Many families feel forgotten. Isolation is real and lonely especially when it comes to Autism. We can’t attend events, catch up with friends, celebrate birthdays and other special occasions, even within our own families. It’s not because we don’t want to but it’s because the safety risk, the meltdown risk, the anxiety…sometimes is just too much. Other times it’s just a bad day, there will be too many triggers, there will be too many people, too much noise and the specifics of the event may be too much-like not everyone enjoys the singing of Happy Birthday.
Eventually over time our friends dwindle and so do our invites. We start out with having an empty seat at the table but eventually someone hangs a coat off of it, or it becomes taken by someone new to the social circle.
We do not need constant invites. We do not need offers to babysit. But, we do need support even if we don’t ask for it.
What does support look like?
It’s the effort of just being there.
It’s a simple “you got this” text. It’s a “I’m here” on Facebook messenger. It’s a favorite thing-a bottle of wine, a coffee, chocolate chip cookies, or a book-left at your front door. It’s a smile, “a don’t worry about it”, a virtual hug when you need it the most. It’s listening without giving advice. It’s an “I don’t understand but I would love for you to tell me”. It’s a “I understand”. It’s a “hope to see you next time”
It’s non-judgement. It’s kindness. It’s understanding. It’s no expectations.
Please leave the empty chair for us at the table. Let it be a reminder that we want to be there. We love you, we miss you, and we need your friendship.