I used to think denial was something people chose when they refused to deal with their emotions. Now, I know it really is impossible to grieve without first denying.
After dealing with the grief of my middle son’s diagnosis, I thought I would be fine if my third son also had a diagnosis. I recently realized I’m totally not.
I’ve thought, “I’ll get him help now, and prevent any further problems. I can stop this before it starts.” I didn’t realize it at first, but I was trying to be in control. When am I going to give it up? I thought I was just doing everything I could, which I am, but I think I actually thought I could prevent a diagnosis from developing. I thought, by starting him in services, I was accepting his delays, and therefore not allowing myself to go into denial. But, I suddenly became aware, there’s no skipping it.
I finally hit the wall and realized I may very likely have two children on the spectrum, and I fell apart. No matter how much I try to think about it and prepare myself, I am not ever going to be OK with my perfect, innocent baby not being healthy. I will never understand how a child can be denied equal opportunity in life, from birth. He never even had a chance. A lot of people tell themselves people at a disadvantage somehow earned their stake in life, but it just isn’t true. We may not want to accept that reality, but it’s the world we live in, and for many of us, the world we have to help our innocent children through.
No matter how fervently I work, I will likely remain in denial until I receive a diagnosis, and I’m in no hurry. There is no use thinking about or trying to prepare for a diagnosis until we actually have one, because I will grieve then. No point in going through that twice. So, for now, I choose denial. Or as Daddy refers to it, “hope.”