Last night the “What-ifs” got the best of me. The “What-ifs” and the thousand little stressors that had built up until they finally crushed me under their weight.
I let them, and I cried.
I’m not like this most of the time. Most of the time I’m strong, and I feel like I have a handle on things. Some days, even, like I can conquer the world for my child with special needs. But a person can only go so long under an immense amount of stress before breaking. It’s only a matter of time, and, for me, that time came last night.
If my husband had found me in this state (as he has too many times to count during our eight years together), he would ask, “What’s wrong?” He always does. But last night, he was working the night shift. So, as I cried against his pillow, the house quiet in the morning’s early hours, I asked myself that question, “What is wrong with me? Why am I crying like this?”
And, as usually is the case when my husband asks me this, I didn’t have an answer. It’s never that easy. For me, when I’m reduced to a sobbing heap, it’s never about one thing. It’s about a million things that have worn me down, leading up to that moment.
Last night, I cried because I was exhausted after taking care of my children all day without my husband there to help.
I cried because I felt like a failure as a mom. I can never do all of the activities I want to do in a day with my special needs son.
I cried because I felt like I couldn’t break through my son’s wall, like I couldn’t reach him or engage him. Like he was a million miles away from me, in his own world, that day.
I cried because those days are happening much too frequently now. I feel like I am swimming to him, with currents pushing against me, stronger all the time, desperate to reach him. To save him, to pull him to shore with me.
I cried because I know I need to be doing more for him, but with endless chores, taking care of his little brother, and managing the household, I have little time to dedicate to one-on-one time with him.
I cried because I have no idea what his future looks like.
I cried because I want so many things for him that just aren’t possible right now. It makes me feel helpless.
I cried because my son can’t talk to me. My heart breaks with every one-way conversation I have with him, but I carry on like his lack of feedback doesn’t bother me.
I cried because, the other day, my son’s preschool teacher told me the kids in his class have pointed out that “he doesn’t talk.”
I cried because while I thought we would only have to deal with a physical disability, I’m starting to realize we are also dealing with a cognitive disability. I’m still processing this, and haven’t come to terms with it.
I cried because I often wonder if he deserves a better mother than me.
I cried because I envisioned having two sons close in age being much different than this. I cried because my sons hardly connect with each other. Most of the time, it’s like they are living in two separate worlds.
I cried thinking about all of the hard conversations I have yet to have.
I cried for these reasons, and many more.
I know it’s perfectly normal and healthy to grieve. In fact, grief is inescapable—it’s a cycle, and sooner or later it comes back around, no matter how much I try to fight it.
So I will let it, and I will grieve for as long, and as hard, as I need to.
And then I will get back up and kick butt once again.
Like I always do.