How this autistic woman grieves

So Michael and his mom and I all went to the visitation together and that was all right. There were lots of people there of course, and lots of floral arrangements.

I told the boys that I had no words for them except how sorry I was. I talked to Brendan’s wife a bit and suggested there were probably online support groups for young widows with children and maybe she should check some of those out.

The accident was not as bad as I had feared. I mean, it sounds dumb to say that because Brendan is still dead, but I had been afraid he was in bits or something and he wasn’t. Turns out the auger grabbed him by the arm and pulled so hard that his head slammed into the side of the machine and his neck snapped. He died more or less instantly. Open casket.

Then after we left, we met up with Michael’s dad, David, and we went to Pizza Hut and then everything somehow went very wrong.

David started teasing me about something or other and then the gears in my head got kind of stuck and I couldn’t think and I got very upset and couldn’t talk right and I started rocking back and forth holding onto myself, trying to keep myself from melting down, but it was already happening.

I had this urge to start knocking over plates and glasses and stand up and upend the table. I wasn’t angry, I just had to get the tension out somehow. I didn’t want to make a scene so I went to the bathroom to try to calm down and wound up making a scene in there instead. Screaming and moaning and throwing myself around the room and slamming my head into the tile wall over and over. Full-on meltdown.

I never want these things to happen. I don’t want to do those things and the whole time I was hitting my head I was crying out “stop” and “no” because it hurt and I didn’t want to do it.

After a bit, my waitress came into the bathroom — I don’t think it was to investigate the noise, I think she just had to go.

She already knew someone had died, because she had asked us earlier why were we dressed up, had we been at a party, and we explained we’d just come from a funeral visitation and she’d been like “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Our specials…”

She asked me if there was anything she could do to help and I said no and to please leave me alone, and she went out and told Michael that his wife was in the bathroom freaking out, and Jane came in and got me and said we were leaving. It was the middle of the meal. Pizza shoveled into boxes and everyone getting their coats and leaving and me feeling miserable and embarrassed and guilty for inconveniencing them and ruining what was supposed to be a nice dinner.

Everyone was very nice about it. It would have felt better if they’d been mad at me.

I still can’t really understand what happened. What happened in the bathroom feels like it happened to someone else altogether, not me.

I felt really awful over the next few days, didn’t even want to get out of bed. I hadn’t had a meltdown like that in ages and I had started to think that maybe they wouldn’t happen at all anymore.

Then suddenly it happens and I’m reminded once again that I’m broken in a way no one can fix. And I ruined Michael’s family’s dinner and scared the pizza lady and acted like a two-year-old in the bathroom and I am still really embarrassed. I feel like I can never go back to that restaurant ever again.

My head STILL hurts horribly and aspirin etc. isn’t touching it and I’m afraid to seek medical attention cause I don’t want to have to explain what happened. They might lock me up or something. It sounds really weird and scary and I’d have a bit of a time convincing everyone I’m not actually a danger to myself. The pain will stop eventually. God knows I’ve had worse headaches than this.

Ima just go and resume my normal existence, work on the website some more — I’m on the home stretch, down the last 1,000 cases, woo!

12 thoughts on “How this autistic woman grieves

  1. learingtoliveover60 February 21, 2018 / 1:12 pm

    You are doing ok…you’ve accepted it, dealt with it and written about it. I admire you. Carry on!

    • Christine February 23, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      Exactly, you recognized, accepted and dealt with the episode. If you should feel that way again, hopefully not, you will have a little more knowledge how to deal with the feelings. You’re doing great Meaghan! Keep things moving…

  2. Abigail February 21, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    I think… maybe that you let yourself do what we all really WANT to do. I’m sorry you’re going through this. And your grieving is different than mine but it is grieving. I think you should cut yourself a break. ❤️

  3. LuAnn Miller February 21, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    First of all I am really sorry for your loss. I think everything kind of hit you all at once – stress over the website overhaul, stress of losing a sibling, even if you didn’t feel you were close. You are stressed and grieving. I admire you for how much you do for these voiceless victims and how tirelessly you research. You are a good person and even though you feel embarrassed, I’m sure everyone only cared about your well-being. We have all been there and understand.

