My heart hurts right now. I have woken up several times over the past few weeks with the image of my mother in her bed in the hospice, or that of my father laying on the concrete dying before my eyes on a pier in St. Thomas. Being autistic (and not even knowing that until I was 19) I may not have been the perfect daughter, but I did try, and as far as my memories reflect, I was really pretty good. I have always wanted only to be good. Loving was always my nature. I remember so many times as a child trying to love my parents and being (physically or otherwise) pushed away. But all I have ever wanted to do is love. Throughout my life I have tried to love many people. Perhaps awkwardly, and no doubt sometimes with an intensity that I realize now that many find intimidating. But something in me has always struggled with that. Love is love, and whether expressed awkwardly, or whether perhaps too intense – it is love. The world needs more love, not less. When I am discouraged from loving, and being loving, it hurts me more than just for myself. It hurts me for the world. I need to love, as love is what I am. I want to love as love is what brings me joy. But the world needs more love – whether from an awkward sixty-one year old autistic lady just as much as from a cute little child. I am still that cute little child – who has spent years trying awkwardly to love people. This is a little girl in a not quite pretty, large, and awkward aging body – who has love in her heart with the same innocence as a child. That needs to be a good thing – not only for me, but for all of us.