Written by Alisa Hutton


cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority

The word surrender is a curious one. I think often we associate words with its literal meaning and the context in which we hear it most. In the case of surrender we would often associate it to giving up. A negative term, rather than postive.

As I have walked through my journey of raising my son with Autism it has taken on a different meaning for me, one that comes with a great deal of appreciation.

I recall when my son was diagnosed with Autism and I was hit with what I would refer to as immense grieving. It was a feeling that came with so much guilt and confusion. Here I had this wonderful little boy who I loved beyond anything else yet I felt this intense sadness when he was diagnosed with Autism. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I felt this way. So I said nothing.

Over time I realized this sadness I felt was indeed grieving and it was very real. When we have children we imagine what that will look like. All the stages glittered with emotional moments and milestones. We have expectations, dreams if you will. Society doesn’t really prepare us to imagine otherwise. So when life gives you a differently wrapped gift, then what? We grieve.

I fought the grief for a long time and kept it in my deepest places of my heart. It festered in me like a petri dish of sadness. One day, I speaking with a fellow Mom who also had a little guy with autism and I couldn’t keep it in any longer, I spoke my truth. I told her I how sad I was and why and I didn’t know what to do with it. A funny thing happened, she let out a big sigh and stated “me too”. We both cried and talked and listened. We gave our deepest feelings light and they started to feel no quite as bad.

Over time I met more Moms and I asked if they felt the same as we did and you know what? We all did! We had all been walking around with the same feelings, quietly suffering. All it took for us to lessen this was to find our courage and speak our truth. All of a sudden it became not so bad and started to heal.

Many years later I own this sense of grieving I felt and sometimes still do feel it. I know it is normal and healthy and we don’t need to feel ashamed or hide it.

I was speaking with my partner yesterday about the word surrender. I realized what an important word this has been for me in my journey with Autism. I envisioned when I was a little girl learning how to float. Floating is such a peaceful experience but in order to do it you have to trust your body and the water, how they will work together. You have to relax and just breathe. You have to surrender.

Autism is a journey that is evolving and beautiful. It will stretch you mentally and emotionally in ways that you didn’t even know possible. It will allow you to see and experience love in ways that are such a gift but there is one key to it all. You have to relax and just breathe. You have to surrender. It is a beautiful word and experience. To me, having a child with Autism has been similar to learning how to float. It takes a lot of courage and trust but once you get there it sure is a beautiful feeling.

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