Redefining Typical

A Mother, A Son, A Journey…..with Autism

Three letters – S-A-D August 19, 2012

Filed under: Autism and Hope — Cheairs @ 8:06 pm
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Three letters.


They sit in my stomach.


On my chest.

I can’t breathe.

They pull the tears out of my eyes.


And  two little hands reach to the alphabet blocks.

They pick the letters.


They place them over my heart.

And there they sit.

I don’t want those letters.

They make me itchy.

Like a wool sweater on a hot day in August.

I want to tear them off.

So many reasons for those letters coming together.

Each instant of pain swirls in me.


When I lost him at a  gift shop at the beach.

Turning my head away from him for just a second.

And then his face.

His body.


Screaming his name.

Running out the front the door of the store.

Bobbing heads up and down the sidewalk.

My Dawson, nowhere.

Calling him…

Knowing that he will not respond to my screeching cries.

The what-if’s still sting my eyes.

The little hand reaches for the letter.



His anxiety.

The computer freezing.

His voice.

Panic in every octave of his scream.

“It’s stuck! It’s stuck!”

His hands slapping my arm.

My back.

Trying desperately to fix the electronic device that can bring him great comfort.



Predictability in his life.

And when “It’s stuck!”

The other hand grabs the letter.



A family adventure to ride a train.

Hours of work to prepare him for this outing.

His excitement measured in every stride as he runs to the minivan to head to the station.

His joy seen in his finger tips as he flaps his hands when the train comes to a stop in front of him.

And then his muscles tense.

Pushing away from me.

His body, unable to release him to board the great locomotive.

The sights. The sounds. The unknown.

Too much for him.

I wave goodbye to Dave and Mae Mae who leave on the train.

The separation tearing through my throat.

And Dawson and I drive to meet them on the other side of the mountain.

And two hands grab the last letter.


And it is these three letters…


These are the letters that are crushing me.


And I sit with those letters.

I touch them.

And I cry.

I bend over.

One hand on my stomach.

One hand on my forehead.

I sit.

The tears running down my cheeks.

The sad.

It is there.

It flows over me.

And I feel it.


And  now.

I think of the woman dressed in white who was at the store at the beach.

Her eyes knowing my soul.

Yearning to help.

She found my little Dawson.

Down the street next to a stop sign.

I watch her take his hand and bring him back to me.

Bringing his precious fingers to mine.


And the arms reach for more blocks.

This time four.

And the most sacred letters are placed carefully together.



And Dave quickly comes to my side at the computer.

His voice calm.

He presence next to me giving me strength.

His love for his son felt in every touch of the keyboard.

“There buddy. We fixed it. It’s not broken anymore.”

A smile on Dawson’s face.

A deep breath from my boy’s belly.

And I know my son’s anxiety has passed.


And the hands move quickly to build more.

This time grabbing five blocks.

The letters shining bright.



And Dawson and I head over the mountain to pick up Dave and Mae Mae from the train station.

My little boy grins with delight  when I stop at McDonald’s to get him ice cream and french fries.

I see the toothless smile of my girl as she hops off the train.

I drink in her words, “Hey Mama, since Dawson couldn’t get on the train, can we go to that park you were talking about? Can we go together as a family?”

And my shoulders relax watching my children play side by side in the late afternoon at the park.

And I lean against the fireman’s pole that is part of the playset.

I hear my sweet daughter’s words.

And I drink in this precious moment that soothes my soul.


“Together as a family.”


And once more the tiny fingers reach for more blocks.

This time making more than one word.

Placing them carefully together.

Held together so tightly.




And I reach out.

I touch them all.

The Sad.

The Hope.

The Faith.

The Love.

The Happiness.

Because I can feel them all.

I can be with each of them.

They are as much a part of me as every breath I take.


And the little hands reach for the last blocks.


And I close my eyes,

I wrap those five letters around me.

I let them hold me.

I feel their warmth.

And I feel it.



The Peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

And I say.


Copyright Cheairs Graves August 18, 2012

Don’t forget to check out Heather at the EO Just Write.








12 Responses to “Three letters – S-A-D”

  1. “…Because I can feel them all.
    I can be with each of them.
    They are as much a part of me as every breath I take.”

    This paragraph speaks so clearly to me, friend. Your emotion is palpable, raw, honest. Your writing is perfection here! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Kate Says:

    …and, then I cried a little because this is so beautiful and true, and because love always wins.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Oh, this is beautiful. It is so very true…the sad. the hope. the faith. the love. They are ALL a part of this wild ride…

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Ann Davies Says:

    This was beautiful, Cheairs. What a blessing for you to be able to see the positive through all the challenges and to be strong enough and faithful enough to get through the rough patches and see the good!

  5. This is beautiful, as always Cheairs. And ohmygosh do I know that whole “computer device is stuck” routine!

    Thank you for the reminder that there IS a silver lining.

    • Cheairs Says:

      The “computer is stuck”… is just terrifying for our little ones…..just so scary….but when it is fixed he breathes….the whole house breathes…..thank you my friend for letting me share.

  6. rhemashope Says:

    Beautiful, friend.
    I’m so sorry for the sad. So thankful for the peace.
    Just this week, we heard a lesson on the following:
    “Finally… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… And the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8,9
    Thank you for the lovely, the excellent.

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