On Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, my hope for my son, Kaden was shattered. I was under the impression that he was autistic. With the autism diagnosis there was hope that he could outgrow some of the issues he has. On this Wednesday I was told that he was intellectually disabled, which means he is mentally retarded. All my hopes and dreams for him came crashing down. He will never grow up. He will never drive a car. He will never get married. He will never have children of his own. I questioned for weeks the mean of his existence. His existence is a means for many to point and laugh at his struggles and failures. I raged about the unfairness of it all. I didn't sign up for this. This was not the life I had planned for him or for me. I screamed that he deserved the life of any typical child. What did I do for us to deserve this? The answer was, "Nothing." We drew the short straw in the genetic lottery. I was preparing to train my younger daughter for the day where she would assume the responsibility of taking over his care when my time ends. The specialist told me that I was putting limits on her life also. She deserves the life she wants and can have. In short she can have the life that was denied for him. I was told that I needed to live a life outside of Kaden. I needed to learn to live and not exist to maintain his needs.
One day I had taken my kids to the park. There were other kids there playing. Kaden was in a mood and wanted to scream about everything. A dad scolded his son for being mean to mine. I told that dad his kid did nothing to mine, but this is just how Kaden is. The dad took his son aside and explained that Kaden was different than most children. After the talk the boy tried more to make sure Kaden was enjoying the park experience. This boy taught me something that day: Kaden's possible purpose. If through Kaden others can learn understanding and compassion, it might just be the purpose for Kaden's existence. At that moment I found some peace in the news that my son is different.
Our journey has just begun and we will embrace each new experience with courage and determination.