Mohini Kundu

@mohini-kundu | contributor
Mohini Kundu

15 Quotes to Help Cope With Grief

Grief is intensely personal, and yet it is a life experience that affects so many of us. Though the pain may never leave us, it can be possible to find a perspective that helps bring us comfort. And we are far from alone in our sadness or in the search for hope after loss. We asked our Mighty community for their favorite quotes that have helped them through times of grief. Below are a few of our favorites. What’s yours? 1. “Sometimes it’s OK if the only thing you did today was breathe.” — Yumi Sakugawa “We lost my brother unexpectedly last year. This was something that I read somewhere after our dad had passed away. There’s nothing you can say to someone grieving. So when my niece and nephew called me asking how I made it through when their grandpa passed away, that’s what I told them. They came to me over the holidays and said that was the best thing anyone could have told them. It’s OK to have days that you’re just not OK.” — Cynthia N. 2. “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.” — Khalil Gibran Submitted by Stephen K. 3.  “To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” — J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” “My mom and I used to read the ‘Harry Potter’ books together, and once she passed this quote always stuck with me.” — Hannah A. 4. “It’s OK to feel sad sometimes. Little by little, you’ll feel better again.” — A “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” song “I know this sounds silly, but it is helping (my mother passed away on Sunday). From the ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ (the kids’ show) song.” — Emma M. 5. “And when people try to minimize your pain they are doing you a disservice. And when you try to minimize your own pain you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t do that. The truth is that it hurts because it’s real. It hurts because it mattered. And that’s an important thing to acknowledge to yourself. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t end, it won’t get better. Because it will.” — John Green Submitted by Laurie B. 6. “Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” — Megan Devine “This was brought to my attention in this excellent article by Tim Lawrence.” — Kate Y. 7. “Grief is just love with no place to go.” — Jamie Anderson “I can’t get certain people back. But I can choose to put that love into a new direction and create beautiful things to allow myself to heal. Grief makes you feel so out of control, and losing a loved one is like having a piece of your soul ripped from you. But I have learned the only way I can even begin to heal is to look at how I can honor those loved and lost.” — Charlotte F. 8. “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” — A.A. Milne “Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh.” — Joanna M. 9. “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” — Rodney Atkins, “If You’re Going Through Hell” Submitted by Ashton P. 10. “Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.” — Glennon Doyle Melton, “Love Warrior: A Memoir” Submitted by Katie S. 11. “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — A.A. Milne, “The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh” Submitted by Kelli Martin 12. “It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” — Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy “Reminded me that it’s OK to not be OK right away.” — Samantha S. 13. “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.” — Ernest Hemingway, “A Farewell to Arms” Submitted by Samantha J. 14. “Nothing you love is lost. Not really. Things, people — they always go away, sooner or later. You can’t hold them, any more than you can hold moonlight. But if they’ve touched you, if they’re inside you, then they’re still yours. The only things you ever really have are the ones you hold inside your heart.” — Bruce Coville, “Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher” Submitted by Zoe A. 15. “May love be what you remember most.” — Darcie Sims Submitted by Laura H. Image via Thinkstock.

