During this time of social distancing and isolation, Steve and I have been organizing things around the house. Changing Brandon’s bed into a loft bed meant we found things we thought were gone. The following social story brought back some wonderful memories and some sad ones, as well. The following is in Steve’s (my guest blogger’s) words:
Grandpa E. passed away in November 2015. Grandma and Grandpa were a huge part of our family’s life and his passing changed our lives and Brandon’s life immeasurably.
Brandon would always talk about “Papa”, and their pets, daily. “Orange Fat Cat” was their beloved cat Bubba, and there was Max, their dog. Papa would take him to Cabela’s, to the park, always called him “big guy”, and was one of Brandon’s biggest fans.
Brandon and Papa in 1999
Losing a loved one is so hard for everyone, and we struggled with how to explain it to Brandon. One of his favorite people in the world was gone. He’d never see him again, and he initially simply didn’t understand why he couldn’t see him. “Papa’s house, Papa’s house”. We did our best to let him know his new reality and how life would be a little bit different from now on.
Brandon has always responded well to social stories, and we have routinely made him daily lists and schedules so he knows what’s coming. Brandon’s teacher at school wrote a social story to help him better understand what was happening. I remember tearing up when I read it to him every evening for months.
Brandon’s social story about Papa’s passing
It’s never easy to lose a loved one, and especially hard for a child with autism who may not immediately understand that they no longer are able to see that person. We did our best to give Brandon closure and help him understand and cope with his tremendous loss.
It’s never easy for anyone, and we miss Papa dearly.