There isn’t too much to add to this chapter except to state that I further wrote out my understanding that I may have, as the DSM-IV called it, “an inappropriate attachment to objects.” What’s amazing about what I wrote in this chapter, and all chapters really, is that at this point in time my training on the autism spectrum was nil. Truly, the only autism literature I had read was the initial website that told me to give up. As I have progressed in this series I am truly amazed that my words do not contradict the other literature out there.
A Friend Gone
If there’s been a chapter that I’ve written that has required more tissues than “A Friend Gone” I’d like to hear the nominations because I’ve been told time and time again that getting through this chapter, whether you’re a cat person or not, without needing a tissue for a tear or two is a daunting effort. I learned this the day I wrote it as I took it to my bowling team on Monday night and the two older ladies on the team, well, we had a chance at first place at the time and all that became lost as they could not think straight the rest of the night with tears a plenty happening.
Myself, reading this chapter, it was hard; perhaps the hardest chapter I read thus far. I talk about the associative memory system, and not remembering people, but I also do not remember my pets. I mention Amsterdam, the cat that was put to sleep in this chapter, and I mention Siam, whose story comes to an end in my 2nd book, and for both of them I don’t remember them. I remember of them, I remember the antics of their kittenhood, but of them, exactly, is just a blur. I have a picture of them as little kittens alongside Missy the Maltese and that’s the extent of my memories.
The other side of this comes at the ending in my inability to walk her to the Humane Society for, well, I don’t know how to put it. Truly, I don’t. How do I put it? Her demise? Her ending? Her death? Just those words alone, just the thought of it, and I shudder. Anyway, I was unable to take her and to this day I’m deeply saddened by this, but at the same time I’m thankful someone else was able to because I don’t know, at that point in time in my life, if I would’ve been able to have held her as she drifted away. That moment would’ve lived on, and on, and on in my brain and I don’t know if I ever would’ve been able to erase that memory. My final memory of her is her tenacity to give me a final meow and go away without fear. This coming from a cat that was afraid of everyone except me and in this moment she showed no fear. That’s my lasting memory of her.
Why is this chapter in the book? For one, and I didn’t know it at the time, this chapter blows away any misguided expert who may claim, “people on the autism spectrum have no emotions and are incapable of caring.” I didn’t know there were such people, but they’re out there and I hope they read this chapter. Secondly, I wrote this as a way to deal with the situation. Had I not written it all the emotions associated with this would have stayed bottled up and I would have had a hard time dealing with the emotions, but I wrote a magical chapter fitting for such a great friend and ever sense tissue makers have seen an increase in business… Okay, I can’t make that claim, but for anyone who has ever had a pet and anyone who has had to make that decision that the quality of life just, well, isn’t life will understand this chapter. I was almost cold in my understanding that it was her time, but it was and emotions would have just made the logical choice more difficult. You see, this chapter is in here because it’s an event anyone who has ever had an aging pet has had to deal with and I give my story. My story, and any other person’s story isn’t that far apart. If I can give a story that others can relate to, and I can do a decent enough job to describe how I feel and why I did what I did then that’s the fastest way, I thought, for others to understand the autism spectrum because it’s something anyone can relate to. There’s good news for tissue makers though, as great (or as sad) as “A Friend Gone” is the chapters of “A Friend Found” and “Saying Goodbye” in my 2nd book will see another increase in sales… Okay, okay, okay, I can validate those claims but I can’t wait for you to get the chance to read those chapters someday.