As some of you know, David is currently taking piano lessons. He's doing very well with them, too! I really don't have to nag him to practice, and his teacher says he's one of her best students.
So imagine my surprise when David's father tried to drop him off at his lesson week before last, and found that no one was home. I hadn't received an email cancelling his lesson, so I was clueless as to what was going on. It's not a huge deal, though - his teacher would surely set up a make-up lesson, so I forgot all about it.
Last week on lesson day, I got an email in the morning from his teacher, apologizing for not getting ahold of me sooner. Unfortunately, her father passed away the day of that missed lesson, and she was knee-deep in funeral plans and family visits. I wrote her back immediately to reassure her that it was not a problem and to offer my condolences to her and her family. How awful.
When I got home from work, I sat down with David and explained that there wouldn't be any piano that day, because something sad had happened. Miss Ginny's Daddy died.
David stared at me for a long moment, with his head cocked to one side. Finally he spoke:
"Miss Ginny's Daddy is dead?"
"Yes, Bubby, and it's very sad. You shouldn't talk about it too much, OK?"
He paused for a moment, thinking.
"It's not my fault?"
"No, it's not your fault," I reassured.
"It's her fault?"
Oh my God. This is how your brain works on autism, boys and girls. Something bad happened, therefore it's somebody's fault. And he needs to know whose it is.
I had to keep explaining again and again that it's nobody's fault, sometimes people just die. All the while wondering if he's now going to worry about anyone in his family just up and dying through no fault of anybody. Swell.
And I also get to worry if he's going to go to piano tomorrow and ask Miss Ginny if it's her fault that her Daddy died. Which is highly possible.
There's just never a dull moment in the world of autism. Never.