Since starting this blog I have wanted to talk about my eldest son Owen, but have not known how to go about starting a post about him. As a big believer in fate the perfect catalyst presented itself to me earlier this week and delivered me the perfect post.
Before I present that post I just want to give a bit of background to a tale of two boys. Two boys that do NOT get along. We all know siblings fight but our house on occasion has been utterly heartbreaking with the level of dislike and resentment that Owen has for his Autistic brother.
Soon after Ryan’s diagnosis I purchased a book titled ‘Everybody is Different. A book for young people who have brothers or sisters with Autism’ by Fiona Bleach. I brought this book for Owen in an attempt for him to better understand the difficulties that Ryan faces. It is an excellent book and very well written, Owen did read it all with me, but overall it has not helped him to accept Ryan’s differbility. He resents too much the disruption it has caused all of us over the years.
On Tuesday July 1st I received the following email forwarded to me by my father in law from his partner. My father in law had sent her a link to our blog as she had not yet seen it. This is what she sent to him in reply:
My heart bleeds for Sarah, Duncan, and my darling Ryan, what a tragedy for the family, it puts so much pressure on daily living,
I must say Duncan is a wonderful father, he is so calm and loving to his boys. Poor Sarah, finds dealing with Ryan's medical problems very stressful, as all mothers do.
Ryan is a very lucky lad having such wonderful parents, (unfortunately Ryan doesn't realise how lucky he is) because I know other families in this situation (the husband just walks away from it), leaving a single mother to cope with all this stress.
You should be so proud of your son, he is one on a million, coping with his own health issues, then all this traumatic stress on top of it wish we could do something to help.
Now this truly touched me as I am sure you will understand and it took me a while to process and formulate a suitable response a copy of which now follows that I believe perfectly sums up exactly what I wanted to say about Owen all along.
Thank you for sharing your emails with me it is truly comforting to know we have support from literally all around the globe. There is honestly no need to feel sorry or heart-broken for us. We know no different and have it relatively easy compared to some.
The one person I do feel for however, is Owen. He has missed out on so much because we have had to focus our attention on Ryan. I know that he resents Ryan's Autism and struggles more than any of us to make sense or understand it. He has had to witness meltdowns and be laughed at in school because his brother is a 'freak'. Yes that word has been used many times along with regular occurrences of 'Retard' which has to be one of the most hateful, spiteful and down-right narrow-minded of all bullying words possible.
I know that Owen doesn't believe us when we tell him how proud we are of him. His academic achievements continue to astound us and he has been passionately playing football at a serious level since he was four years old. Owen has been playing for 11 years now and shows dedication and commitment beyond anything we could have ever dreamed of. He is loving, caring, well mannered and doesn't believe in any form of discrimination, racism, homophobia etc at all, and has in fact been involved in confrontations in school where he has intervened and stood up for people facing these criticisms.
I suppose, partly, he doesn't believe us because words can't really describe how proud we are of him.