Sometime the Mighty Oak Falls


A friend once asked “What’s your biggest fear?”  To be honest it’s something that haunts me everyday.  My biggest fear is not knowing what happens to Cade when I am gone.  I am sure every parent has that fear.  However, at some point there is comfort in knowing your child will be independent.  Cade will never be independent.  That fear is something that grips my soul.

My mother passed away when I was seventeen.  I recall the peace she had in knowing my siblings and I would be all right.  She was a very religious woman but more importantly she had faith.   She was kind and generous and pure of heart.  Unfortunately, she didn’t always see herself that way.  She was deeply rooted in her Catholic religion and viewed herself as a sinner.  The strange thing is she never saw anyone else in that manner.  The critical views she had of herself led her to several nervous breakdowns.  I remember the first time I visited her at the state mental hospital.

The tall pine trees swayed in the wind.  Their narrow forms stood reaching high as they rocked to and fro.  The smell of summer breezed through the air and I anxiously awaited my visit.  The hospital stood among acres of woods.  There were many varieties of trees but I clearly remember the pines.  I admired their constant fight to stand tall regardless of the winds.  I observed the hospital door waiting for mom to appear.  A streak of red caught my eye and I glanced upward.  It was a kite made by one of the patients.  A strong gust carried it and away went the kite.  The trees continued to sway.  I watched for a moment then shifted back to the door.  I waited for the slightest movement.  When the door finally opened I ran and embraced her.  The hour I spent with her that day I will always cherish.

Many years have passed since then.  Many storms have blown through those woods.  Although some of those trees still stand tall, many have snapped.  There’s a breaking point when even a mighty oak tree falls.  There are times I feel like those pines.  Raising an autistic child is exhausting.  Sometime the pressure knocks me back.  But love, dedication and faith lift me back up.  I have faith that no matter how bad things get our family will make it through.

My heart goes out to the many parents of children with severe disabilities.  They will never have the peace of knowing that one day their children can survive on their own.  My mother had that peace.  She may have let her religious expectations beat her down and break her but her faith stayed strong.  Her faith let her know that we were going to be all right.  It also let her know that she was going to be all right.  This is something she wrote shortly before she passed.

Our Heavenly Home

I hear his voice calling me

He’s going to take me home

I haven’t got a care at all

He’s coming very soon

A life of all tranquility

A love that never dies

An everlasting hope for all

Our light will be his eyes

The golden road of life above

Keeps going on and on

A morning star for each new day

A newness will be born

The living water overflows

The road will never end

Hosanna in the  highest place

His angel he will send

The strength of all tomorrow too

There’s none that can compare

I’ll see a new horizon soon

He wants us all to share

Helen Melerine 

  • Rest in peace Mom (November 16, 1934 – October 20, 1985)             

 Kelly Jude Melerine