Week 15 of Serialization of Where Does My Autistic Son Belong? Chapter 15 Bali Recon
In 2019, I published Where Does My Autistic Son Belong?. It chronicles my struggle with raising my adolescent autistic son, Sebastien, and my subsequent decision of setting a home for him in Bali. As part and parcel of A Mother’s Wish initiative (amotherswish.com.sg) to raise awareness about the need to treat autistic individuals with genuine respect and empathy, I am serializing the book on Medium (please see the links below for all the serialized chapters to date, including Chapter 15).
Our “sightseeing” of Bali: Most of us were the most happy when Sebastien could play at a black sand beach that was isolated!
BALI RECON: BEFORE AND AFTER
(May— June 2016)
Once we purchased the ticket for our recon trip to Bali, the grieving process kicked into overdrive. Regardless of my rationale for pursuing the overseas solution, there was no taking away the sense of grief that hit me at a visceral level. The emotional pain was not an abstraction, but something that I could feel in the pit of my stomach, on the surface of my skin.
This grief was not something that I had any control over. A wave of grief could sweep over me in the middle of us exercising: tears would gush out from me until I had to brush them away from clouding my vision. I would not care that Sebastien, exercising just mere metres away from me, had seen me. Scrutinising me with quiet intensity, Sebastien did not betray any apparent signs of fear and anxiety. It almost felt liberating just to let loose of this powerful storm raging within me. I was just too upset to care about its impact on Sebastien.
Instead of experiencing this grief like a familiar guest after having undergone it twice, I found that the grieving cycle had become more and more difficult with each subsequent pursuit of the overseas solution. Thus, I learnt the hard way that grieving was not something that you got used to, or got better at with greater exposure. Instead, the prospect of letting go of Sebastien became more and more real: after each failed attempt, I kept thinking, this must be it, about the next try (read: Chapter 15)...