What Autism Took From Me

It’s hard to write this — As I look at our wedding photo from 31 years ago, I almost don’t recognize the woman in the photo. I can’t help but think what autism took from me…from us.

There were so many years I spent my nights sitting in front of my computer, trying to find a way to help our son. I lost count of how many hours I spent. I was going to help him even if it meant I lost you. I couldn’t do both and I hoped you would understand and wait.

I remember the wonderful years we spent together before children as it if it was yesterday. I no longer see that woman in those pictures.

Autism has changed me forever. It wasn’t part of the plan but I hope I’m better because if it.

I became who our son needed me to be and I want to thank you for allowing me to be that person…for allowing me to grow and for accepting all the changes that came with the diagnosis.

If I had my choice, I’m not sure I would go back to that woman before autism because I’ve learned so much.

I never thought I would understand why autism came into our lives. Why we were given a beautiful, funny and deeply soulful spirit to be entrusted with.

Every day I look at our son I am amazed at who he is. He is truly the very best of each of us.

Although, I would have never chosen this path, it has taught me to be ready for anything in life and I know together we are capable of anything — truly.

We have defied great odds.

Every time I found some new therapy or another doctor for Cody you stood by agreeing to move forward. When those snake oil treatments didn’t help you never made me feel ignorant or wasteful for the time and money wasted.

You supported me while I spent countless hours, not to mention money, trying to help our son.

Thank you.

I think about all the years we lost and it makes me sad…all the years we were just surviving. I was just doing all I knew to do.

I think somehow you understood that.

I loved what we had before autism and in life you can’t go back. As we continue on I hope you know what a wonderful person you are.

You are a loving and supportive father and my best friend. You will be there to the end and I want you to know how much I truly love you and I wouldn’t want to be living this life without you.

You are the very best of us.

Written by Leasa Hoogerwerf

My name is Leasa.  I am the mom of Cody who is 17 years old and diagnosed with severe autism.  We were told to institutionalize him early on and decided to do the complete opposite keep him with us, love him and work with him nonstop.  Cody spoke his very first word at 9 years old.  I started Cody Speaks to document our journey and share with others hope and encouragement.

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