It has been almost three weeks since my dad died and I still haven’t fully comprehended that he is gone. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what my dad would be feeling about this situation. How would he feel about the decisions we have to make about where to place Matthew (if we are lucky enough to have a choice), how would he feel about my decision to tell our story so freely? My dad rarely opened up about his life with Matt and I believe he kept his experiences to himself for several reasons. I think that the main reason was that he never wanted anyone to view him as anything more than a father doing all that he could for his child. He would have hated all of this attention praising him for something that he felt was just part of being a dad. I suspect he didn’t open up about the difficulty of being Matt’s dad because he didn’t view it as a difficulty to begin with. My father felt that the challenges that life presents to us are placed there to teach us lessons. There is a lesson to be learned from each and every hardship given to us, or as Richard Bach said in his book Illusions, “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”
Because I know that this is how my dad viewed his life, I feel uneasy about how I have chosen to describe Matt’s presence in our lives. I have decided that spreading awareness of the challenges that exist across the spectrum is something I need to do and I can do this by sharing our story, but I can’t in good conscious share only one side of who Matt is. I have opened up about the hardships that Matt’s autism has presented us with, but I have yet to show a side that so many have not had the privilege to experience. I made this video to show others another side of Matt and to remind myself in this difficult time that every challenge presented has a gift in its hands.