A journey through grief with autism.

Alan Greenwell

4-Minute Read


Written 16th July 23:00

Today has been an emotional day. It is just before midnight and for the first time since Bev died Tam is not with me. He is at a respite centre a few miles away.

Everything started to get hectic last night. I had to sort out a bag for beach day, a bag for Tam’s overnight at the respite centre and his school bag. Beach day required food to be prepared. The overnight bag needed a form filling in and all of his clothes marking. Tam went nuts when I tried to do it with him around. I had to wait for him to be settled in bed, which thankfully did occur. Not sure what I would have done if he did not sleep.

So 2 o’clock in the morning I finished getting the bags organised with just food to prepare in the morning. Off to bed for a few hours sleep.

Just before 6 I was up preparing food that I knew Tam would have and making sure I had everything we needed. We got ready, bit of a problem for Tam as it was not school uniform for beach day and he wanted school uniform on. Eventually got over it. And off to get the taxi to school via the respite centre.

I was like a pack horse. One backpack over one shoulder, another over the shoulder and a holdall being carried. And today Tam wanted loves on every step as we left the flat.

Bag dropped off at the respite centre, on to school. Arrive at school and Tam wants to get on the bus and get to the beach but we had to wait for the bus coming back from getting fuel. Tam does not have a great deal of patience. So time for a quick toilet visit and calm him with a little bit of YouTube time.

Had a great day at the beach, walked the length of the beach and along a headland. Tam was nice and calm, apart from when I pushed him in the water to get him wet. You cannot visit the beach on a lovely summers day and not get wet. Had lots of fun with him. That fun is tinged very much by the person who is not there, Bev. She would have loved today. She would have been in her element and Tam would have been running back and forth between us. I could feel that he was missing his Mum.

Then onto the next emotional part of the day, off to respite. We arrived, Tam jumped out of the taxi, turned to kiss me and said “bye, bye”. I was floored, emotionally floored. I know I had put the work in with Tam to ensure he knew what was going on today and what was expected of him but the way he just left me at the door with a kiss and bye bye. It floored me.

Anyway back at home and I went out for a walk. Over 16k steps today. It felt like I had lost my soul with Tam not being around. It also hit me hard how much I missed Bev. I cried a lot tonight. It felt like the grief was back and it was not finished with me. I also wondered what Bev would be thinking about Tam being in respite. I had loads of unanswered questions about what she would be thinking, if should would be pleased with the things I was doing with Tam. Lots of questions I would never get an answer to. I miss her so much. The pain of her loss gets more everyday.

Final part of the day is that the respite centre called me earlier and basically described my little lads to me. He’s OK. He’s behaving not much different to how he would at home. Hopefully he is tired from a full on day and he sleeps tonight.

All I have to do is still my head and get some sleep. Alarm is on to get him from respite and get him to school. Hope he sleeps.

Sleep well and may all of your dreams come true.


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