Friday, 07 May 2010
My brother is currently in his late teens, but he has a mental age of roughly an eight year old. Like many Autistic people, my brother has major problems adjusting to changes.
About six months ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. My family decided not to tell my brother about the illness, especially because it is hard enough for a normal person to accept the truth.
With the chemotherapy that my dad has been going through, my dad has been faced with many side effects. His body has become weaker; he is not able to do the same things that he used to do. He used to do all the cooking in the family, which is now an activity that he can no longer do.
About two months ago, my mom decided to retired earlier to take care of my dad full-time.
Even though my brother can see that dad's health conditions are not the same as before, he does not seem to understand that dad is sick.
He continuously asks mom: "Mom, when are you going back to work?"
Mom: "I'm not going back to work anymore. I retired."
He also asks: "When will dad feel better?"
Mom: "Very soon."
My mom spends most of her time taking care of my dad and the rest of the family. She is very tired, and at the same time, I know she is quite frustrated with my brother's questions. It is very difficult to explain in words, but my brother's questions show that he is unable to adjust to changes and that he doesn't understand illness. He does not show any emotion or reaction to what happens. (Even when my mom and I had to take my dad to the ER for two days.)
I want to explain the family situation to my brother in a way that he would understand. But, I don't know how to start.
Do any of you have similar experiences and/or suggestions that you would like to share?