(this post was written on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, one day after Keller’s autism diagnosis)
These days will now always be labeled differently. There will be the days before the diagnosis and the days after the diagnosis. We will vividly remember the feelings before and after the day. We will remember the tears, the questions, the pain, and the unknown future.
I want to share on the day after the diagnosis. I want to remember these days. Remember my choices. Remember the raw emotions. And remember the hope that God brought into my broken heart.
Yesterday felt like a movie. We sat in a doctor’s office and she was talking to us, telling us of Keller’s diagnosis and beginning to explain things to us. But I couldn’t move past the word ‘AUTISM.’ And I was having an inner dialogue as she spoke. I thought, wait did she just say autism? No surely she just meant sensory issues or quirky personality. She didn’t say that word. She couldn’t have said that word…
And then I snapped back into reality. She had said that word. Keller had just been diagnosed with autism.
We will always remember yesterday. The day of the diagnosis.
I often feel that labels can be hurtful and hold us down. God is bigger than labels. But in this case, a diagnosis is helpful, as I am already learning. We will always have a different journey with Keller in helping him to learn, speak, eat, and interact with others. He will most likely have a full and joy-filled life. But it will be a journey. And we will always need and WANT to consider autism.
Keller has always been a different kid. He is introverted. He loves certain toys like trucks and his pillow. He doesn’t want to stand still. He has his own ‘language.’ He does things his own way. Some of these things that were once cute and now concerning.
Don’t get me wrong, we couldn’t love Keller more than we do. We adore him and enjoy him. But he is different. And we have realized that these ‘different’ things are not just things he will grow out of. We will need to work through them. Either he will grow out of them or we will learn to accept them. Our lives will look different. Kieren’s life will look different. Keller’s life will be different from other kids.
When you have a child you have so many dreams. As they grow your dreams for them grow. You hope for so much. You yearn for so much. But overall you just want a healthy child. Keller is physically perfectly healthy, but his brain isn’t working as it should for his age. So we have a new journey.
Autism is described and defined in so many ways, and Casey and I now have lots to learn. To my pea-sized and heartbroken brain, it seems that it is a complex developmental brain disorder. It affects the way Keller perceives the world and can make social interaction and communication difficult.
Honestly, just in our beginning reading we know that this diagnosis is true. There are many, many cases that are much more severe, and so we are thankful, but it is autism.
I am writing this today to mark this day. I want to mark the day after the diagnosis. The day after a sea of tears. The day after more questions swimming in my brain then I have ever had. The day after I started to see Keller in a completely different way. The day after I realized that many of my own dreams and goals would be put on hold. The day after after it all changed.
But God’s small voice is calling to me on this day. In my tears HE is speaking and drawing close to my broken heart. He is already reminding me that all my dreams are nothing compared to HIM. He defines my life, He defines fullness and abundance. He is everything.
This worship song came on today and it focused my heart on Him. I pray in the sea of the feelings I will encounter ahead that God will continue to reach into my darkness and show His love. I know He will.
“Everyone has their obsession
Consuming thoughts, consuming time
They hold high their prized possession
That defines the meaning of their lives
You are mine”