There was a time when I thought silence was bliss. But then my son stopped talking. It wasn’t sudden—a slow progression over the last year. Now, the silence in my house is deafening, and it doesn’t feel good—to say it’s unsettling is mild.
We have a new diagnoses to digest and manage—selective mutism—often brought on by social anxiety. We’re wading in the waters of mental health challenges. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so helpless.
I know a diagnosis is the first step to overcoming. But here’s the thing—I didn’t want a new diagnosis. Selfishly, I wanted to coast—I needed to coast—at least for a little while.
I thought our days of diagnosis were long gone. Again, I’m reminded of the quote by John Lennon: “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.” I realize how little control I truly have.
Aidan has Down syndrome, and speech has always been one of his greatest strengths. He was my kid who NEVER stopped talking. There were days when the constant need for conversation and questions were draining.
Would I’ve had more patience if I knew what was coming?
There was a day when Aidan was fearless with his voice—he was overjoyed to share this gift with the world. I was confident that the strength of his voice would help shape his future.
I received a message from our board chair, Matt, after sharing this information.
“I’m happy to hear you have some answers for Aidan. Hoping for “downhill peddling” in 2024 for the Eppards….but if there is some uphill, you all have the fortitude to handle it.”
Like many things in life, friend, I had to stew on his message, especially the word fortitude. It felt too big.
I reached out to my companion, Google, to get some insight.
Fortitude is the mental and emotional strength to persevere in the face of adversity or challenges. It’s about enduring difficult situations and doing so with courage, resilience, and a positive attitude.
That’s a pretty tall order.
Matt’s message left me searching for perspective. It pushed me forward, taking stock of the things in our corner, such as:
Aidan has a speech therapist who has a background in trauma. They match up like magnet and metal—this is a gift.
We have a physician invested in making sure that Aidan’s anxiety is managed responsibly.
We have a community that supports our family and Aidan—they care deeply.
Sometimes, when you are in the valley, it’s hard to come up for air and see things for how they truly are. It’s difficult to remember the importance of HOPE and the SUPPORT system waiting to push you into a new day.
I realize this message to you is a rather personal narrative.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted a job with a purpose. What I didn’t expect was for my cup to overflow. It took 26 years to get there, but it was worth the wait. The seed was planted in my youth—watching my mom and dad with careers that made them excited. They loved what they did […]
As December winds down, I like to take time to reflect on the past year. So much has happened, and so much has changed. Change can be something you never knew you needed. It can be something that brings joy or improvement—a gift. When I moved to Michigan, it was a drastic change. Everything was […]
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