Mohini Kundu

17 Things Not to Say to People on the Autism Spectrum

  As a society, we’ve taken some significant steps towards greater acceptance of individuals with autism spectrum disorder in recent years — from mainstream television portraying characters on the spectrum, to large corporations finding ways to better support the community. But despite increasing information and awareness, many people still may not know how to respond to an autism diagnosis in a way that reflects true understanding of the community and the experiences of those on the spectrum. Even the things that are becoming more commonly known about autism — for example, the difficulty for some people on the spectrum to maintain eye contact or navigate social situations — can be detrimental to the community in the form of generalizations and stereotypes and ignoring an autistic individual’s unique experience. To help foster more understanding, we asked our readers on the autism spectrum to share things they’ve heard that they wish others would stop saying. Here’s what the community had to say: 1. “I really wish people would stop saying, ‘Oh, but you’re so normal.’ When people say this, it feels like it is discrediting all the work I have done to get to the point where I am almost ‘normal.’” 2. “‘I won’t have my child vaccinated. The risk of autism is just too high!’ Both myself, my younger brother and my son are on the spectrum. It’s so lovely to hear, on a regular basis, that parents would rather potentially expose their precious children to deadly diseases than have them ‘end up’ like me.” 3. “I wish people wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, but aren’t we all a little autistic?’” 4. “I hate it when people say I’m ‘acting crazy’ and ‘You need to calm down.’ Sensory overload isn’t fun, and even at my age, it still happens more often than not. It doesn’t make me ‘crazy,’ and I’m not overreacting. I just get overwhelmed.” 5. “I just asked my 9-year-old son, and he said he wished others would stop telling him to stop making his clicking noise because he likes the way it gives pressure in his mouth and he feels calm. He wishes other people better understood how he gets calm.” 6. “When I’m trying to explain the anxiety I feel about crowded places and loud noise and people minimize it by saying, “Well, yeah, I don’t like that either.” It’s as if I’m making a big deal out of something so menial, but they don’t get how my sensory sensitivities can cause me physical discomfort and distress. I’m not being dramatic.” 7. “When people tell me I don’t have feelings or shouldn’t/cant have emotions. I most certainly do have emotions, it just takes me a little longer to understand them.” 8. “I wish people would stop saying, ‘Are you sure you actually have Asperger’s/ASD?’ People are so quick to judge someone’s current situation, not understanding where they came from and what it took them to get where they are today.” 9. “‘So and so’s son/daughter has autism, but theirs is much more severe than yours.’ Just because you cannot always see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” 10. “‘You’re incapable of knowing what others are actually saying, thinking, or feeling’ — said the people who hurt me the deepest throughout my life.” 11. “My personal favorite: ‘Oh, I know someone with autism.’ *Person continues to ramble generic stereotypes like a lecture and ignore you as an individual.*” 12. “‘I am so sorry you have that.’ There is nothing to be sorry about. Autism is another way that the world is looked at.” 13. “‘You must be like Rain Man, then!’ No. I’m legit not.” 14. “My kid wishes other kids would stop using the word ‘autistic’ as an insult.” 15. “A schoolteacher told me my Asperger’s is an ‘excuse.’” 16. “’Can you please look me in the eye?’ No, I can’t.” 17. “My 11-year-old daughter said, ‘I don’t like it when people say I can’t do something. I can do anything. It might be harder and take longer because my brain needs more time, but I can do it.’” Image via Thinkstock.

