When we were in the midst of our grief and devastation and Autism was so loud and Thomas was smashing walls and windows and swearing and I was doing a lot of howling and a little swearing myself… well we weren’t easy to live beside… I felt the judgements of neighbours and at this point I knew I had two choices… to feel judged and then angry at them for judging… or invite them in to my story and ask them to understand… so I wrote this letter… there may have still been some that didn’t get it, but it made me feel lighter!
I know that you have been hearing a lot of negative stuff coming from our house.
You have been hearing walls broken, glass breaking, swearing and cussing and me screaming and crying… I have heard you slam your windows in frustration and I don’t blame you… I wish I could shut it out just like that, but I can’t because I live here.
I am sorry for all of the above, I know it must not be easy or fun living beside us, and I got to tell you, it sure isn’t easy living with us!
You see, the reason for all of this noise and negativity is not because I am hurting my kids or I am totally dysfunctional… although I dare say I am a little dysfunctional right now. You see my Husband has just passed away and my youngest son is living with Autism… and Autism with grief along for the ride is a tough taskmaster.
Thomas has not got the verbal ability to express his grief so he ‘expresses’ it on the walls, the windows, us and with all that foul language (yes, by some miracle he knows a few of those words), and yes, I lose it sometimes too and start acting about the same.
So, I do respect that you have every right to your peace and quiet, but while I am worrying about you, if you are hearing me and judging me… well I just get worse as a parent, I have no patience and feel like I may explode. So I just ask for your understanding through this time while I get a grip on all of this…
Thank you, I do appreciate you all…
And after I dropped this letter in all of the neighbours’ letter boxes within hearing distance I got many letters of support and empathy back.
We can’t expect people to know what is going on in our lives, sometimes it will be our job (yes and with everything else you have going on), to invite them in to your vulnerability and your situation. This then gives them an opportunity to love and support you instead of assume and judge you.