FINDING YOUR HAPPY
BY: LESTER GREENE
It started for me in the hospital staring at my mom in a coma, both of us frozen and unresponsive. I wasn’t hospitalized but at that moment it sure felt that way. I was helpless and I couldn’t save her. I was always a mama’s boy; I painted her fingernails, and I even wore some of her clothes when she wasn’t looking. I would have died for my mom and when she died, a small part of me died with her. I had felt guilty that I didn’t get a chance to see her one last time because I thought I had more time. We always think we have more time and on that one day when I was supposed to visit my mom in the hospital, she never woke up. You talk about pain and grief. You have no idea.
Just as I have experienced feelings of loss, Gerald too is dealing with similar emotions. Gerald’s Hands is a movie that tells the story of an autistic man named Gerald who has to deal with the loss of someone special, who was his lifeline. How do you move on when a part of you is no longer alive? Gerald is thrown into this world where he has to fight for everything. He has to fight Bullying; he has to fight people stealing from him; he has to fight Domestic Violence and he has to fight for Love. All he really wants is for someone to love him for who he is, a human being who just happens to be autistic. Gerald is on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. He is often misunderstood, mislabeled and mistreated along the way.
According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. In the Denial stage, Kubler-Ross writes, “Some people at first carry on as if nothing happened.” I was in a state of denial. I didn’t take the time to mourn my loss. I just went to work the next day as if nothing had ever happened. I just remember feeling like there was a black cloud over my head everywhere I went. My energy was just very bad and people could feel it. It wasn’t pretty and I had lost my identity. I then transitioned to the Anger stage where, according to Kubler-Ross, “It’s also common to feel angry towards the person who has died, or angry at ourselves for things we did or didn’t do before their death.” I blamed myself for not knowing when my mother was going to die. I hated the fact that I wasn’t there to see her take her last breath. Why didn’t I just go to the hospital that day to see her? At this point, I was in the Bargaining stage. I was trying to rationalize the inexplicable, but death doesn’t make sense all of the time. It just happens. In retrospect, I think God didn’t want me there because he knew that my seeing her die would have broken me. Thank you, God. I’m grateful that I never really hit the Depression stage and I went straight to the Acceptance stage. I will never forget my mom, but I’m now in a space where I can find joy with her memory and the moments we created and shared together.
Like myself, Gerald is on a journey of finding peace and love. At our core, Gerald and I are one and the same, just trying to find a place where we can be our authentic selves. Happiness is such an underrated emotion that we all need. I found my happy place and I hope that Gerald can find his as well.
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