The Day After My Son Moved into a Residential Facility

2 min read

Allowing Nate to move to a residential facility wasn’t easy.  We had spent 21 years together, however 17 of those years were mainly, Nate and me…….together.

The day after I drove him to the apartment, I awoke with a numb feeling over my body. It was as if something was missing from me. It was my son.  The familiar sound of his voice in the morning, tossing and turning in his bed, just waking up was no longer there.

I got out of my bed and walked into his bedroom, looking at his empty room. I stood thinking about our morning ritual. It would have began with me walking over to him, where I would have placed a kiss on his forehead.  This would make Nate take his blanket and cover his head, as a sign that he wanted me to leave him alone. I would walk away, agreeing to give him a few more minutes of rest.  After about 10 minutes or so, I would then walk back into his room, to remove the blankets, to wake him up to start his day.

After Nate was dressed, he would immediately rush down the stairs for breakfast.  There he would sit at his seat at the table to  devour the food that I prepared for him.  Whether it was a bowl of hot oatmeal or grits, Cherrios, or sausage and eggs, Nate smiled, in pure delight.  After I cleaned up, we would put on our coats  to we make our way to the end of the street, to await the arrival of his school bus. Once the bus arrived, I would buckle him in, and then watched them drive away.

Yet, now that routine was…no more.

As I thought about our life, sadness came over me.  So, I immediately dressed, getting in my car to drive to the apartment. As I entered the door, I walked quickly to Nate who was just waking up. I helped with his dressing and then I sat with him and watched as he ate his breakfast. After he was done, I assisted him with putting on his coat, then I walked with him to his class on the campus.

Once there, I knew I couldn’t stay.  So, I kissed his forehead as he nudged me away.  I then walked out the building and to my car. Once inside, I drove through the campus gates, as tears ran down my face.

I missed my son.


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  1. 5
    Linda Radzik

    Hi Charlene, it’s been awhile and you might not remember me. But I remember you and Nate. My daughter Megan is about his age, and she is still at home. I also struggle with questions about her future. Knowing your strong faith guided you to this decision I am sure it is right for you and Nate right now. God bless you as you move forward into a new and different future.

    • 6

      Hi Linda, I surely do remember you from the Family Learning Conferences. I understand your struggle about the future with Megan. I still struggle with the future with Nate and if something happens to his father or me. It’s tough, but God will guide us all!

  2. 7

    I understand this on a different level as a sister who had to find a group home residence for my brother Stephen who has autism. This was back in the 1980s. After what seemed like years of fighting with social security to get him SSI & Medicaid the day came in 1989 when Stephen went to live in his residence. The first night I came home from work and Stephen was not running down the steps to greet me I went to my bedroom and cried.
    However in the long run I know I did the right choice because before the 1990s were finished both our parents had passed away.
    We have always been a team but since all our immediate family has died we are even closer than ever. I can truly say that my brother Stephen is my best friend and as we make that journey to our 60s we shall remain a united team forever. Sorry for the long post.

    • 8

      No, need to apologize for the long comment. It was so great to read. This only helps me to see even more that I made the right move for my son and that someone else knows that feeling of the house being empty. Thank you so much for leaving your comment. I needed that.

      • 9

        Thanks. Even though I work a full-time job I do my best to make sure I spend birthdays, holidays and special occasions with Stephen. We take in as many of the sights, sounds, places and spaces that New York has to offer and we can get to. Our favorite holiday or at least mine is Halloween. We both dress up in costumes and one year Stephen won #1 prize for his costume. He will be 56 on May 3rd and I’ll probably take him as always to the Natural History Museum because he loves dinosaurs. Love my baby brother!! I’m 58!! We still get out and about enjoy life.

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