I seem to think that my son should experience as much as reasonably (and financially) possible, even knowing that autism is going to tag along.
What experience did he have this time?
Well, some experiences are good (positive) and some are not so good.
A year ago last winter my brother died suddenly. It was a difficult time for my family and the first family death that my son was really aware of. (His paternal grandfather died when he was six, but he didn’t really remember it.)
He had enjoyed the time he spent with my brother, even though we lived 3,000 miles away. The families always made an effort to see each other.
That death was hard on all of us. We traveled to North Carolina at Christmas time and mourned the death of my brother with the rest of my family.
Flash forward a year and a half…
What happened recently?
It was my brother’s wishes to be cremated and the ashes put in the Georgian Bay in Canada. My brother was an avid fisherman and spent most of his life fishing in Canada. The Georgian Bay was his favorite spot.
So, my son and I joined up with my sister-in-law and her family and we made the journey into Canada.
What did we do?
The idea was the meet up with the guys that my brother fished with for all those years. And, together, we would take my brother’s ashes to a specific fishing spot that he loved and deposit the urn.
Which is exactly what we did.
It was a long, emotional, fun, and moving day. It was closure. And, it was quite satisfying to do something like this for someone we loved.
How did my son do?
When the trip was first proposed, of course my son wanted to go. He loves to travel and did not want to be left at home for any reason.
I explained to him the reason why I was going. I added a couple of days in my hometown post-Georgian Bay, but I really needed him to understand the circumstances.
First, I explained to him that we were taking a boat out to the fishing camp to meet up with fishing guys.
That was the only way to get to them. Knowing my son is good on boats, I wasn’t worried about this part. He seemed confident, too.
Second, I explained to him that we were there to check out the bay (it is huge, by the way, with tons of islands everywhere, and gorgeous), spend some time with the fishing guys (they made us lunch), and then go to the spot on the bay where we’d spread the ashes.
Third, and this was a big one. I explained that there might not be Internet out in the middle of a bay in Canada. And, that we were going to be out there for most of the day. You don’t just travel for an hour and half on a boat to get to this cabin and decide to leave after only five minutes.
My son agreed to these conditions, and he did great.
The boat ride didn’t bother him, and he spent a good deal of his time talking to the boat operator.
The visit with the fishing guys was a lot of fun, and my son got to, at least, plug in his phone. Their wifi wasn’t very good, but the cabin itself was pretty cool.
He even avoided stumbling upon something that made us moms a bit nervosa—snakes. We (luckily) didn’t encounter any!
Finally, the memorial part went well. We said a few words and cried.
And, my son did very well, he even put up with the black flies (a problem in Canada that time of year).
This closure was important for us, and I was proud of my son and how he handled everything. Autism and a Canadian Trip.
More on Kimberly Kaplan:
To purchase “Two Years Autism Blogs Featured on ModernMom.com”
or “A Parentsʼ Guide to Early Autism Intervention” visit Amazon (print or digital) or Smashwords
LinkedIn: Kimberly Kaplan