Hello again, folks.  I hope you are all okay.

Tom xx

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  • I'm sorry to you all for my behaviour in the past.  I was being rather silly.

    I'm okay now.  Settled into my new job.  Finished the first draft of my book.

    It's an odd time for me at the moment.  It's mum's birthday on Tuesday, and my brother and I are meeting up (first time since the funeral in May) to scatter her ashes.  I'm not looking forward to it.  We've maintained friendly terms with the occasional text, and he always seems conciliatory towards me.  Or maybe it's just that he feels, as a blood brother, that he needs to be.  Maybe he feels guilt about a few things.  I do, too - but then guilt is a constant with me - even if there's nothing to feel guilty about.  I think he knows, without my saying anything outright, that I no longer have any desire to see his wife again.  She has been the source of so much damage over the years.  She's been a very divisive presence in our lives.  Personally, I feel that my brother struggles with his loyalty to her and to his own natural family.  As a friend of mine put it, it isn't necessarily his fault.  He's basically been Stockholmed.  I've said some things in the book, such that if it ever got published and he was to read it, it would finish our relationship.  I've been balanced towards him, I think.  But not towards her.  And I make it clear that I think he's been brainwashed (though I put it with far more subtlety than that, of course).  I don't want to hurt him, really, because I truly think he suffers.  But I can't not speak the truth as I see it.  His natural daughter has suffered greatly because of the breakdown in her relationship with him over the years.  His wife doesn't have a single kind word to say for her.  Whereas my brother's step-daughter is the golden one who can do no wrong.  My niece told me that when she was still a child, she'd go to stay with my brother and his wife every other weekend - and she was always made to feel inferior by her.  The other one was always favoured.  She hated it.  And now, 25 years later, she is quite messed up by it all.  It's tragic.  But it happens so much, I suppose.

    The other thing I'm not looking forward to, of course, is the anniversary itself.  Just recently, I've begun to feel the loss of mum much stronger.  I keep a vigil every Wednesday evening for her (the day she passed).  Last Sunday was 200 days.  And, very strangely, at 3.22 am on her birthday, it will be 5,000 hours.  I hope to keep a small amount of the ashes, which I thought I might have made into a piece of jewellery or an ornament.  There's a company that offers such a service.  I still feel her presence around me, and I feel guided by her.  It gives me a sense of security, and the fortitude to go on.  But I struggle, too.  There's only me now.  I have that self-reliance that is part of the 'gift' of my autism.  But I nonetheless feel adrift in the world sometimes.  I feel exhausted a lot of the time - another legacy of autism, with the difficulties I've had throughout life.  I think life takes a bigger toll on people like us.  We have more challenges to overcome.  In dark moments, I wonder what it's all been for.  Why have I survived like this?  For what purpose?  But I still do feel there's a purpose.  This book has been very important, and will continue to be important - to me, if not to anyone else.  It's a story of struggle and acceptance.  And, most of all, love.  I'm glad I was here to write it.  It's a testament - both to her life, and to mine.