Susan's Blog

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Nat Is Okay

I have been having a very hard time managing my feelings about what happened to Nat in July. I think about whether he is happy or okay very often. I have nightmares. I talk about it too much. It’s because I feel that I didn’t protect him well enough and I don’t know how to move forward. But even more, I am so worried about how Nat has internalized all that happened to him. How does someone who has a communication challenge like his talk through and make sense of trauma?

So I went to see my old therapist. She had the idea that I make a Nat book for him, just like I did when he was a really little guy and needed help going to Thanksgiving at Aunt Rhoda’s. Give him a framework, the words, the images, to put the story right into perspective for him. About 15 Nat books later, and 25 years later, here is Nat Is Okay. I will try it out on him this weekend.

Nat Is Okay

Last summer Mommy saw that Nat had a big bruise on his chest. Nat did not tell Mommy what happened. But something had happened to Nat, either at ASA, Shaws, the van, or at Thornton Road.

They went to the hospital and the doctor said that Nat had broken ribs inside his chest. These are ribs inside the chest:


Mommy said that Nat could not go back to ASA or Thornton road because she wanted to keep him safe. Whatever had hurt Nat would never hurt him again.

It was not Nat’s fault that he got hurt. Nat is such a good person.

No one should ever hurt Nat. No one should hit Nat. People need to take care of Nat and keep him safe.

So Nat came home. He packed up his room at Thornton Road and he did not go back to ASA.

Nat went to Extreme Sports Camp in Colorado because Mommy wanted Nat to feel happy while his bruises healed. In Colorado, Nat rode a horse named Benji. He had a good time.

Sometimes Nat went with Drew and his social group to do fun things. Sometimes Nat went to Cape Cod. Sometimes Nat went out with Shannon.

In the summer Nat and Mommy visited Charles River Program to see if Nat felt happy there. At Charles River Nat could do Meals on Wheels, go bowling, go to the track, shop for cooking and other good activities. So Nat started going to Charles River on the van with Jackie and Carmen and JP.

Mommy and Daddy loved having Nat at the house. But Nat is grown up and grown ups have their own houses. So Mommy and Daddy looked around and found a nice home nearby.

Nat got ready to live in the new house. He moved his bed and dresser into the new room. He got a new van to take him to Charles River.

But sometimes Nat still feels sad about the time he was hurt, when his ribs were broken. Sometimes Nat feels angry about it, too.

It is okay to feel sad or angry about the time Nat was hurt. It is also hard to move to a new house. The new house is different from home. and Nat does not like when things are different. Nat likes the new house and Charles River, but sometimes people are late or things don’t happen and Nat gets angry.

Once at Buddy Dogs Nat was so angry that the police came and took him to the hospital to keep him safe. Nat did not like being angry or being taken away from Buddy Dogs.

One time Patrick bought Nat a Sprite at Dunkin Donuts and Nat liked the Sprite. But he didn’t like Patrick buying coffee, too. Nat got angry again. Nat hit Patrick but then Nat was sorry he did that.

Patrick is okay. Patrick still likes Nat.

It is okay for Nat to feel angry sometimes. Sometimes every person feels angry. But we have to try to stay calm.

It is okay for Nat to feel sad sometimes. Or scared or worried. But Nat, you should remember that everything will soon be okay. Mommy, Daddy, Makayla, Patrick, Shawna, Shilene, and Shahera want to make Nat happy. Nat should try to remember that we will all try hard to make Nat happy.

But if Nat is not happy, it is okay. Soon the sadness or anger or worry or scared feelings will go away. The sadness, anger, or scared feelings will go away.

When it starts to be spring and summer, Nat will start to feel better about the new house. Nat will start to feel better about the things that are different.

Nat will remember sometimes that he once got hurt but that he is okay now. He will not get hurt anymore. Nat will feel more and more happy. Nat is a good person and many people like him.


I am sad.I do not like that this detailed description even had to be in the forefront of your mind.Yet,it is a very well written,well thought out descriptive time line I feel should be very,very useful.I see,for you too,it never ends.Mother’s never,ever stop protecting their you.

— added by Lisa on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm

Susan–This is stunning. I hope that you and Nat continue to feel better. xo

— added by Judy Bolton-Fasman on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Lauri sometimes gets sad and angry too.
Her daughter Ashley got hurt at her house.
Ashley cried. It hurt for a long time.

Lauri (Ashley’s mommy) cried for a long time.
She still cries sometime.
Sometimes she cries buckets!

Ashley feels better.
Ashley will probally get a new house.
Maybe near Nat!
They could be friends! ?

— added by Lauri on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm

i don’t know you but I see that you’re a wonderful mother who has risen to this challenge. The book looks fantastic

— added by Sharon on Friday, March 10, 2017 at 11:29 pm

Susan, this made me cry. What a terrible world, where someone could do something so evil to someone who is so defenseless. But it’s very well done, and will be effective for Nat, I think. I’m sorry this is so heavy on your heart. My grandma told me, “You worry about them more when they’re 55 than when they’re five, because you have no control. Are they taking their meds? Are they watching their sugars? You can’t do it for them anymore, but they’re still your babies and they always will be.” Sending prayers and good thoughts to you and your family.

— added by Laura on Monday, March 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Dear Susan,
My friend Micki here in Delaware just told me about your blog. I’m so sorry that someone hurt Nat. I hope you found out who did this so they won’t hurt someone else.
We are getting a condo ready for our 24 year old daughter who is on the autism spectrum. Rose wants to move and it is time but we are all anxious. I will move in with her for awhile and she will be just a few miles from home. We want to know that she is safe. We hope to find a roommate, who can help her some and we will continue to plan as we age and see what she needs. Like you our most important concern is safety and a sense of belonging. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that Nat’s next story will be a happier one. Cynthia

— added by Cynthia Campbell on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Oh so beautiful and helpful. You are such an inspiration to me, especially when I don’t know what to do, which is all the time lately. Much love and good wishes to you and your family.

— added by Susan on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

%d bloggers like this: