A journey through grief with autism.

Alan Greenwell

3-Minute Read


One of the things I was told early on in this journey was to “be good to yourself”. I was told this by medical professional, social services, friends, Tams teachers. At the time I could not see how to do this and also what difference it would make. I really could not see how to be good to myself. I had no idea.

2 years later and I am trying to find a way to be “good to myself”. Right now I am working out what to do at the weekend coming. What should I do for myself? Why this weekend? Well, Tam is in respite from Friday afternoon til Monday morning. I need to make the best of this time. I need to recharge my batteries. It has been a very tough few years and an especially rough couple of months. The past few weeks I have really felt defeated.

So back to the question of what should I do with my weekend?

Well, lets look at what I miss, other than Bev, and my Mam and Dad. Firstly, I am writing this at 3:15am and Tam is only just calming down after some really bad dreams. He was in bed and asleep at 9:15pm and was screaming and sobbing an hour later. He came rushing to find Mammy. Asking me to find Mammy. Now he won’t go back to sleep but at least he is calm again. 3:15am, I want to be asleep at 3:15am all weekend. I want to sleep normally all weekend. Go to bed, fall asleep, wake up and get on with the day.

What else do I miss? Every time I ask myself that question I go blank.

Stretching my brain, I need to stretch my brain. I need to learn something new. I am going to sit down in front of the computer and I am going to learn something new. Spend a couple of hours seeing if my brain is capable of learning something still. I am also going to work on a friends website. That’s one thing that will feed my self worth.

I am going to go for a run. Yes, I run. A while after Bev died I found myself running. I don’t think I have actively ran since school and at school I hated it. Since then I have discovered I can run 10 miles and be ok. I used to ask people what people who ran what they were running from. Now I know, I run from the feelings I have cascading around me. I run so that my physical tiredness matches my emotional tiredness.

Watch the TV and have the lights on. Two things that are very difficult to do, Tam will scream at the TV if something comes on he does not like, so it’s easier not to try. I get my news on the phone with a cup of coffee. Having the lights on is something else. He has a routine where he will all of a sudden just switch the lights off and pull up the blinds as if it’s morning. I am working with him to stop this, but for now it’s a task. So having the lights on at night, the blinds down and watch shit on the TV with a takeaway. That’s one of the nights sorted.

So “being good to myself” has some form and function wrapped up. All I need to do is get there and make it happen. I never realised that being good to myself was so much hard work.

Have a great weekend and try and be good to yourself.


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