Saying Goodbye

timthumb.phpKatie and I are on vacation this week, getting some much needed rest and relaxation on the Sonoma Coast. This place has never failed to provide both of us with much needed solace and sanctuary. I am grateful that we can return once again and heal our weary spirits.

Katie’s extended school year has finally concluded. We said goodbye to Caroline last week, and I think all parties were relieved. I like Caroline a lot, but asking one person to solve seven months of school failure was an impossible task—for her or anyone else.

No one, whether aide or student, should be set up to fail. And yet, that’s pretty much what happened in my home this spring. It’s disappointing and definitely not what I thought would happen. But I have learned that things rarely turn out as expected in Autismland.

You do your best, learn from your mistakes, and adjust course.

Young Student Moving Toward GraduationThere are still no openings in any of the non-public schools that I visited this spring. I have called and called (as has the school district), and although Katie is first on the waiting list for the school that I prefer, currently no available space exists. We are waiting until August 12th, and then I must make a tough decision.

I am doing my best not to obsess about the situation until then because the options are not good. Not good at all.

Summer school will start next week. It’s still in my home. The Special Ed Director said she couldn’t believe I was willing to continue and part of me agrees with her. But despite all the behavior and property destruction this spring, Katie managed to learn more than she has in several years. I feel like we have a little educational momentum, and I want to keep it going.

We have made adjustments, and my fingers are crossed. What else can I do?

Monica Martinez, my fellow autism mom and friend, died this week after a fierce battle with cancer. I am beyond heartbroken for her and her family. Please hold Monica, her husband Mark, and her sons Caleb and Joshua in your hearts. Josh is a friend and former classmate of my daughter Katie. He is such a sweet kid.

There are no words to express my profound sadness at this tragic loss. As I said before, it’s bad enough when any twelve-year-old loses his mother to cancer. But a barely verbal autistic child?

There are no words. For Josh. For me. For anyone.

No words.

Josh and Katie with their teacher and aides at Outdoor Education Camp, October 2014.

Josh and Katie with their teacher and aides at Outdoor Education Camp, October 2014.


After experiencing what I’ve experienced in my unplanned life, I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. Everything. But I can see no reason for this senseless loss. No reason at all. Except perhaps to remind the rest of us how incredibly precious life truly is.

Life is short, far too short. Please don’t squander it. Go out and live (and love) as if this might be your last week.

Until next time,

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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One Response to Saying Goodbye

  1. Pingback: An Ode to Johnny | CYNTHIA J. PATTON

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