Having a Brother with Autism

I knew my brother was special and I knew he was different. But what I never understood was why at age 29 he had one friend and why he chooses to confine himself inside four walls. He is free from his room just not his life. There would be days on end where he would leave his universe to get the bare necessities and go back into the magical world of gaming. My heart has and will forever break for him. I couldn’t imagine the loneliness that comes along with Autism. As much as I try to take him out, I’m not his age and being as high functioning as he is, “hanging out with my sister is lame.” I yearned for his friendship but I had to mourned the loss of the brother-sister relationship that we never got the chance to have. I always knew I would take care of him no matter what. It was like knowing how to breath. You can’t remember how you did it but just knew that it was something you did to survive. Taking care of him was that something. During the early days of my serious relationship I mentioned that it was a package deal, him and I go together. It was never a question, it was never something my parents have ever had to figure out, it was never something my fiancé had a second thought about. This was natural. This is my life. He helps me every day to become a better therapist and to enrich the lives of others around me. He helps me to be as compassionate as I am. He helps to build my patience although at times it’s frustrating. Even being a therapist, I find sometimes it’s hard because I expect so much from his abilities. The best thing I can do is to step back and assess what I could do differently to get the response I’m looking for. There may be hard days that seem to drag on but there are also amazing days where I get to hug him and hear that he loves me without him stiffening up or hiding. I wouldn’t trade any of those days. Each day the sun shines and we survive just as we did the day before, as a family.