I remember a low point in my teenage life, when I confessed that I wanted to take my own life. It was a hard thing to consider, entrenching myself in reasons buried in my own shortsightedness.
My counselor then framed his response in a way I’ve been unable to forget:
“Think of what loss that would bring to others, Hunter. Your parents, your siblings, your future wife.”
I scoffed at the thought. But the fact that someone else would even say that, like it could ever be thing for me — a hopelessly awkward, unattractive, humorless, acne-ridden, husky clumsy oaf — it gave me enough pause and remote hope that maybe he wasn’t wrong.
He wasn’t wrong.
Contrary to what most of you would believe, I’m happily married and have been for ten years this week (!).
That seems unfathomable.
I feel like it’s one of the more unlikely outcomes of the autistic experience. Sure, moving out of your parents’ house, keeping a job, establishing independence, and being “successful” in some weird niche — I mean, that was my most optimistic, foreseeable hope.
But shoot, finding someone to love, someone who
would be tricked into end up loving me back? Someone with whom I’d spend the rest of my life with?
“Hunter,” you’d contest. “That’s perfectly normal!”
Have you not been reading this blog?
Andrea’s experience as Mrs. Hansen needs its own blog entry. I won’t even cheat it by hinting at it, because that’s her story to share, being as close to my autistic epicenter as she is.
This was not a future I foresaw, but one I hoped for.
I can imagine some of you wondering similar:
“Is my son going to find someone to love him?”
“Will my daughter find her person?”
“Is there a soul mate out there for someone as unique as [MY CHILD]?”
I saw myself as the least likely to be at the front of the aisle, ready to tie the knot. And for the longest while, it felt impossible.
But ten years on, here we are.
p.s., Andrea, thanks for enduring with me for an entire decade; you are indeed wonderful and brave, and I love you.