In Sickness and in Health and in Autism

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On our honeymoon in Hawaii

On our honeymoon in Hawaii

Twenty-five years ago today we were married. We did not even know the word autism back then. It was the farthest thing from our mind as we started out our married life. We thought we had our life all planned out. Marriage, children, careers. Little did we know that God had a different plan for our life. We recall the beautiful reading from Corinthians, Chapter 13 that was read at our wedding Mass.

“Love is patient, love is kind… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Our wedding day

Our wedding day

We Can Trust These Words

After twenty five years we know that we can trust these words. We have experienced the good times of marriage, the blessing of four beautiful children, but difficult times as well. This includes hearing our third child, our daughter, diagnosed with autism. We look back to when we were preparing for marriage in Pre-Cana class many years ago. The presenter asked us to consider possible scenarios: infertility, adoption and raising a child with a disability. We didn’t think we would be the couple in the room that would be facing this only a few years later.

Exchanging vows

Exchanging vows

Parents of children with autism deal with unique challenges: the stress of attending countless doctors’ appointments, advocating for school services, having little time for self or as a couple, to name  just a few. When our daughter was first diagnosed with autism, we didn’t realize what it would entail. This would be a big deal. Our life would really never be the same. We have also come to realize that because of autism we have learned to advocate together, problem solve, and support each other through difficult circumstances. We have come to depend on each other more than if we did not have a daughter with autism. When you are going through struggles like this together, you realize how important your marriage covenant is. When you recognize this and the sacramental nature of marriage, you realize the strength and depth of God’s love for all of us. Even though autism was not included in the plans we had laid out for our married life together, it was the plan that God had laid out for us. We have honored our marriage vows, trusted in God’s wisdom and happily celebrate twenty-five years together today! We look forward to all the good times coming our way as we embark on the next twenty-five years. We know there will be joyous times and challenges ahead for us but we know that love is patient, love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Starting our life together

Starting our life together

Copyright 2015 David and Mercedes Rizzo
Photos courtesy of David and Mercedes Rizzo. All rights reserved.

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About Author

David and Mercedes have four children. They write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. David is a physical therapist. Mercedes is an educator. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. They can be contacted at [email protected] Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Their publications are available at LoyolaPress.com.

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