Filed under: autism, disability | Tags: bereavement, friendship, loss, love, Mrs Brown's Boys, Wendy Grace
“There’s things I want to say, things about love” Wendy Grace
As so often happens, I was lying awake in the early hours of the morning with thoughts dancing through my mind. Not only ideas, but also a half-remembered song, `Let It Start’ by Wendy Grace a gentle love song about accepting people as they are.
I find the whole subject of love somewhat confusing, but romance is worse, I have worked out that flowers are involved. The funny thing is that although I am certain that I love, I am not sure what love is. In one episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys, Cathy asks Agnes when she first knew she loved her husband, to which Agnes responds, “A few weeks after he died. ” That resonated with me. I have an unfortunate tendency not to realise how important people are to me until after I have lost them. Recently someone described me as his, “best friend at University”, I wish I had known. Friendship, like love, is confusing. When I was undergoing my autism assessment I was asked whether I had friends, I was then asked if I had visited any of them in their homes, that question was followed by, “Do you know where any of them live? ” It had never occurred to me that it was relevant.
I know I love people, but I think I only understand that I love them when they die. Their absence makes explicit the part they played in my life; it is only when I experience the emptiness they leave that I appreciate the magnitude of their contribution. I wish it were not so, but I have not yet worked out how to measure love. I grieve when I am bereft, partly because I never feel as though I have shown my appreciation, but also because it is only then that I appreciate what I had.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, Christmas, friends, friendship
Prompted by the season and a book I was reading I have been considering what friendship means. During my assessment I was asked if I had friends, I said yes, after all I am in a quiz team. It was only when I was asked. “have you ever been to their homes?” followed by, “Do you know where any of them live?” that I realised I have a different interpretation of friendship from other people. I do not like visitors to my home. I am uncomfortable having my wife’s family visit even only a couple at a time. (My mother visited twice and my brother thrice in 30 years). I have one real friend (I had two but one died) who visits. I was asked at my assessment who initiates the contacts between my friend and I, of course it is my friend not I. It does not usually occur to me to contact people. I have no contact with anyone from my school or university days or previous employments but I think I got on with people.
I realise that I am not sure how one is supposed to behave or act as a friend. My wife is very good at prompting me to contact people when appropriate such as after a bereavement and she remembers birthdays and Christmas. I used to think those who bullied me were friends despite the things they put me through, I have done things for people – such as taking the blame for things they did – who claimed to be friends not realising until pointed out to me later that I was just being used. I think perhaps that for those of us who have an inability to understand people it is better to keep people at a distance. I think perhaps I realise that and so I don’t have friends the way normal people do, it’s safer this way. It might be nice to feel what friendship is like but how would I distinguish it? No, I’m better off as I am.