When I think about dying, I worry.
Not for me, not at all. I tell my friends all the time, “When I die, I will be with Jesus. I’m good. Worry about my husband and the boys.”
I worry because our plan for long-term care, especially now that my son’s autoimmune diagnosis will require it, hinges on me being around for a while.
It is something I think about everyday –
“Should I buy this? Or put the money into savings for the future?”
“I need to work out more. I need to be able to lift him, even when I am old.”
“Take the vitamins, eat the kale, avoid the refined sugar – you’ve got a long life to live and a son to care for.”
It is a part of almost every decision I make.
I read a post on Facebook the other day, written by a father with a son on the spectrum. He and his wife manage the page “Bacon and Juiceboxes: Our Life With Autism.” They are real, passionate, funny and genuine. They love their kids, they love each other, and they graciously share how they trying to figure this life out. They are my people.
With permission, here are his words…
Dreaming of Heaven
I have this recurring dream. I dream that I die. I know, it’s morbid. But, stick with me a minute…
When I die I ascend to heaven and I’m embraced by God. He assures me that I will be able to continue to watch over my family and give them peace and comfort until they join me in their time.
He assures me that I will understand His plan in time and allows me to ask all of my burning questions about the universe.
In heaven decades pass in mere minutes and I proudly sit and watch my little girl grow up, find a loving husband and raise her family.
I am able to comfort my wife and help her to raise our son. God tells me that she knows I am there with her and can hear me whispering support and love as she guides him through his unique path in life.
I watch my son grow up. I sometimes feel helpless and angry as he faces life’s challenges. His hand-flapping and idiosyncratic noises continue into adulthood and draw occasional stares from the ignorant.
God assures me that He has a plan and that, in heaven, all of His creatures are perfect.
I trust God and patiently wait for the day when my son joins me, his hands still and his noises silenced.
One by one my family joins me in heaven.
First, my wonderful wife. Then, my beautiful daughter.
Finally, my son joins us. I run to embrace him, then I have to stop.
He stands there in heaven, excited by all the new sights and sounds, flapping his hands and jumping. I look to God and question Him.
“You said that all your creatures are perfect in Heaven.”
God smiles at me.
I hug my perfect son… for all eternity.
Dreaming Of Heaven When Your Child Has Special Needs
His words are achingly beautiful.
His dream reminds me that maybe, just maybe, the future isn’t mine to see. Sure, I can plan – I need to plan, but I am not the one in charge here. Nor should I be.
There is so much mercy, so much grace in this.
The release, the surrender, the freedom in taking this life as it is given – knowing that in the end, it will not be about all my careful planning and savings. It will not be about the job my son gets or if he ever gets one at all. It will not be about my health or his.
More than anything, it’s the reminder that my son is fearfully and wonderfully made, just as he is.
This side of heaven is always broken, always slipping away.
In the end, what remains is what has always been.