Friday, November 25, 2016


Today's #FridayReflections post: "Since today is Thanksgiving Day, write a post on the subject of gratitude."

My father suffered a traumatic brain injury during his service in World War II, which left him with lifetime seizures.  Medication could not completely control them.  Without the medication, he suffered from what was then called grand mal seizures-I believe the modern term is tonic-clonic.  With medication, most of the seizures were downsized to what they then called petit-mal.  Now, I believe,they would be called absence seizures.  Whatever they were called, I saw some of the discrimination my Dad suffered.

But it didn't stop him from being a wonderful father.  I have many treasured memories of him.  My Dad used to love to watch houses being built.  We were never able to afford one, but on Sundays, he would take me for walks and we would walk to houses under construction.  Perhaps he would dream.  I would listen to baseball games on a tinny transistor radio.

Thankfully, although some individuals with autism suffer from seizures, I have never seen my brother in law "Bil"  have one. But, when he was young, he was suspected of having seizures.  He was put on a medication, Depakene, that made him so sick that his mother took him off.

Today, the day after our American Thanksgiving  I want to share the story of a mother who has a child with epilepsy - and how those with epilepsy can be taken from us at any time due to a condition that many of us have never even heard of.

It's a scary thing, these unknown countries that co exist with the countries of good health.  I am grateful for the many good things in my life:

The people I spent Thanksgiving with.
The smell of roast turkey, the taste of eggnog.
The full bellies we had the opportunity to have.

I am grateful for Bil's physical health and the Internet that allows me to blog about him and about life in general.  I am grateful that society has changed in Bil's fifty-something years of life, so that he is more accepted in society.  Today I pause in gratefulness.

What are you grateful for?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Being Who I Am

I have a confession to you, my readers participating in #FridayReflections.

My post today is inspired by this quote:  “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” – Bernard M. Baruch.

It is so hard to know the direction I want to take this blog.  You may have noticed that, several times, I've taken this blog in various experimental directions.  For instance, several weeks ago, I participated in a five minute free writing challenge from a weekly prompt.  The free writing was fun, but I don't think I will participate in that particular challenge again.

Before then, I posted in a Skywatch Friday. I enjoy Skywatch and participate using my other blog. The problem is that my developmentally disabled brother in law Bil, who I blog about here, doesn't take photos.

If he did, a blog where photographers post pictures of the sky each Friday would be a wonderful showcase for him.  Bil loves the weather after all.  But he doesn't.

I even thought about writing a book with this blog, but I am not sure if anything I write can can add value to the topic of caring for an adult with autism.

So,  I found myself lost.

I don't want to share these posts and connect with others on Facebook, as Facebook prohibits multiple accounts, and I don't want to post this under my real name for various reasons.  Most blogging challenges I know about require Facebook participation.  After the Presidential election here in the States, I am trying to limit my Facebook time to save my sanity.

Perhaps, this is a good thing, because I will have time to iron this out without worrying about pleasing readers.

Since I started this blog years ago, I only wanted to say what I felt, and be true to myself and to "Bil".  So I will continue on that path.  Even if I rant a little sometimes.  But there will be joy, too.

I, again, invite you to join me on this Unknown Journey.

Come visit the other bloggers reflecting on FridayReflections and Make Your Words Count.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Why Fairy Tales Are More Than True

The United States Presidential election is over.  "Bil", my brother in law with autism, proudly voted.

He needed his brother's (my husband's) help.  He didn't understand much beyond the President and the vote for Senator. He's only lived here a little more than a year, and knew nothing about local candidates.  So he only voted for what he understood, and that's good.

But, in a way, his troubles may have only started.

I wonder what Bil thinks of all the post-election stuff happening - the fear, the protests.  He doesn't engage in any social media. He doesn't own a computer, a smart phone, or a tablet, and I decided years ago not to encourage it.  He is too naive - he is black and white in a grey, grey world.

Does he realize there are people out there who hate him, that consider him less than human, because of his disability?

Does he realize some of those haters want people like him gone from our society?  That isn't restricted to the United States, either.

Our President-Elect has not discouraged these haters, and there are, in fact, anecdotal reports of hate graffiti and worse since the election ended.

This is going to be a long four years for Bil, although he does not know it yet.

Which leads me to #FridayReflections.  One of the prompts is "What 10 things do you hope to be remembered by?  The first one would be "That I helped to make a better life for my disabled brother in law." because if we don't, who will, especially with all the incidents of hate taking place in our country?

Here are the others.

That I tried to make this Earth, in my own little way, a better place than it was on my day of birth;
That I raised a child who grew up to be honorable and hardworking;
That I remained true to my beliefs and did not give into hate (it's so easy to);
That I gave faithfulness and joy to the man I chose to spend my life with;
That I helped others with my skills;
That I did not misuse the talents I was granted from above;
That I honored the memory of those who came before me;
That I will be remembered for the good things I did and not the bad; and
That I recorded the beauty of this world and of the times I lived in.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman.  

I hope Neil Gaiman is right, because I fear we are going to be seeing a lot of dragons in the coming months and years.

Please visit the other blogs linked to #FridayReflections.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Humorists #FridayReflections

Today, on #FridayReflections, the prompt is:  “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” There is a certain alchemy about words and the process of expressing yourself.

Bil, my developmentally disabled brother in law, has problems communicating but, without fail, he is always true to himselfHere's one example:

There is very little, in my opinion, funny about the upcoming Presidential election.

Bil, however, thinks in different ways than many of us.  Having autism means that it is difficult, many times, for him to communicate his thoughts with us.  If he laughs, it is (many times) at private jokes. He will burst out laughing at the dinner table or while listening to some of us talk, whether or not the topic of discussion is funny (to us, that is).

Bil goes to a day program two or three times a week, where he is encouraged to engage in various activities - exercising, bingo, Sudoku , and even coloring.  A couple of times a year, family members can attend a review of Bil and his progress.

At the last review, my spouse, one of Bil's brothers, was told that Bil likes to tell political jokes.  And apparently, they are good ones (or at least not anything that upsets anyone).

It's nice when you hear about a side of someone else you think you know. It is so hard to know Bil because he is closed off to us so much of the time.

But he loves to watch, to observe.

Which brings me to another man who loves to watch, to observe, and to use his words.

His name is Garrison Keillor and many know him for a weekly show he did for many years until recently - A Prairie Home Companion.

What I never knew, about recently, is that Mr. Keillor is on the autistic spectrum.  Just like Bil.

Is there a hidden Garrison Keillor inside of Bil?  We may never now, but I suspect his inner life is quite rich.  And, every minute, he is true to himself.

Can we say the same?

Come on over to #FridayReflections  and check out what other bloggers have written.