Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Passing Thanks (dedicated to Donna Carmen)

She was one never afraid to speak her mind. That was my Grandma Carmen. If she had any opinion at all, whether you asked for it or not, she would give it to you. It may not be what you wanted to hear either, but she was very honest. Thing is, I don’t ever remember her being wrong. She passed away in the hospital just yesterday and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Yes, that creates an interesting array of thoughts. As I sit here and remember her, I realize that I’m thankful for having her in my life. She was very influential to me and one of the most supportive people in my family.

She took me in when I was stranded in the streets of Los Angeles at 17 years old. I was a troubled and random kid who still didn’t know that he was autistic or what that meant. Her strong honesty and direct communication guided me towards finding a job and doing for myself. I didn’t always like it, but it worked.

When I learned about having autism, she was one of the first family members to take immediate interest. She often had articles and people to tell me about when spoke after that. Like everyone, she knew there was something going on with me, but no one knew what it was.

I remember Fourth of July get togethers, family reunions, home shopping network and football being a big deal around her house. I remember the giant satellite dish and Grandpa’s giant ham radio tower antenna. I remember more Avon “shaped” cologne bottles than I ever saw in my life.

I remember anytime I was hungry while staying in her home she would say, “the food’s there to be eaten” and “If you leave hungry it’s your own fault”.

So I have a lot of experiences to be thankful for and I learned a lot that helped me in life. I’m very thankful and that is what I am carrying into my Thanksgiving this year.

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