  4. Diamond Lil February 21, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    Wow, how scary for you, and scary for the waitress to witness that as well!

    I suppose if you carried a bike helmet and put it on, you’d just remove it.

    Is there no fast acting medication that could be used to help you de-escalate? Something maybe that a loved one can have to administer to you, like they do for allergic reactions, but say more on the lines of liquid valium?

    Are there signs that Michael can pick up on, when you are unable to verbalize, that alert him to Something Is About To Go Terribly Wrong!?

    I was taught to do four square breathing, but that gets lost in the moment of overload.

    What about having something that is your touchstone to focus on, to always carry with you or wear?

    Sending you a big hug, so sorry you had that happen..

    • Meaghan February 21, 2018 / 7:40 pm

      There isn’t any kind of drug that can stop this. One of the medications I’m taking has really reduced the frequency though. Since I started taking it I hardly have these meltdowns anymore.

      Michael realized I was starting to melt down and basically begged David to stop teasing me like he was, but David wouldn’t stop. He always does what he wants no matter what anyone thinks or does.

      • lynda m kuehn February 21, 2018 / 8:11 pm

        That makes David an asshole, and a perverse bully to do that to you on the day you put your brother in the ground. Particularly since he didn’t stop even when asked. You’re grieving..give yourself a break. Grief comes out in strange ways. I would have been hard pressed not to punch him in the throat.

      • Meaghan February 21, 2018 / 8:14 pm

        He’s not really as bad as all that. He just doesn’t understand. It would take awhile for me to explain the context but what he was saying to me was a drawn out joke involving a person being in two places at once, that would not have upset a normal person or even me on any other day.

  5. Diamond Lil February 21, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    PS – have you talked with your therapist yet? Don’t let this prevent you from seeing a doctor if you may have done some damage. I don’t know if doctors have to report self-harm like they do with suspected child abuse, but take a loved one with you.

  6. christie February 21, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    I really don’t know how to convey my thoughts on this properly so I will have to use an example when I felt that way. As you know I suffer from depression and suicidal ideation and I can’t handle much, as I have gotten older now 46 it’s soooo much better, you know what I mean, but the times I did feel like that I as well inflicted self harm stabbing myself in the arm, or more like making cut marks because ,the person- Bob I was dating at the time, for years- on and off, was making me feel confused and bad. Finally about 20 years later this on and off alcoholic thing he put me through and his other drug dabbling etc., I just couldn’t do it anymore and told him to get lost, not saying Michael is like this or anything at all, I just think you got to that point like me where the external pain, hitting your head and wailing, was the only way you could control your internal hurt, as you were hurting knowingly or not from the services, and that reality and then the teasing just pushed you over the edge and you were not able to understand the emotions you were having because they were painful. It sounds way easier when you talk it out. Maybe, go back to that Pizza Hut and leave the Pizza Lady a nice card thanking her for her empathy and compassion that day, and just say you were suffering inside and it just overflowed. xo Feel better.

  7. SHARI KIZZIAR February 21, 2018 / 11:04 pm

    I suppose the funersl was more traumatic than maybe you realized. Grief can affect us in funny ways anyway. Like sometimes people lsugh when at a funetal…but are grieving and sad inside. Don’t be hard on yourself…sounds like you have a loving family.Take care

  8. Lindsey February 22, 2018 / 11:16 pm

    I am so sorry that happened. I’m also sorry for the loss of your loved one. I want to thank you for having the guts to share so openly. Not only is this blog awesome in so many ways, but it gives me a sense of peace knowing I am not alone. Our diagnosis are very similar and your rawness, humor, intelligence,and compassion assures me that nothing is “wrong”with us. You’re an amazing human being. You go girl!

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