I sing at my old church the first Sunday of each month. I enjoy singing and truly enjoy those masses. For me, music makes me feel closer to God and it helps me stay focused on where we are in the mass.
I sat in church yesterday and saw an old friend. Our children (Sammy and her daughter) are the same age. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of extreme bitterness. It was enough that for a moment I couldn't breath. It was like being punched in the stomach. Those of you who know me, know that this is NOT like me.
Why would I feel bitter seeing her? I watched her and her daughter interact. Her daughter sat still with no flapping hands or flicking of pages. They are the same age and her daughter appeared light years older than my son. A difference of century between the two. A chasm as great as the Grand Canyon.
I learned a long time ago not to compare Sammy to anyone else, but it happened in the blink of an eye. It was a quick gut wrenching punch that sucked the wind from me.
I feel like we all stood before a firing squad and Sammy was the only one hit. I feel like she dodged a bullet. She got lucky. Her kid is fine. I don't know what her life is like. I don't know what issues her daughter may have. I haven't spoken to her really since Sammy was diagnosed. I wonder if she ever thinks "it could have been me" wen she sees us at church. I wonder if it occurs to her how very lucky she really is. Our children are the same age. There was one other mom that use to come to the crying room with us. Her brother was autistic, she understood. I still see her since our children now go to the same school. Although very different classes. So why do I feel bitterness towards the other woman.
Because it's not fair. It's not. Because I am being judgmental and prickly and mean. Because part of me just sucks. Part of me hates the hand I have been given. Part of me cries and screams that I didn't ask for this I didn't want this I don't deserve this. Part of me wants to run away and cry. Part of me wants to punch autism in the face. Part of me wished I could just make it all go away. Part of me feels judged and pathetic. That part felt bitter and angry that it was my kid and not hers. That part of me is The Bitter Side. The Bitter Side is angry. The Bitter Side is sad,is tired, is done. It's had enough.The Bitter Side wants my life back.
The other part of me... knows I would never wish this on anyone. I love my son. I would do anything for him. The Other Part of me feels blessed to have such an amazing kid with such huge capabilities. The Other Part of me knows he is mine for a reason,there is a blessing in this,I can do it, I am right for this job. The Other Part of me breaks every time I hear of another child being diagnosed with global delays, autism or anything else. The Other Part of me stands tall and hushes The Bitter Side, rocks it gently to sleep with a lullaby and puts it to bed too. The Other Part of me whispers softly to The Bitter Side, another time my dear, but for now just hush.