comes to me

his hands bloodied

covered in raw wounds


there are

no tears


He doesn’t know what to do


he holds his hands out to me




and i feel a shudder

invade my heart


I kiss them




and i

taste the blood

on my lips

on my tongue

taste the anger and the pity

the hopelessness and fear

taste the bitter pill I am forced to swallow again


I don’t want to be inspirational tonight

I don’t want to be brave

I don’t want to compare and contrast and count my blessings

I don’t want to utter those stupid words I always turn to in times like these:

“It’s all we know.”


I imagine for a second

wish for a second

that I had sent out a Christmas card

that showed his bloodied hands

his pull-up peeking out from his size 7 jeans

his anti-seizure meds and supplements


his vacant eyes

as he looks towards someplace I am not invited


I imagine for a second

wish for a second

that I had written

F#$% Autism


F#$% IT

Instead of

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

God Bless


I imagine for a second

wish for a second

that he would feel pain, real pain

the kind of pain

that would prevent him from picking and scratching and gouging his hands raw

because maybe if he felt that kind of pain

I would have to feel it a little bit less


I guide him towards the bathroom

wash the blood from his hands

watch it drip into the sink

watch it swirl down the drain

count the new scars

search for a sign of understanding

as I beg him to STOP

Please baby, STOP


and I imagine for a second

wish for a second

that Autism was watching right now

so I could give it the finger















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11 Replies to “His Hands Hurt Me”

  1. This post made a knot grow in the pit of my stomach. A little sound rose in my throat, sort of strangled and out of place. I’m swallowing the lump and blinking back tears.

    I don’t know your boy, I don’t know Autism but I know what it feels like to be a mother.

    “Please baby stop”
    I can’t get that out of my head.

  2. I cried when I read this. As a mom it really touched me. I can’t imagine what your going through but I thank you for sharing it.

  3. I am so sorry for your pain. No words can make a mothers pain go away, but I am sorry and I understand.

  4. I think, universally, as mothers, we can all relate to that shudder in our heart that can only be caused by our children. Regardless of the reason, motherhood bonds us in a way that nothing else can. Thank you for commenting.

  5. Thank you so much Sandy. It is a series of ups and downs, and the best thing I can do is share them all with readers, in the hopes of building a stronger self and a stronger sense of community.

  6. I love you very very much too. Some days just suck, you know? And some are better than others. Either way, I know we aren’t alone.

  7. “Because maybe if he felt that kind of pain
    I would have to feel it a little bit less”

    Tears, Jo–for you and for him…for the chasm, deep and oh so dark–and for the claustrophobic, inescapable closeness-the love so hot it burns. And tears for the light–that you bring by fighting so hard to massage your pain into something more consistently bearable. Each time you post these achingly honest thoughts, there is a supernova burst of love inside my heart for you, precious mama.

  8. It’s me again…I commented on your Autism SUCKS post…can I just say your are such a great MOMMY!! I don’t understand what you go to on a daily basis, but I have HUGE compassion for you and your family. Thanks for letting me peek into your life, you really are making me a better teacher, mother, and person. NO I am NOT a stalker, but a person who cares deeply about kiddos…

  9. Dana! Please be a stalker! I can’t seem to meet my monthly quota, hahah! I am so happy you found my blog and that my posts resonate with you! You sound like an amazing teacher and I’m happy to have you on my team!

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