From home, to the residential facility and back again. 4 days.
The thing about driving. It gives a person a lot of time to think. Ruminations about fatherhood, about things that a person might have done differently for David.
I keep coming back to one inalienable truth.
We did what we had to do. Not just for David. But for the whole family. No one should live in constant fear from a loved one. Forcing the whole family to live in such a way, at least in my mind, is a form of psychological torture. I include David.
David didn’t deserve to be constantly in trouble, constantly talked down to, or treated meanly because of his behaviors. Sure they were relentless. Sure they hurt, but they were a symptom of a larger problem.
I pray that the David I spent the last couple of days with continues to grow and develop. Regardless, he is still our son and brother. He is deserving of as positive a life as he can develop. We can’t force him to make changes in his life, we can give him the tools necessary to develop those changes for himself.
I see how much more relaxed our older boys are without the constant pressure to be aware of where David is, and what he is doing. I saw the same with our girls when they were home from college for Thanksgiving. I see it in my bride. And I know I feel it in myself.
For someone with auto-immune disease such as Lupus, a trip like this is hard on the body. There are financial reasons why we can’t go see him more often, but the largest reason is physical. My body just can’t take the travel like it used to when I was in the Army. Where I could drive 1800 miles in a shot without stopping for more than restrooms, gas and food.
Already planning for my next chance to see David. Hopefully in January. One of the things I want to work on in the new year is the development of an Autism unit at one of the residential facilities in North Dakota. This will let us bring David closer to home.