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Guest Blog: One Father's Journey, Eric J

In 2012, I was widowed. I was far from prepared to become a single father, much less the single dad of a child with disabilities. I had only been living with my family for (2) years, having moved everyone to Maryland for my last tour of duty.

Previous to this, my wife and I had lived separately for (5) years - first I was in Norfolk, Virginia and then Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. My wife and son stayed in Connecticut. There is nothing out there for men who are caregivers. At least nothing that I've been able to find over the last (8) years. I don't "fit in" with mom Facebook groups - although to be fair I haven't tried.

In my role as the founder of Special Needs Navigator, I help people around the country find the answers to questions they may not have even known they should be asking. But I've never felt like I had a place to let down my guard. Again, to be fair I can't say I've looked real hard either. I didn't think it was an option, so why bother.

I don't remember where I heard about Paul and Autism Dadvocate, but I do remember immediately reaching out to learn more. I'm excited for what this could become. If you're anything like me, you didn't have an example to follow. I joined the Navy at 17 for a reason - my parents were the farthest thing from role models you can imagine. Certainly not someone to go to for advice on how to cope with an adult son on the Spectrum. It feels liberating just writing this. I sincerely hope other men see this as the opportunity I believe it is. A place to set aside stoicism and perfection. We see you, we hear you, and we are here for you.

Eric J -- Frederick, MD


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