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September 08, 2009


Don't you blame A's neurological problems for the relationship he had with his father. That is unfair and dead wrong. Had his father admitted that A was on the spectrum, and had he accepted A for who he was and allowed him to get help years before he actually did, then their relationship would be fine. MANY parents of kids on the spectrum love and cherish their children and want the best for them, but Jim wasn't one of those parents. He was so ashamed of having a kid like A that he treated him miserably, ignored him except to yell and scream at him, and for A to have anything but bad memories of his father would be miraculous.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but it steams me to see you blame A for his faulty relationship with his father. If Jim had admitted his own spectrum issues, and they had worked together on helping each other with communication and anger issues, they both would have bonded better. But when a father denies his own problems, as Jim did, and refused to accept his son's problems, it is NOT A's fault. He was and still is a kid. And he's a kid with a long legacy of bad feelings towards his abusive father, so expecting him to say Kaddish is really reaching.

I'm sorry that the relationship between your son and his dad was so bad. Maybe, given some time, your son will be able to come to some sort of peace with it.

I had a hard time losing my father not because we were close, but because we were not. I do my best to remember the positive for my children's sake, not for his. It's sad that you're seeing the negative now; reaping what your late husband sowed. I hope in time the pain will ease.

I think that's a bit harsh margalit. For one thing, I think she meant more that some of the problems were due to Abe's autism (ausbergers? Other? Sorry, can't remember). Marriages have ended over less, and that in no way makes it the child's FAULT. Yes, the real problem was that he couldn't deal with it, but there's no reason to shy away from saying what "it" is. For another thing, if you think the husband had spectrum issues, I'm not sure it's fair to say he should have just dealt with them. You don't just become an adult, or parent, an suddenly gain the ability to cope with something you never learned to cope with. I'm not excusing whatever abusive behaviours he may have had, your judgement just sounded a bit black and white to me.

Obviously you know more about the situation than I do, since you apparently know the people involved. Possibly I'm missing a major piece. That just sounded unfairly harsh to me, that's all.

Meagan, you're correct that I was harsh. I've known this family personally for 17ish years and we've been close friends for most of that time. Nothing that I said in the comments was different than what I've said a million times over in real life. This is an enormously complicated situation that was exacerbated by Jim's illness at the very end. Ora knows what I've seen, and she knows how hard Jim's behavior hit me when I saw him be abusive to Abe just because he could. It wasn't a healthy situation, and all I want to emphasize is that Abe is a kid with severe issues and instead of his father showing his love and helping his son to adapt to his world, quite the opposite happened, and it was ugly to watch.

It isn't A's fault. It never was. He's a child on the spectrum who is expected to know why his father didn't like him very much, and his reactions aren't his fault, no matter how his brain works. Abusive parents are abusive parents no matter how religious they are, or how they like to appear to the outside world. I don't blame A one bit for not wanting to say Kaddish for a father that treated him poorly so much of the time.

I think it's ok if Abe & Rosie follow grieving rites just to please you. Often the rituals we follow as teenagers because our family imposes them on us, only become meaningful to us in our late 20's or as we have our own family. That's just the way it is.

There is comfort in adhering to grieving rituals, it's an acknowledgement of otherwise hidden pain. My particular denomination has none, so I've had to create some to help us through our grieving.

Peace to you Ora.

If your son is going through the motions to please you, I'd say you were doing pretty well! Especially if he's on the spectrum. It means he understands your feelings and is accommodating them, even if he doesn't share them.

None of my children grieved when my mother died and, since she had been a lovely mother to me as a child, but was difficult and unhappy in old age (which affected us all, and most of all me, who looked after her), this is still a source of sadness to me, even though I understand the reasons. I'm so sorry about the situation, and I hope that, some time in the future, you'll all be able to talk things through and be closer for it.

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