Telling people about Keller’s diagnosis of autism has been an interesting and foundational part of our new journey. People obviously will want to process a diagnosis like this differently. Some might want to keep it private, others want to share it with people they care about.
My tactic is to basically have verbal diaherrah and tell EVERY PERSON I SEE.
It’s seriously been insane. I don’t know, but there is NOTHING else on my mind since Keller’s diagnosis and I can’t think of anything else. Nothing else matters.
“How are you?” someone asks. “Fine, but Keller has autism…” “I’m hungry but Keller has autism…” “Feeling sleepy but Keller has autism…”
It is the filter through which everything comes through.
We have been completely overwhelmed by the love poured out towards us. People are praying for us and cheering us on. It fills our every moment and my head spins with it all the time. We are so thankful for those who are entering into it with us.
It has been surreal to tell my friends, my close community, here in South Africa. I almost feel like there is a terminal illness in the family, as it shocks people and brings tears to the eyes.
What has touched me most as we have shared this news, is the simplicity and profound connection that can be given in love. I have felt most loved when people have just listened. When people have just been present. When they have kept eye contact and just felt the moment. People want to ‘cheer’ us on and I treasure that, but I haven’t felt like being cheered on. I feel like we are hopelessly human and feeble and God is going to have to carry us every step of the way on this journey. I am not perfect for this path, GOD IS PERFECT. But not all have cheered us on. Many have just grieved. They have just been present. They have just felt with us.
And then people have just been the hands and feet. They have brought us food. They have babysat. They have come to see Keller and connect with him. They have prayed for us in the middle of public places. People have just done. I honestly have felt similarly to what I felt when Kieren had her severe skin burn in 2010. At first I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t get dressed, the most basic of functions were inconceivable. Our friends have just come around us and helped us to live.
Friends, if someone you know or love tells you news similar to ours, I want to encourage you to just be with them. Just be present. Just cry. Say ‘it’s not fair.’ Stomp your feet together. And then help them to carry on. Bring food. Force them to go on dates. Keep showing up and giving hugs and kisses. Pray in public. Just be with them.
Thank you, to those who have been on the other end of “I have something to tell you…” in the past two weeks. You have loved us well. We pray you will keep loving us well. We will need it.