I have had several events in my life that have brought my family and I closer. Unfortunately, not many, if any, of them are positive. I think I am maybe putting a morbid spin on this prompt, but for me, this is the case. I think death and injury—words that are not positive in any situation—have brought my family and I closer. Some examples include my health issues, my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer, and people my family know dying. Let me elaborate. My pacemaker surgery, for example. My sister Caroline was in college at that point. But she knew I was having heart surgery so she was there for me. I fell asleep after the surgery and when I came to, Caroline was the first person I saw. My family all called me or visited in person to make sure I was ok.

When I broke my arm is another example. My sister Abbey, who is studying nursing at Drexel in Philadelphia right now, was the only one in the house who knew what to do. I sure as Hell didn’t know what to do (I was in shock) and my cousin was freaking out. All I could think of was “Get to your phone!”. Since my phone was in my left pocket, which is the side my broken arm was on, I could not get to it. So Abbey called my dad and he, in turn, called 911. My mom found out and she left work early, freaking out. At that point, the only person who didn’t care was me, seeing as I was high as a kite on morphine. I think now is the time I should mention my family and I are extremely close…and not just my immediate family, either. My dad’s side of the family are all very close to each other, as is my mom’s. My mom’s side are a little more “caring” than my dad’s side, if I can put it that way. What that means is my mom’s side of the family are all women, except for my Uncle in California. As most of them are moms and they all know about my medical issues and my Autism diagnosis, I think I am maybe a little more “protected” than my sisters. It has to be that maternal instinct kicking in. My dad’s side of the family are all guys, so they are maybe a little “tougher” than my mom’s side. Having said that, they are all very caring. So when I broke my arm, everyone from my mom’s side of the family, excluding my Uncle, came to visit me. My Aunt Susan on my dad’s side visited me, as did my grandparents on both sides of the family.

But enough about me and my issues. Almost two years ago (December 2016) my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Everyone in the family instinctively flocked to my mom for support. My Aunt Gina was over our house for a few days as a means of support for my mom, seeing as we live about 20 minutes from each other. My mom had a lumpectomy a few days later to remove the cancer and she is fine now.

So now onto a more morbid topic: death. My grandfather passed away in March of 2018. Sad as it is, I will credit this sad day with one thing: it sort of “united” the family. Everyone from my dad’s side of the family and nearly everyone from my mom’s side of the family came together as a means of supporting us. So sad as a death in the family is, I see a silver lining here.

Retracting what I said about there being not that many positive incidents, there are a few. Examples obviously include when Abbey and Caroline were born, but I was a kid then and don’t really remember that. All I know is my sisters and I have grown up together and supported each other through the years, and that’s all that matters to me. I have something coming up in October through Kennedy Krieger that Caroline and I are doing together. It is an informative speech on how Caroline and I have grown up together with an Autistic sibling (me). Funnily enough, I got the email the day my grandfather died. Hey, what can I say? When God shuts a door, he opens a window. But my family is pulling for us at this event and I do not want to disappoint.

Unfortunate as these things are, they brought my family closer together. Sometimes a bad situation can bring out the best in people. These are some examples of that. I would love to hear my readers’ spin on this and for others to let me know if they have had any incidents or occasions that have “united” their families. Thanks for reading!


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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