This blog post is by 17-year-old Seana Wheeler. Seana's 15-year-old brother Ethan is on the autism spectrum.
To the man who chose me,
There are many reasons I am with you. Yet, you and I both know that at the top of my list of reasons is one very simple fact. That fact being you chose me, accepted me and you chose and accepted my brother with autism.
We both know when it came to choosing a life partner, being accepting of and informed about autism was a major priority for me. There is very little in this life that means more to me than Ethan. We have been by each other's side for almost two decades, possibly more by the time you read this. Ethan has always been my biggest motivation for finding a love that is accepting of the world of autism and all the differences that come with it.
The word “challenging” is one of the many words I would use to describe mine and Ethan’s relationship. My family and I have faced many challenges with Ethan and my mother’s health. Over the years, these struggles have become your own. There have been endless nights we talked in depth about my mother having cancer and the worry I felt about the prospect of raising Ethan alongside my dad. When my parents depart this life I will become solely responsible for Ethan’s well-being. Knowing you will be by my side when the time comes will make it that much easier.
Autism has enriched my life and taught me things about myself that will influence my future for the better. I have learned what it is to be patient, giving, understanding and at times what it means to sacrifice. This is all in gratitude to my brother Ethan. Whom without, I would dread to think of the person I would have been. I am beyond lucky to have him in my life. I can only hope he has enriched your life in some way and that by being with me and having him as your brother-in-law has helped you see a different side of yourself.
It has always been our prerogative as a couple to remain as positive about everything where we can. Positivity is always key when dealing with the situations life brings. I am by no means implying that we are the strongest couple or most positive couple in the world. I am only encouraging us to always at least try to be positive together. And with your support, I know this is possible.
The eighteen year old Seana that is writing this hopes we are happy. I can only hope I have brought you as much happiness as you have brought to my life. And to Ethan's.
Thank you for staying with us.
Seana and Ethan