A part of me

I have always lived my life wondering and hoping that I could make a difference. We all want to make an impact that is positive and helps others in some way. It is part of our human nature to want to reach out and share a part of ourselves and in turn provide a source of support and comfort to someone in need. As a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, an uncle, a friend, a student, an employee, a colleague, a husband and a father I have learned many things in my life for which I am very grateful. I have grown to realize that our lives are everchanging, constantly evolving, always shared with others and filled with hopes, dreams, ideas, visions, accomplishments, disappointments, joys and heartbreaks.

If someone asked me to define who I am and to discuss what it is I wish to be remembered for I would reflect deeply before answering this and I would be very sincere, honest and speak from my heart because I have experienced the good fortune of living with special people in my life who have passed on and I felt a part of me has been lost in their passing. I truly believe that the good in others rubs off on us making us better in our own lives. We are certainly influenced by others and the best impact a person can have on us is to leave us with their memory and a positive feeling that resides within our heart and our mind. Whenever that moment comes where we think about that special bond we once had with that person we feel blessed and privileged. This is the gift that I wish to provide to another making them feel they are not alone and that they indeed are loved and appreciated.

If I could give you a brief glimpse into my life I would first have to say that my childhood was filled with many happy moments and that I had very loving parents who cared for me and helped me to believe in myself. There were times I had doubts and wondered how I would feel as I grew into adulthood. Everything seems to be a mystery filled with uncertainty and we have to assume that our lives are important and have meaning and we should always feel special even when we are feeling down. Life is too short and we will realize this when we start to lose those who were special to us, certainly our parents. They were our first teachers and they taught us about life, love, perseverance and to believe in ourselves. They raised us from infancy to adulthood and they listened to us each and every day. We take that with us and we try our best to do the same for our children if we are so blessed.

When we become parents we start to appreciate all that our parents had done for us and we try to instill in our children the same family values we learned as children. When it comes to caring for our children we will nurture them, love them, cherish them, guide them, treasure them, teach them and one day we will have to accept the fact that our children will become adults too making their own choices and living apart from us. For now we will treasure the times we have with our children and we hope we will always be there for them sharing, living and experiencing all that they encounter as they navigate through life on their terms. It is our very special gift to experience the joys of raising children and we certainly want to do our very best to help them develop into fine young adults ready to take on the many challenges that come their way.

I have become very sensitive to my son’s difficulties and challenges as an autistic child and sometimes I feel like crying but a part of me realizes that I need to be strong and very supportive always encouraging him and staying devoted to helping him through as he encounters life with the many ups and downs we all experience. He teaches me and helps me to understand what is most important giving me a real perspective on our lives shared with each other. I have become a much better person for understanding and knowing what my son goes through and for that I am very lucky. My son has showed me so much in his young life and I will always hope to be there for him every step of the way supporting him, guiding him and teaching him with his mom, my wife by our side.

I have been writing to help express my feelings, my hopes, my wishes, my intentions, my fears and most of all my love for my son who has taught me so much about life and courage. For him living with autism is an everyday challenge and we all must realize that although it may be a challenge we have to help him focus and live each day with a smile and a brave face with words of encouragement and an unconditional love that knows no boundaries. My mission in life is to do my very best in raising my son and helping him through each and every day loving him, guiding him and always being there for him. He has the potential and the intelligence to do good in his life and we need to constantly reinforce this with him with positive, loving and reassuring words of wisdom and hope. My hope is that my son will know no limitations and will be able to achieve his dreams and make great strides in his life living with courage, hope, faith, trust, love and an abundance of friends and family there for him always. Knowing that my son will be ok in his life will make me feel better and allow me to have peace in my life.

I dedicate this to my wife and son who have showed me so much and opened my eyes to many things. I am forever grateful.

Edward D. Iannielli III