It is a beautiful morning at the lake, watching clouds drift by and the waves on the water. The quiet and peacefulness brings calmness and relaxation. How different from just a couple years ago when my son, Ross, would be waking up, watching his shows on TV and looking for something to eat. I usually was the first one up. Enjoying the quiet while I read news, caught up on work and just enjoyed the morning. My mind would, however, be working on what should Ross and I do today. Would it be nice enough to go out on the boat? Should we go for a golf cart ride, which he loved, to go visit our friends up here? Should we go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner? All of which he loved to do. All the while, selfishly thinking, could I find some time on a Sunday for a nap? To read? or just to putz around. He was my buddy and my constant companion. Boy, do I miss him! It’s been just over 2 years since he seized into a deep coma and after almost 7 months, passed. What a difficult ugly time. But, as I have reflected on that period, it was a peaceful time. We were with him, he was in a safer environment, albeit the neuro ICU. We sat everyday, talking to him, holding his hand and knowing he was under the best care in the world. So different from before. Where the fear of his safety and happiness preoccupied almost every waking moment. Will he be OK in school? Will anyone take advantage of him? Will he walk away from home? Into traffic? Will someone take him? Will his meds react in a negative way? And on and on and on. The life a parent of a typical child is difficult enough, but, adding the challenges of special needs and 24/7 is not enough. Recently at a meeting at Defiance College, where they are pusuing a very exciting initiative to house autistic students on campus, someone asked me what it was like to have an autistic child. I didn’t hesitate and it just came out….”You are freaking about today and fearful about tomorrow!” Wow, so true for so many. This is not to say the absolute love and joy that Ross brought us or how it enriched our lives, it was just something that lived within all the time. Highly concerned for the moment and tremendous anxiety about what the future would bring. Our future has been determined for our son. His love and joy will be with us forever. This hasn’t stopped involvement to help others. To assist with life after high school, educational and residential options and perhaps someday creating a model where those with special needs can live in a safe, happy and productive environment. Maybe all of our efforts working toward this will lessen the amount of freaking about today and fear for the future.