2005-03-25 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

by Marilyn Gelfand

Last week’s newspaper contained a review of a book that I co-authored called Miracle Milestones, One Autistic Child’s Journey. This book was written with a family member who has 3 sons-one who is low-functioning autistic, one with cystic fibrosis and another who had asthma and initial problems at birth. These boys have grown, and now the autistic child is 12. When I began writing this book, I had no idea about any of these illnesses and what it could possibly be like having so many problems and decisions to make. What I have learned is that people can choose to survive with peace and happiness by making each small step a miracle milestone. The parents themselves were healthy and had no idea that this would happen to them. The book is about how they were able to function and share love in spite of it all.

We wonder sometimes, “why me?”  After having one child with autism, how could this family have to deal with cystic fibrosis too? Recently I met someone who told me that she has 3 grandchildren all of whom have cystic fibrosis and one is autistic as well.  She thought my family member was lucky! Life gives us many growth opportunities in ways we would never have chosen or expected. We must see what each situation offers to make us more aware, stronger or force us to give up ideals of perfection or a plan of how it should be. I just saw a movie that I thought was wonderful that illustrates this point. It is called “The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie.”

Although I was not the one with all these children, as a concerned outsider I learned so much in the process. I learned how much the mom wanted her children to be accepted by the family and friends that they have. How children can learn in all different ways and what is actually important in the living process all develop over time.  A family can choose to deal with problems together, even if it is difficult as long as there is no blame or judgment.  Love and happiness can be experienced even when life dished out what you would have least expected. Also, the importance of research cannot be underestimated and the trust of one’s own instincts in making the “right” decisions. In a family scene like this, one learns how to live open ended. In truth, all of our lives are open since we do not see the future. If anything, my belief in the power of love as a strength for perseverance and leaving no stone unturned is stronger than ever.

If you would like to purchase Miracle Milestones at this time, it can be found on the Internet at Trafford.com in the bookstore or www.trafford.com/robots/ 04-1385.html or calling toll-free at 1-888-232-4444.

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