On being an Autistic Jew: Grief

Here are my reasons for starting this blog:

  1. To show others on the autism spectrum that they’re not alone.
  2. To help parents and educators if they have a child in their lives with autism
  3. To the supposed “Normal” people who just know someone with Autism realize that no two people with Autism are the same.

Now I’m not a mental health counselor or a priest. Just an anonymous guy on the internet making the world a better place by trying to provide hope.

Grief is something we all have to deal with but the way we do on a day to day basis. It’s something we all face. There’s a huge difference between feeling sad and feeling grief. Grief does come from being sad. You can feel sad but not grief. Case in point:

4 years ago Robin Williams committed suicide. Sure I was sad but I never knew him so it was sad but no grief.

Four years ago I made a friend who was a nurse from my synagogue. She had two estranged daughters who wanted nothing to do with her. She met me and it felt like I was her missing son. From elementary school to high school my parents fought for my education, in college I wanted to put myself in the driver’s seat and not rely on my parents and be treated like an equal. I was and I wasn’t.

After my dog Fuzzy died I vowed to finish my degree. I was recognized for student leadership and in student leadership I was treated like an equal but when I was getting my degree, not so much. I don’t want to mention the instructor told me, “All people with Autism are the same.” I should have reported it but I didn’t. Partially because I was scared and confused at why someone would say that.

Anyway back on track enough digressing. My friend who was a nurse went to the same synagogue. I have a lot of fond memories of her being a warm compassionate person. Then at the tail end of April I receive a phone call that no person should receive. Well 2. I received a phone call and the person who told me that she was with g-d now. I felt like someone had assassinated my friend. Suicide is something should have to deal with. It hurts the victims .

The victims are the ones who suffer the most. I won’t go into too many details about my friend but that’s something for September. I texted my best friend and his response was “NOOOOOO! I AM SO SORRY SAM!!! :(” my other friend l told him over the phone and I told him it was a suicide and got a, “People die! Be a man and get over it.” my job coach said the exact same thing.

It was around this time I needed to have a little faith in g-d. It was hard because the old rabbi from my synagogue was retired and the junior one from my Bar Mitzvah, I hadn’t tracked down but my mom told me to contact the cantor. Instead of saying, “Be an adult and get over it.” I got this, “You’re going to feel like crap for a while and that’s ok.” Around the first anniversary of the death, I got back in touch with the junior rabbi from my Bar Mitzvah.

As a young adult, the junior rabbi felt more like someone you could sit around roasting marshmallows with. In fact, one of my memories of him was at a Jewish summer camp and he discussed Mi Chamocha. For those of you who aren’t Jewish, Mi Chamocha translates to “Who is like you?” the Junior Rabbi said that these words weren’t said by Moses but by a man named Nakhshone. I’m sure I could spell it in Hebrew but my computer doesn’t have a Hebrew translation. Anyhow, after the first year anniversary of the death, I told myself I should find things to remember my friend by. Her favorite movie, things she did etc.

As the second anniversary came and went a movie came out called Won’t You Be My Neighbor? A documentary about Fred Rogers. After leaving the theater, I left the theater feeling better about life. Mr. Rogers might have been ordained by the Presbyterian church but he didn’t let his religious beliefs be the deciding factor of the show. I think Mr. Rogers might secretly be Yoda. I’m kidding but in all honesty if you are feeling grief, talk to a counselor, tell some friends you care about. Being an “adult” means you’re honest about how you feel. If you haven’t seen it. Here’s a link to the trailer. I’ll wait for you guys to finish the blog before I continue

 

If you haven’t seen this movie, It will hit you where you live. I’m not going to lie, this movie had to compete with Avengers infinity war because even though this came out two months after, this movie was not only what I needed to help recover from my aunt’s death but my friend’s suicide too.

If you are grieving, I highly suggest talking to the people you truly care about and you feel like they care about you. Let them know about a death, If they love you, they won’t have you wave a magic wand to feel better. They will tell you they are sorry for your loss and ask if you want to talk about it. You can heal from a bike injury. Grieving is like having a metal plate put in after a surgery. Your wounds heal but there will always be a scar.

What more can I say about grief? Just remember to help others who are grieving, I want to propose a challenge to everyone. After you finish reading this blog, say to 5 people who you don’t know well or would like to get to know better, “Have a nice day.” You’ll feel better

Have a Nice day

Sam

On being an Autistic Jew: Grief

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