May 10, 2016


Brandon and I spent Mother's Day together.  My husband and step-daughter were out of town.  It start off as a pretty rough day.  Brandon had continuous meltdowns...kicking and screaming.  I left the house for my mom's 45 minutes late, which is rare for me, even having a child with autism to get out the door.

We hung out at the pool, and I had about 15 solid minutes to sit down and relax.  Brandon was over it, and walked around the large backyard.  There are several trees, hills, and lots of space to run around.  He can spend hours out there.  The whole backyard is fenced in, and surrounded by trees and bushes.  There is a creek on the outside of the fence, making the soothing sound of running water that he seems to enjoy.

I was sitting on the hill, watching him play.  Even though the yard is fenced in, I watch him like a hawk, because I am paranoid that if there is a hole in the fence somewhere, he will find it.

Suddenly, I could hear my five-year-old nephew screaming.  He began sobbing because a bee was "chasing" him.  I ran over to the gate to the pool, swung it open, and told him to run to me.  He jumped in my arms and we ran away from the pool.  He calmed down almost immediately, and told me thank you for saving him.

I looked up for Brandon.

I couldn't see him.

Still holding him, I told my nephew, Karson, "We're going to walk down here so I can see Brandon, okay?"

I still didn't see him.

I called out his name and looked around.


I put Karson down and started running towards the fence.

I heard crying.  My eyes darted back and forth, following the sound.  I could not see him anywhere.  I started screaming his name, and my mom and dad came running down.

All I could picture was him laying in the creek with a broken leg.

My mom kept telling me the crying was coming from the neighbor's.  I couldn't think straight.  He was nowhere.  I spun around scanning the yard, holding my head thinking, "This is not happening."  I felt like my mind was spinning in circles.  People say that a traumatic event like this feel like slow motion.  It was the opposite for me.

Finally, I saw him standing on top of the hill at the gate by the pool on the opposite side.

He was totally fine, just looking at the pool through the gate.

I ran up to him.  Crying, I scooped him up.  He was safe.  

I set him down, and suddenly I couldn't breathe.  I was gasping for air.  My chest was tight - something I had never experienced before.  All I could think was, "I can't breathe.  Breathe, Rachael.  Breathe."  I sucked in all the air I could, but it just wasn't enough.  After what felt like an hour of gasping for air, I finally caught may breath.  My chest still felt tight for the next hour.

It took me about 15 seconds to turn my back and get Karson.  15 seconds was all it took for my world to seemingly come crashing down around me.

People, sometimes even family, cannot understand why I don't want to take Brandon certain places.  "He'll do fine!" is what I constantly hear.  Or why I always designate one single person to be in charge of Brandon if I leave the room.  It seems silly to be so adamant that someone is watching him while I simply use the restroom.  It's a constant stress and worry that I have to be on top of.  What happened on Mother's Day is what I dread.  It is my ultimate fear.

If only...

If only he could talk...
If only he would respond to his name when I call...
If only he understood the kind of danger he can put himself in...
If only he understood that his mother worries...

These are things I'm still waiting on, not because I am in impatient person, but because sometimes his autism puts him at risk for danger.


  1. Oh my gosh. How scary! I'm glad he was okay.

  2. I understand, my son would do the same thing. We always scout out the area and try to watch him. But it takes just a moment, and then your mind goes to the worse. Trust him, but watch him. I'm praying for you.

    1. It really does just take a second. When we get his autism service dog, I think some of the stress will go down. I still won't be able to take my eyes of him, but having the dog will be another set of eyes for us!


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