Saying What We'd Want To Say

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By Dan Coulter

My wife, Julie, and I lost a close friend recently. Bella died quickly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. It was a real shock. The kind that makes you look at your life and how you’re living it.

Bella and her husband, Mike, were very close. So much so that it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Mike told us that he only regretted not being able to say goodbye.

He didn’t say he regretted spending too little time together. They shared interests and spent a lot of time with each other. He didn’t say he wished he’d treated her differently. Whenever we saw them, they showed their appreciation for each other in all sorts of ways. Being with them was comfortable and fun. They were constantly building each other up. They were happy together and expressed it.

As much as Mike misses Bella, he can celebrate her memory without getting caught up in what he might have done differently.

Which brings me to the “looking at your life” part, particularly for those us with children on the autism spectrum who have behaviors that can be trying.

What if we closed our eyes and thought about learning that we might lose the people closest to us? Imagine the things we’d want to tell them. About how much we appreciate them. About the strengths they have. About what they mean to us.

Now what if we stopped imagining, and opened our eyes, and told them?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dan Coulter is the producer of the videos, “Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Syndrome” and “Understanding Brothers and Sisters on the Autism Spectrum.” You can read more articles on his website:

Copyright 2008 Dan Coulter Used By Permission All Rights Reserved

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