." and the news reporter just got a perplexed look on her face.:) My dream would be to find a wonderful residential setting for my son with a day program where he would be stimulated (if not, he just becomes a dull little man) but I have looked and looked and nothing is more than "gets him by". He is a peaceful soul for the most part and the people in the programs take advantage of him especially because he barely communicates. What you are feeling is normal as with my older son, he left home years ago as he is 34 now and it broke my heart to see him go but I knew that he would flourish, which he did, but with Andrew, I just won't see him shelved, mistreated or forgotten and it doesn't mean that since he is in my life that I do not have a life - I have lived a full life and as you know, our lives have been fuller than those with the "me" time. I understand ms cat. I do wonder how you see your life from here on out as I am wondering how mine will unfold and if we will find a placement for Andrew that he would want as after all this time I am a different person than when this began. I know you have special circumstances because of your past, but it is your past. You know I think you are a great mom and that, my dear, is something to be very proud of. ****Thought of something else - my older son rarely is able to come home now, if Andrew does find a placement, good one, I will be all alone - my husband, the sociopath won't be part of my life - the life I had planned and all the plans that were made. I have a brother but although we have phone contact he lives a thousand miles away and well, we are not a lot alike. So, although freedom sounds good - I would just start running until I dropped.

Edited by GingerSnap
Remembered Somthing
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Thank you guys all so much for the great support and advice . Gingersnap, you are a true inspiration. I am glad that your son is doing well and thatyou have found him a great place to live . I have not got that far yet, an it is hard to even think about my child's long term future. I always felt that he was to stay with me, but, realistically it may not be in the best interest of his needs and wants. Right now my son says he is going to live with me forever, LOL .

I think luna had a very good observation too . I had not thought of it this way. Last year I was Hospitalized for a month in CCU. I cdid not have these feelings than, because I knew my son was OK, now I Honestly think a lot of this has to do with where he is at than anything else. The people who raised me, well it was not all a bed of roses . They are good people though, just very different from I. It would not be right for me to "not" allow my kid to go and have fun , when they all planned on spoiling him.

I did call and talk to Matthew last night. He was having a great time with his cousins , and my brother &sister N law made him a Birthday Cake. I was not expecting that :eek: I got Matt a cake too, LOL . It would of be nice if they let me know? I am kind of feeling BUmmed out that I was not envited, It has been some time that I have felt that this rather have my own child around , than me. This only tells me that I was correct. It really sucks .

I did go to my Biological brothers home last night , and today we are having a BBQ. I am going to go to the store and buy party supplies . My Bro and I will get Balloons ready , streamers and stuff put up ao when he comes home he will be surprised. this will keep my mind busy. thanks for the suggestions.

Cathy

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Guest GingerSnap

mscat: My older son has moved on but the one with Down syndrome is still at home, I confused you - it is the heat! I know that Andrew cannot stay with me forever because I just won't be able to do it as I am 56 and he is going to be 24 and a 24 year old body with a 3 year old mental age - he is into everything constantly.:eek: I don't know where we go from here.

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oops , LOL Gingersnap . Thank you for the clarification. My son, Matthew, he is around the 1 or second grade level. My bother's foster parents have raised a severely handicapped boy who is now 24. He is also at the preschool level mentally. He just began rehab and loves it. My son and him are good friends.

I just recieved an email from my foster sister and it said that 2 of Matt's cousins and my father are headed for Marine World today. That Matthew could not stop talking about seeing his cousins and how excited he is. Matthew does not get to see them much. She sent me pictures.

Glad my son is having a wondeful time. That is all I wanted. I really miss him, and a bit hurt that I could not be there, and was not even envited. I think that this is what is most upsetting. I guess the family figured out that I would not have gone if they tried to envite me in the first place and not have allowed Matthew to go either. Trithfully I am a little put off about the cake... I have plans for Matt and his "real" Birthday.

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Did your son make it back ok, mscat?

Thanks for asking :) He did make it home just fine . He has been away from home before,m just not with my foster father that far away. I know this is why it was so difficult for me , and the fear of something bad happening to him was there.

He had a good time though, and that is what I really wanted for his Birthday. I took my brother , nephew , and my son out for his Birthday yesterday, and we spent the day together doing fun activites.

I am very glad the visit is over. Now , my son will be going back to school on Monday that we need to prepare for. He goes out of town to a special day class , and is not home until 5:30pm. These are the long, hard days coming up that makes it very difficult not to fall back into old behaviors... I am planning on going back to therapy though, however, talking about things brings everything to the surface making it harder to cope.

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