I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. Cheery, huh?! A few things have set these thoughts loose; last week I attended the funeral of my oldest friend’s father. His passing has made me ridiculously aware that none of us are getting younger, and our parents are actually pensioners! Like, actual old people! (sorry Mom and Dad, but you know it’s true 🙁 ) Even though they don’t look it, or act it and it’s a very scary, but very real thought that they won’t be around forever. And neither will Dave or I.
Secondly, I have been suffering with painful joints and a bad back lately. These are things I’ve always associated with old age, not meant for someone who is young. Oh, but wait. I’m not young any more. I’m approaching middle age (or am I there already?) and I need to take better care of myself so that I can prolong being around for those who need me. I know the doctor would tell me to lose weight before investigating other causes, so I weighed myself after finally forcing myself to replace the batteries in the scales. It wasn’t pretty. I’m making a more concerted effort to eat more healthily and start to exercise more. I am. Just as soon as I finish all the chocolate, cakes, biscuits, crisps, wine….
Lastly, I read a post by the lovely Cat on a Trampoline on Facebook describing her thoughts around arrangements for her children should the unthinkable happen. It forced me to ponder on it too and, although unthinkable, it’s inevitable. Eventually. And then what? What happens to my kids?
Obviously, I’m rather hoping that things won’t change for a long, long time yet. And by then, H should just about be able to look after himself. Maybe. He is a male, after all. He should be able to manage in some capacity. But what will happen to Tink? Who will look out for her? Who will be her advocate, her voice, her stability? Will H be able to care for her? Will he even want to, or be in a position to? Bear in mind, we don’t yet know what kind of capabilities she will or won’t have. She may be perfectly adequate at looking after herself; she might have a job, a partner, her own place to live and doing just fine, thank you very much. Or she may not. She might need looking after for the rest of her life. She may never work, she may never be able to complete tasks we take for granted, such as keeping herself clean, washing her clothes, preparing her meals. She may not be able to manage money or be able to even go shopping alone. I think a lot of people forget that autism is a life-long condition. It doesn’t go away. A child with autism will become an adult with autism…
So it’s our job to start putting in the graft now so that she is armed with all the tools, tricks and methods to be able to cope as well as possible with as little help as possible from others. We also have to start thinking about what will happen if anything untoward occurred to Dave and me. Who can we ask to take on the huge responsibility of looking after our children? And even if we make it to a grand old age, Tink will more than likely need some kind of care into her own ageing years, and I dread to think what kind of provision is out there for that! Maybe things will be different by then. The lovely Blooming Autism has also blogged on this subject this week, so it’s clearly something that is troubling a
few lot of us, I am sure.
Hopefully, increased awareness and acceptance of autism spectrum conditions will mean a much easier world for Tink and others in her situation in years to come?