Long Road of Companionship
Isolation. It’s a hidden weight on the hearts of extraordinarily challenged individuals and their caregivers. Is an autistic son’s sudden movements and loud voice bothering other people? Is an aging parent’s wheelchair slowing the pathway for normal-paced walkers? Will requesting closed captioning on a screen irritate others?
Sometimes just the thought of potential negatives keeps people—already facing a long list of daily hurdles—from going out and joining the “normal” world.
Our family’s autism-centric reality is so quirky and unpredictable that participating in everyday society is tough close to home, much less anywhere that requires an overnight stay.
Despite the anxiety, with help, practice and determination, we’ve managed to go on a small number of overnight road trips.
The isolation of our autism family life travels with us.
Lighthouses have long been known as remote places of solitude. We decided that our eccentric family unit would fit right in at a historic lighthouse keeper’s house on the rugged Mendocino Coast.
Tales of lonely lighthouse keepers abound. A docent at the historic lighthouse museum we visited told us that the authorities preferred their lighthouse keepers to have a family, rather than to face the overwhelming loneliness of lighthouse living alone.
I realized that despite our partial seclusion from normal society, we are not alone. We have our hardy family unit to walk with on our off-the-beaten-path. We are companions by necessity, and find joy in it. Seeing my sons walk together always warms my heart.
May we all stop to be thankful for the folks who have taken time to walk side by side for part of our life paths. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s Hike Notes, Point Cabrillo Lighthouse-Mendocino, takes readers to a historic lighthouse on the wild and scenic Mendocino Coast.
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Hike Notes 138: Point Cabrillo Lighthouse-Mendocino
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.