Mohini Kundu

35 Things Special Needs Parents Want Their Family and Friends to Know

  One thing we hear often from parents in the Mighty community is that their families are just that — families, like anyone else’s. But there are certain parts of their experiences that can look different and may not be fully understood, even by the people closest to them. Furthermore, many of us may not know exactly what these parents need from us, their supporters. We asked the parents of children with special needs in our community to share what they wanted their friends and families to know about their lives. Hopefully this spreads empathy and understanding. Here are some of their responses. 1. “Even when it looks like we have it all under control, we could still use help, even if it just means a hug of support when overwhelmed.” 2. “It’s not always easy to go out. I wish people would visit more if they want to see us, instead of insisting I bring my son into a loud, difficult environment that he can’t cope with.” 3. “We might not be someone else’s version of ‘happy,’ but we are our own version of happy. We have figured out what works for us, and we only operate one day at a time.” 4. “Keep reaching out to me. Keep calling and visiting. It’s hard for me to reach out and call friends and family. Every day is so full. Don’t forget that I still need you.” 5. “Although we’re coping on the surface, underneath I am terrified of the responsibility.” 6. “We don’t do spontaneous.” 7. “Don’t feel sorry for us.” 8. “ Define ‘normal.’ What’s normal in my house is not what’s normal in your house or any other house, special needs or not. Normal is relative to who is defining it. Please be sensitive to this. Everyone has a journey and they all take different roads, and they are all beautiful, each in its own way. I love my normal.” 9. “T he way we do things is because we’ve tried everything else. Please do not judge our decisions.” 10. “The worrying never stops, even when he is doing well.” 11. “ No, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. However, I wouldn’t change it for the whole world.” 12. “The hardest thing to do is keep focus on the miracles and progress when deep down there is so much fear. Will he have friends who accept him? Who will take over his daily care if something happens to me? How can we pay for more therapies? How will we deal with ignorant people’s hurtful comments? The fear is endless and haunting. And I want to enjoy his beauty, curiosity and humor, too. The fear and joy are constantly competing for my heart and head space. I don’t need my friends to ‘fix’ anything, just to listen and care about us.” 13. “My children are a blessing, not a burden!” 14. “Stop judging my child for what he says or does. He can’t help it, whether you believe it or not.” 15. “Ask! Ask us how we are coping. Ask how he is doing. Ask about his disorder. Ask how you can help. Ask how the other children are coping. Just ask!” 16. “Everyone’s always looking for an answer a way to ‘fix’ him. He’s not broken. There is no answer. He writes his own book. Be thankful you get to partake in his story and enjoy every minute along the way.” 17. “We don’t want your pity. We want your willingness to understand and accept.” 18. “Please educate your own children about bullying, and encourage them to be a friend to someone who may be different.” 19. “I am his safe place. Listen when I say we can’t go or have to leave.” 20. “ Everything is an accomplishment. We don’t sweat the small things. We take joy and pride in every day together. Every moment together is as precious as life itself.” 21. “Life is chaotic, loud, very, very messy, and exhausting, but we wouldn’t change it. Our kiddos are still our kiddos. We don’t need quick-fix advice. We need lots of coffee and some laughs thrown in.” 22. “Don’t be quick to judge who and what you see. You never know what the true story is, and you can’t know what your reaction might have been if you were in my shoes.” 23. “O ur children are more like other kids than they aren’t. Treat them no differently than other children you love. Be patient, give hugs, and include them in all that we do. They are our future.” 24. “W e are harder on ourselves than anyone else ever could be, so be kind with advice! Just because it doesn’t seem like part of your plan for us, doesn’t mean we don’t think there is potential for it to work!” 25. “ I may look like a super mom, but really I am just a mom. I really just want to give credit due where it should be. That’s my son, who gives me the inspiration to keep moving forward and never give up. I’m not saying it’s easy or that it isn’t full of emotions and worrying. It’s a roller coaster ride, but it has the most beautiful scenery!” 26. “It can be lonely. Please, please teach your children to respect and love, not fear or hate people who are different. Nothing hurts more than watching my child be left out or ignored or left behind.” 27. “ Yes, my schedule is full of doctors’ appointments, and physical therapy, surgeries and more. But I can make time to see you, if only you would ask or invite us over. It is hard to ask for help. We are so used to doing it on our own, but we need help sometimes, even if it’s just an ear to vent to.” 28. “ Experience our home and our life. See how amazing our kids are in their comfort zones, rather than an unfamiliar environment that may incite unpleasant behaviors from overstimulation. You will hopefully leave with a better understanding.” 29. “ We are not bad or lazy parents. We have learned with the help of our son what works best for all of us and are very grateful for that!” 30. “ I don’t have super powers and I am not a saint. People say, ‘I couldn’t do what you do,’ but I’m sure you could. We all just do what we have to do. We take care of our families and life, just like everyone else.” 31. “Don’t feel sorry for us or embarrassed by our children. We love them for who they are and are just as proud! Reach out to comfort us, but understand we wouldn’t change our children for anything else in the world!” 32. “ We might be late, we might not get there at all. But please know we tried our best. ‘Simple’ things sometimes are not that simple.” 33. “ It may seem like we have our sh*t together, but we don’t. We learn about new challenges daily. We still hurt daily from unacceptance. We feel isolated on a daily basis. There is so much more going on behind the scenes you know nothing about.” 34. “ You may be the only person we can tell our ‘real’ truth or feelings to. Don’t try to fix it or feel bad for us. Just support us and love us.” 35. “Even if we look different, we are a happy family, exactly like you.” Image via Thinkstock.