A journey through grief with autism.

Alan Greenwell

2-Minute Read


An idea was given to me early on to put together a memory box of things for Tam to use when he is thinking of Mammy.

Tam’s school provided the box and I set to filling it. It was a difficult thing to do at the time. Now looking into the things I have put into it and the reverence and care give to the box and it’s contents it was well worthwhile.

The box has photos, perfume, a pair of socks, some keys, her purse and all kinds of other things.

Tam does not often pick it up and look in it, its kind of a big event when he does. He is quiet and he looks through the box with so much care.

Well I get something into my head that the memory box is a help to both me and Tam. So i decided to extend the idea to a memory wall. I see-sawed over the idea for a few weeks and one day I was out and saw some bright orange paint. Orange was Bev’s favourite colour. I bought the paint.

A few days later I had a bright orange wall, a bunch of photos printed and some frames delivered and I completed the wall.

I was so anxious when I picked Tam up from school to take him home to see this memory wall.

He sat and looked at each photo. Not upset in anyway. He pulled me close and pointed at a picture and pressed my throat. His signal to “tell me about this”. So i explained to him about the day we took the photo. He listened intently. He pointed at the next photo and pressed my throat and explained. This went on for a couple of hours. No upset, no crying, just a big set of moments between us. To this day we still have moments where he asks for the story behind the photo. Its our chill time, it our moment of reflection, its our sweet memories of our loved one that is still with us in our hearts but missed more each day.

Both the memory box and wall where hard things to do at the time but have been such powerful things for both me and Tam to use to reflect on the wonderful times we had with Bev.

Be good to yourself, tell the ones you love that you love them and take care,


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