I read through a Buzzfeed list of Helen Keller quotes yesterday. She was amazing, and you all know how I feel about that word. But she was.
I looked at photographs of her with Anne Sullivan and I felt that there was a deep connection between two people, made possible by love and perseverance. I tried to imagine Helen’s life as a child trapped inside a dark, silent, frustrating world, unable to communicate.
My Jack can see and hear, but he cannot communicate all that he feels.
Sometimes I feel deep sadness for my son—not for the ways he is different but for all the things he can’t tell me. And too often I feel sadness for myself, because of all the things he will never do, and even for all the things I may never do because of Jack’s limitations.
I had a moment, one of THOSE MOMENTS, as I was driving yesterday. Jack’s day at school had been practically perfect, which is something that hasn’t happened in ages. And then he got aggressive in the car and I felt a crushing despair that if he can’t behave in cars, he won’t be able to do summer day camp, or after-school programs, or basically anything ever. Will we ever get it all together—the school behavior and the car behavior and the home behavior and the weekend behavior?
We are trying everything within reach, and it isn’t enough.
Hopelessness feels like a heavy black blanket that smothers your nose and mouth and tangles your limbs.
Lacey came by in the evening and we put together a behavior therapy plan. We sat at the table discussing ABA therapy and life skills goals for Jack. Jack curled up on the kitchen rug, sometimes popping up to smell our hair.
The black blanket loosened from my face and hands.
Mark Twain called Helen Keller the Eighth Wonder of the World in her ability to overcome so much and be a beacon of hope to others. He was probably right about the woman who said this:
“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”