A Letter to My Mom, All of the Approach In Heaven
Flora and Jenny Rose
Hello, dear readers. Today’s post pays homage to Gayle DeLong, from her eldest, Jennifer Rose. Gayle died on January 5, 2022 after battling breast cancer. Jenny wrote a great book called “It’s Not a Perfect World, But I’ll Take It”. This tribute is certainly another chapter in the journey of a young adult with autism that no one wanted to write. Please join us in sending care and comfort to Jenny and her little sister Flora, who also has autism and may have difficulty understanding the meanings of death and loss. Her father, Jonathan Rose, was an unshakable show of strength for Gayle and his daughters. Let us not forget him in our prayers. Jenny made a music playlist for her mother – you can access it here.
From Jennifer Rose
Are you there mama It’s me, Jenny. Man, oh man, I have so much to say and yet I honestly have no idea what to tell you. Our relationship was … complicated, and although we sometimes fought like mother and daughter, you were my mother and at the end of the day I still loved you. No matter what, I just wanted to see you happy. Of course, if mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy!
It’s been less than 24 hours and I’m already streaming a grief playlist in your honor. Right now I’m streaming “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. Remember how impressed you were with Flora, our daughter / sister, that she listened to classical music in addition to Nick Jr. (Okay, we could do without about 1,000 plays of Paul McCartney’s tape as a drugged 50-year-old, but that’s another story.)
But enough about me. I loved you because you cared for me and nursed me back to health from birth when I was sick, and believe me, I was pretty sick! Because, hey, that’s what mothers do. And that’s not even when you took me on a trip to Israel and all you said was, “Isn’t there another trip?” when I was booted from a trip. Seriously, even Grandpa said more words on my first birthday, and he lived up to the stereotype that Jewish husbands don’t talk much.
Some days I just feel like I want to stop and just be a little normal. Then I realize that my family is not normal and never will be. But hey, we’re handling everything the best we can. Because you know what? We are not normal. We’re doing much, much better than normal. We are resilient. And we’re like that because we had you as a mother.
Through your work in child health defense with the great Robert Kennedy Jr. you have helped children have bright, healthy futures. To quote actress Jane Fonda, Robert Kennedy “has a gift of telling graphic stories that explain how and why power is made to give way.” He has used his gift to help countless lives, be it through his own Environmental or autism work. It is only natural that such a great man would work with you, my equally great mother.
I have to admit that, like any 16 year old girl, I sometimes became unsure of how “pretty” my life was, but I struggled to find myself in an environment that was either supra or subliminal. overwhelming. As a child of two worlds, so to speak, neither severely disabled nor highly functional enough to pass as “neurotypical”, it was always difficult for me to fit in. Feeling alone, I often took refuge in my own fantasy worlds, be it through pop culture or my own imagination. Even today I try to “find myself”. But I can reassure you that one day I’ll be found.
When I learned that you were terminally ill for Christmas, I just wanted you to be healthy and happy. So I got in with Dad to help out the best I could. Seriously, if Stephen Merchant – my favorite actor and comedian and current special interest – had come to my doorstep for Christmas dinner with Dad and me, I would have declined if it had meant you were better. Holidays like Mother’s Day and Christmas are not the same without you. You were an absolutely beautiful soul and no matter what, you will always be my mother.
- Hero to Zero in Australia
- Gayle Louise DeLong 1958-2021
- Support the new platform for poetic justice for autistic creativity and communication