Deep Thinking Aspie

Yesterday was the 32nd anniversary of my dad’s death. A lot of water has
passed under the bridge since then, so I’m not going to dwell on it. I miss
my dad of course, but 32 years is a lifetime, and you just have to move
forward in the end. But it was the reaction I got from Daniel that was the
most interesting bit of the day. I’d said to him that a long time ago on
that day was when my dad died. Now, Daniel is one of the deepest thinking
little boys I know – if not the deepest thinker. He thought about what I’d
said and then started asking questions. “Did he need to lie in peace and
quiet before he died, and was he by himself?” I said yes, and no that my
mum and granddad were with him when he died. Then he asked, “Did he just
close his eyes and go to heaven?” It was such a matter of fact analysis of
it, that it immediately brought a lump to the throat. I just told him what
happened, and why it happened. He may just be seven, but he does need to
understand that death is as much a part of life than anything. Why sugar
coat it? Daniel is quite a thinker, and it would be patronising to give him
anything less than the full story.

That wasn’t the end of it though. Daniel thought about it a bit more and
said, “But he can see us from heaven and he will be happy that you have a
happy life with us.” Although I’m not a church goer, I like to believe in
an afterlife, and that I’ll see my dad and grandparents again someday. But
I’ve never passed that belief directly on to either of the boys – although
they do seem to be up to the church an awful lot at school, despite the
school being a non-affiliated school. To be honest, its not a belief that I
will discourage in either of them. Someday, Jane & I won’t be around for
them, and if the thought that they will see us again will keep them going
in the short term, then fine. Daniel didn’t stop there with his words of
wisdom. He finished off by saying, “He will be happy to see that me and
Matthew are happy being with you.” Sometimes you get angry with Daniel and
some of his behaviour, but he will come back and say the most lovely
things.

Daniel to me is much wiser and older than his years suggest, and he is able
to say those lovely things which suddenly remind you of what a deep little
boy he is. I don’t know if its his Asperger’s that influence him in that
way. He’s a deeply intelligent boy – to the point where school seems to
bore him when he’s not being challenged – and will have conversations with
us that seem way beyond his peers. Yes, he talks about things that are in
his immediate world, but has an understanding of what death is and how it
affects us. At the same time though, he can be quite dispassionate about
it, which lets him ask the questions he does. He always tries to get to the
meaning of what you are telling him. He is so interesting to talk to! Part
of me wonders if he is a gifted child, and has special needs in that
direction, as well as his Asperger’s, but that I might just be biased as
far as that goes!

Although its sometimes easy to think about how mature Daniel seems for his
age but equally, its easy to forget how young and vulnerable he is at
times. Seeing him interact with friends when they are round at our house,
you see that he is often unaware of what constitutes appropriate social
behaviour towards them. He will think nothing of telling wrongdoers about
their actions because he finds working out the nuances of a situation that
may be telling us to keep quiet. He’s quite capable of enjoying Cbeebies
when he’s given the chance and often finds pleasure in the simplest of task
or play. He certainly is a complex little man, which this week has brought
into focus.

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