"Loving the Soul Beneath the Autism" excerpt by Janele Hoerner (CatholicMom.com)

CHAPTER 1: Learning to Cherish Every Child

Short of breath, I struggled to keep my head just above the salty water. Crashing waves pounded down over my shoulders while exhaustion began setting in over my entire body. I felt deserted. I mustered all the strength in my bones with one final act of desperation and sank down into the depths of the water. I found a huge rock sticking up from the ocean depths, and I pushed with all the energy in my being. In doing so, I was able to elevate my body through the brisk waters. As my head was guided to the top of a large wave, I let out a frantic scream into the atmosphere. Scanning the coastline for help, I began to accept the inevitable path for my future. I watched as a dark triangle crept out of the water increasing its speed toward my exhausted body. Rain had begun to fall, and my heart was beating out of my chest. In my spiraling mental impairment, I felt the nudge of a large mass from under the dreary waters. Looking up towards the darkening sky, I began to pray from the depths of my soul as I felt myself being pulled down into the frigid waters. I grasped my stomach in an ultimate attempt to save my unborn child even as I was repeatedly being dragged under the waves. I felt blood draining from my leg while I watched the shark let go of its hold and swim away. Leaving us to perish alone, but together, in the open water, I looked to God for both of our souls. Too tired to cry, scream, or even pray, we began to inevitably sink down into our demise. Just as my body reached the ocean bottom, I felt a strong arm pull me above the water. A lifeguard had heard my smothered cries. Together we fought the strong storm that had blown in from deeper waters. I felt like the undertow had no intention of allowing us to reach the shore. We were caught in an almost inescapable cycle. The few individuals who were still on the beach waiting out the storm seemed clearly entertained by our endeavor. Their comments and gestures only distracted us from our mission. Just as the waves finally started to calm, our repeated efforts pushed us onto the sandy beach. Collapsing into the shallow waves, we embraced each other in the newly warm sunlight. Although we did not yet have the strength to stand on our own two feet, we, thankfully, were on solid ground. The result of my almost cataclysmic end had bonded us together emotionally. I looked around and wished I could happily lie on the dry and sandy beach, where I watched numerous parents laughing and playing with their babies. I loved the soothing sand in every aspect and desired to bask in the golden rays of the sun. I could not wait to watch my baby play at the water’s edge while I enjoyed, in awe, his growth and development. I craved to play in the waves that hardly even reached my ankles, but that was not the course our lives had taken. Over time, I found meaning in my almost destructive experience, because it was in those darkest hours that I learned all about life’s true meaning. ♥ Autism, High Functioning to be exact, combined with ADHD and Intermittent Explosive Disorder were our large ocean waves and violent storm. Combined together, their severity could have been our destruction, but we would not have them capsize our lives. Moment by moment, we, as parents, pushed on until the waves were no longer knocking us from our feet. With what seemed like the world against us, my future husband and I battled through an almost impossible forecast. Even though I had made some immature decisions to land my child and myself in a deep ocean, a wonderful man pulled us to safety. That man came to our rescue in one of my darkest moments, seven months into my pregnancy. Within time, my shark, which had helped create this child, swam away. He had hurt my hope and spirit with his bite, yet he allowed us the time to heal as I married the lifeguard who pulled my child and me to safety. Together my husband and I confronted our son’s impending behaviors while holding on tight to our little boy, who we loved so dearly. It was by the love of our son’s soul, which lay buried beneath his neurological diagnosis, that we learned how to truly cherish each and every child. May you find hope in our true story, encouragement in our techniques, and a deep love for the soul of all special needs children. For it is by the love of the least, the bruised, and the smallest of all humans that we find the greatest love in this selfish world. Slowly but surely, my perfect, wanted, and wonderful child became my fighting reason for everything in life. Yet, I want you to come to know the entire story. So, before I begin to elaborate further, let me start at the beginning, to the day when I first realized I was carrying a little child inside of me. Loving the Soul Beneath the Autism is available at Amazon.com.

Read more chapters from Loving the Soul Beneath the Autism.

Copyright 2018 Janele Hoerner