If I were to have just one day where I felt nothing, I would be very concerned. The only time I felt no pain where I should have is when I broke my arm in June 2015. That was shock, though…which is an entirely other emotion. I am not saying I don’t feel pain, though. I just “deal” with it or cope differently than most “normal people”. One example is when my 93 year old grandfather, who my sisters and I called Da, died. My sisters were in hysterics. My mom was crying. My dad and Uncle Rich were hugging each other and crying. Me? I just sat there, watching this happen. I didn’t cry. I wasn’t freaking out. I was actually really calm. Why? I was expecting Da to die.  For me, and for the rest of my family, it was just a matter of when. So knowing that he was going to die sorta softened the blow. Plus, it might have helped that I was coming off anesthesia from an endoscopy I had had that morning.

Actually, let me rewind. My grandfather was at Gilchrist in Towson for 3 days before he passed. Gilchrist is a hospice care, so odds are, if you get admitted, you’re not coming out alive. So Da went in on a Monday night. On Thursday, my mom called me and told me Da probably wouldn’t make it through the night. So I went in to say my final goodbyes, at least while Da was still alive. Da was unconscious and unable to adequately communicate. That was March 15th.

On March 16, 2018, I went in for an endoscopy. An endoscopy is where they put you out and put a medical camera down your throat. So when I came to, I asked my mom how Da was doing. Keep in mind I was still pretty loopy from just waking up from anesthesia at this point. I will never forget this. My mom looks me right in the eye and said, “Um…we will talk about it in the car.” That’s all I needed to hear. I knew Da had died.

Going back to my original point: I do feel the entire gamut of emotions. I just handle them differently, as we all do. Let me give another example: this time in the form of my old dog, Buster. Toward the end of his life, Buster was really frail and could barely move. And this is a dog that used to be really athletic and could catch a ball like no other dog I had ever met. I don’t know why, but animals seem to “latch on” to people. For Buster, it was me. We were buddies and very close to each other.

So I was in Alabama for my cousin’s military graduation. Knowing Buster was going to die at any point in that time, I just wanted to go home. So a few days later, I ran into the house. There was Buster, laying on a tarp, looking pathetic and downright miserable. I was close to tears at that point. I said, “I think Buster was waiting to see us one more time before he died.” My dad said something I will remember forever, since it really hit me just how weak my beloved dog was. My dad said, “Actually, Tom, I think Buster was waiting to see you one more time.” Then everyone went upstairs to sleep…except for me. I slept next to Buster with my arm around him.

So my dad made me go to my agency the next day, something I still consider to be a kind of a dick move. My logic? My dog that I had grown up with, raised since he was a puppy, owned, and taken care of for 16 years, was being put down that day and I wasn’t there for him…thanks to my dad. How the fuck am I supposed to focus on anything else, knowing my best friend is about to die? So I was in an emotional funk all day. So it only makes sense that when my dad told me the vet had just left and Buster was dead, I lost it. Cliché as it sounds, I really do think a little part of me died with Buster that day. Reason being: Buster was the first “real” death I had ever dealt with. We had lost my grandfather on my mom’s side, but I was 6 then, so I don’t think I fully understood death at that point. So when Buster died, since I was really close to him, it hit me and hit me hard! I was really upset and unable to contain myself. BUT at the same time, I was kind of relieved. At least he’s not in pain or suffering anymore.

So yes, I do feel emotions. I feel if you are void of all emotion, you are a robot. I would love to hear your opinion on how you deal with emotions or cope with situations. Feel free to write in and thank you!


Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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