“Take what you've learned and love someone again.
Find someone to love and love without condition.
This is why we're all here.”
“And you, Mom. I loved you. You've asked if i felt and understood that you loved me. of course I did. And you know this. I loved your love because it kept me safe and happy and wanted, and it existed beyond words and hugs and eyes.”
“Don't aim for perfect. Aim for complete. Perfection is an unattainable illusion.”
“It's the closest place to nowhere that she can think of. And nowhere is exactly where she wants to be today.”
“The spectrum is long and wide, and we're all on it. Once you believe this, it becomes easy to see how we're all connected.
p306 Author's notes”
“We have pills for headaches. We have antidepressants for sadness. We had God for believers. We have nothing for autism.”
“He said not to worry. But it's there. The worry. I can't help it. It's like telling me not to have brown eyes. I have brown eyes. I'm worried.”
“She still loves the feel of a new book. While she appreciates the convenience of those thin, slick e-readers, they don't give her the three-dimensional sensory experience that comes with a real book.”
“She felt almost spellbound by him, as if he were a magnet pulling her to him.”
“Most people love with a guarded heart, only if certain things happen or don’t happen, only to a point. If the person we love hurts us, betrays us, abandons us, disappoints us, if the person becomes hard to love, we often stop loving. We protect our delicate hearts. We close off, retreat, withhold, disconnect, and withdraw. We might even hate. Most people love conditionally. Most people are never asked to love with a whole and open heart. They only love partway. They get by. Autism was my gift to you. My autism didn’t let me hug and kiss you, it didn’t allow me to look into your eyes, it didn’t let me say aloud the words you so desperately wanted to hear with your ears. But you loved me anyway. You’re thinking, Of course I did. Anyone would have. This isn’t true. Loving me with a full and accepting heart, loving all of me, required you to grow. Despite your heartache and disappointment, your fears and frustration and sorrow, despite all I couldn’t show you in return, you loved me. You loved me unconditionally. You haven’t experienced this kind of love with Dad or your parents or your sister or anyone else before. But now, you know what unconditional love is. I know my death has hurt you, and you’ve needed time alone to heal. You’re ready now. You’ll still miss me. I miss you, too. But you’re ready. Take what you’ve learned and love someone again. Find someone to love and love without condition. This is why we’re all here.”
“Why couldn’t they do that? Why couldn’t they hold on to each other and block out the world? Why couldn’t they surrender to what they couldn’t control? Why weren’t they brave enough to celebrate a life that included autism? She wanted to, and she thinks she eventually got there, but it took her too long. Just as she was ready to dance, the music stopped playing.”
“But reading her journals has helped her to remember more than that morning. There was more to Anthony’s life than his death. And there was more to Anthony than his autism. So much more. She can think about Anthony now and not be consumed by autism or grief.”
“This is why mothers have more babies. We forget about the pain and discomfort and wild inconvenience of pregnancy and childbirth so we can feel that heavenly feeling of holding a warm baby snuggled and content against our chests again. It's like nothing else in this world.”
“Time's a funny thing, bending, warping, stretching, and compressing, all depending on perspective.”
“My brain is made up of different rooms. Each room is for doing a different thing. For example, I have an Eyes Room for seeing things and an Ears Room for hearing things. I have a Hands Room, a Memory Room (it’s like my father’s office, full of drawers and folders and boxes with papers), a New Things Room, a Numbers Room (my favorite), and a Horror Room (I wish this room would be broken, but it works just fine). The rooms don’t touch each other. There are long, looping hallways in between each room. If I’m thinking about something that happened yesterday (like when I knocked over the white coffee mug), I’m in my Memory Room. But if I want to watch a Barney video on the TV, I have to leave the Memory Room and go into Eyes and sometimes Ears. Sometimes when I’m in the hallways traveling to a different room, I get lost and confused and caught In Between and feel like I’m nowhere. This is when my brain feels like maybe it’s a little bit broken, but I know I just have to find my way into one of the rooms and shut the door. But if too much is happening at once, I can get into trouble. If I’m counting the square tiles on the kitchen floor (180), I’m in my Numbers Room, but if my mother starts talking to me, I have to go into my Ears Room to hear her. But I want to stay in Numbers because I’m counting, and I like to count, but my mother keeps talking, and her sound is getting louder, and I feel pressure to leave Numbers and go inside my Ears Room. So I go into the hallway, but then she grabs my hand, and this surprises me and forces me into Hands, which isn’t where I wanted to go, and she’s talking to me but I can’t hear what she’s saying because I’m in my Hands Room and not in Ears. If she lets go of my hand, I can go into Ears. She’s saying, Look at me. But if I look at her, I have to leave Ears and go into Eyes, and then I won’t be able to hear what she’s saying. So I don’t know what to do, and I’m wandering the halls, and I can’t make a decision on where to go, and I’m In Between, and that’s when I get into trouble.”
“The spectrum is long and wide, and we’re all on it. Once you believe this, it becomes easy to see how we’re all connected.”
“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”
“If it can’t be used for evil, it’s not a superpower.”
“If guilt was an animal then it would be an octopus. All slimy and wriggly with hundreds of arms that wrap around your insides and squeeze them tight.”
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.”
“I set the coffee aside and got a cup of water instead. I could never see why people drank that stuff. It tasted like soil boiled in mud, wit a topping of dirt.”
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