By Suzy Moon
(Editor’s Note: This is an experience that was recently shared with me. I received an email from a colleague of mine. It is heartfelt and raw. It flows from the soul of a mother who is trying, like the rest of us, to make sense of this earthly existence. I share this with permission from my friend and colleague. She only hopes that by sharing this experience, it can help to lighten the burden of another who reads it.)
“I have a son who is 24 years old. He is funny, talented and kind. He also has autism. He is a great kid. Earlier this week, I dropped him off at a residential home for high functioning autistic adults. During the orientation, Josh cried for 35 minutes. I don’t remember the last time I saw Josh cry. I think it has been over 20 years. He’s not emotional like I am. It broke my heart.
I saw some parallels to the parents who bring their kids to our programs. I know that the time Josh spends at Scenic View can be a positive change in his life that can create wonderful opportunities for his future. I wondered, though, if he thought I was abandoning him and would rather have him there than at home with me. At no point did he say that he did not want to stay, or did not want to do this. That is not who Josh is. He stayed, because he thought that is what I wanted him to do.
I left him, hoping that they will see the positive things I see in him, and love him, and look out for him. I hope he will make friends and fit in. I hope that his time there will make him a better person, someone who is more ready to face the world we live in. I hope that he will succeed.
I saw similarities even as I sat in an office with an admissions director and financial coordinator, discussing how I would pay for this, and wondering myself. I thought of the parents of our students, who know that paying for our programs may be a struggle, but hoping that the sacrifice will be worth it.
I do believe that the people who are a part of our treatment organization are doing this because we truly feel like we can make a difference in the lives of the children we treat. I feel blessed to work for the Ascent Companies. I truly feel like we have the opportunity to change people’s lives.
I hope that today I have a little more compassion and empathy than I had before. I hope that I will be slower to judge and a little more understanding, that through my experience, I can make someone else’s experience with us a little better.”