It isn’t logical, but like I said, the heart trumps the brain on this one. Recently I encountered a problem while collaborating with a group therapist with whom I share a patient.People grieving can go back and forth between stages as they work through them. While my family members struggled with the first four stages of grief, I only struggled with one. The respirator made her lungs expand and collapse – it gave the impression she was breathing. Acceptance, the final stage, can take years to reach and some people may never reach it. Even though a piece of my heart wanted to believe that she was still “in there”, my brain knew she was gone. My patient has progressed quickly in therapy, as do many adults on the spectrum. It took a few sessions to realize this fine gentleman suffered mightly with the symtoms of Asperger Syndrome, which he kept well managed and thoroughly hidden.However he did not start off as stereotypically autistic. Contrary to the stereotyoes of adults on the spectrum, my patient displayed no "meltdown" behavior, was keenly (TOO keenly) aware of people's reactions to him and exhibited no bizarre special interests or encyclopedic knowledge of vaccuum models.
I had spent the days after her death helping and planning and doing for others. In my last blog, Goodbye Small Fry, I talked about the death of my niece Vanessa. There were a few scattered articles on explaining death to your aspie child. Those who had experienced a loss were very supportive, but many of those who did not have a similar experience could not relate. A facet that maybe only we are capable of feeling – Internal Conflict. In almost all instances in our lives, logic automatically overrides emotion. I shared the story of her loss so you could see what a profound loss it was. They wanted to, but without any personal experience, it was difficult for them. I understand all too well how it feels to not be able to ‘be there’ because you cannot understand – no matter how bad you want to. The brain prevails over the heart almost every time and the heart stays quiet. As soon as he was out of bed, existential angst was his constant companion.His difficulty managing his thoughts made rudimentary conversations minefields to be navigated.