These Are All the Things My Son's Autism and Cerebral Palsy Robbed From Me

Dear Autism and Cerebral Palsy,

I’ve been meaning to write to you for quite some time, but thanks to you two, I’ve been pretty busy (as you can imagine).

Over the years I’ve cursed at you, yelled at you, cried at you and tried my best to understand you. The more I’ve learned about you, the more I realize how little I know.

But there’s one thing I haven’t done.

I’ve never stopped to thank you.

That’s right. I need to stop and thank you for a few things today.

You probably don’t get a lot of thank you notes mixed in with all your hate mail, so let me try to explain why I’m writing.

You see, you robbed my son of his speech. Because of you, he’s nonverbal and has no language, even though he’s 17 years old.

But when you robbed my son of his speech, I believe God decided to give him a voice and a platform.

My son may not speak, but I believe God uses his life to inspire, bless and teach others around him.

Hey Autism, do you remember that cave you tried to lure us and other autistic families into for the rest of our lives? You know, the isolated dreary cave where you want us all to live in without hope?

We tried it. It just wasn’t for us. So now we do search and rescue, returning to the cave over and over to show others the way out to a better place.

There are so many other things you’ve robbed from me, for which I need to thank you.

You’ve robbed me of my own pride, selfishness and greed.

You’ve robbed me of my tendency to put my work above my family.

You’ve robbed me of living for myself instead of in service to others.

You’ve robbed me of only caring about those who are just like me.

You’ve robbed me of believing there are some struggles just too big for us.

You’ve robbed me of never finding out what God’s plan and purpose is for my life.

black and white photo of father hugging son from behind

Since you came into my life, I’ve met some amazing people because of our common association with you.

Therapists, teachers, assistants, service providers — dedicated and passionate people who have crossed our path and have become part of our story — people I might never have met if it weren’t for you. Thanks to you two, I’ve also met some amazing parents raising their own heroes with special needs who inspire and encourage me.

What you don’t know, Autism and Cerebral Palsy, is that I believe God didn’t take away the struggles, the pain or the challenges; he just simply used them in ways I never dreamed. He’s used them to teach me unconditional love. He’s used them to teach me the essence of grace. He has used them to teach me to find joy in all things. He’s used them to show me how to be content in the little things.

Really, I believe He’s simply used them to draw me closer to Him, help me understand Him, and make me stronger through Him.

In trying to destroy us, we believe all you did was prepare a stage for God to show his glory.

You really helped me take my relationship with God to a much higher and deeper level — so thank you so much! I’m so grateful! I rely and lean on Him now more than ever. I asked God to change and heal my son, and instead He used my son to change and heal me.

I also want to thank you for drawing my wife and me closer together in our relationship. We’ve learned to cry together, laugh together, grieve together and stand strong together because of you.

So you see, Autism and Cerebral Palsy, I have quite a bit of gratitude for you. Of all the things I’ve said to you and about you, I’ve never thanked you.

Who knew that out of my seeds of hate for you, could grow such love for my son?

So consider this my thanks to you.

But let’s be clear, just so you know. I still loathe and despise you with everything in me.


Jeff Davidson

This post originally appeared on Goodnight Superman. 

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.