Desperate. I know it.
Defeated. Without a doubt.
Wanting it to end. Yes.
These are the deep, dark emotions of having a child who isn’t “typical.”
The above link will take you to a four minute and thirty second story about a woman who murdered her autistic son. According to the report, she then tried to end her own life. In this moment, I’m not sure how I feel about her living (she lived). Truth be told, I wish her pain could have ended. I wish she wouldn’t have been found. I wish she had been allowed to finish what she started. Her life may now be filled with peace because her son is no longer in pain, but I imagine the pain of what she did and what she will go through now will also be unbearable.
I hold a glimmer of hope that she may become a beacon and a spokesperson for the pain we are all feeling in the situation of raising children who have needs that are just barely met, only sometimes, mostly not though.
I do not know her pain, but the story I saw brought me to my knees with compassion, fury, and helplessness. Her autistic son was in writhing pain and had no way to express it except in a way that required five to six officers to restrain him. This woman’s autistic son seemed like an infant in a grown body—in a system that has no healthy way, YET, to effectively help him. Or her.
See, I don’t have a son who thrashes out and strikes me and is unable to communicate. But I know there are hundreds of thousands that do. I have a son who can verbalize and cry and pace and release his emotions with sounds and words. His words sure do hurt sometimes, but even that can be managed with therapy, medications, and compassion. I have a son who feels safe sharing his pain and this is because I am able to create a safe container for his huge emotions. I have the patience to help him through these times, even when he is giving his rage and anger to me and at me. I know I am not going to get a black eye because my son is in pain.
This woman did not have that safety. She was desperately doing all that she could, from what I saw in this video, to give her son the very best life. For him.
How long does he have to writhe in pain? How long does she have to watch helplessly as the powers-that-be tell her what she has to do? How long does she have to guess and fight for her son’s rights as a human being? And where can she go and what can she do while she fills out paperwork for help that will take hundreds of dollars and twenty-two days to gather. After that, it’s five months to wait for a response that has a 70 percent chance of being declined (not that I know anything about applying for benefits). And the cost—good golly, did she even have money to cover the state law enforcement costs, not to mention the medical bills? Staggering thought.
But in this big wide “People World” (as opposed to the safety for these children in “Video World”) as I refer to it, there is a slathering of judgment, misunderstanding, and violence. Violence from outsiders looking in with words, with mean looks, with unabashed judgment of what’s right and what’s wrong with each other. From where I stand, there really isn’t a whole lot of compassion for us parents of different brainers. I feel judged much of the time even though I know for a fact I did not teach my son to scream and cry when he doesn’t get his shoes on first. I’m not kidding.
This woman watched her son be wrestled down by more than five officers. This woman watched her son be restrained for days on end and had to spoon feed him. This woman slept on the floor, most likely to help soothe his pain if he woke up scared or hurting. And we can only imagine what else she had to deal with while all that was going on. What were her and her son experiencing between the start of the attack and the time it took to call for help and then for “help” to get there? Just think about the daily life this woman led. My head shakes and my heart goes out to support her and all of us in this.
I write my opinion, but what do I want? Dear reader, what do I want after seeing that heart wrenching story?
I want us all to turn our judgment into compassion. I want us to not condemn this woman for trying to end the insurmountable pain she and her son suffered. She’s right, her son deserves better than to be treated like an animal. And if that’s the best we can do as far as outside assistance for her and her son, then a big fat shame on us. And so, in this moment, I condone her choice. My heart breaks that she even had to go that far. This woman, who really seemed to care (because there are others who harm their children intentionally), had to make a choice because the pain was just. too. much. for. her.
There is another side to this, but for the sake of this post and this thought, I want to hold powerfully that I stand with her, holding her hand and giving her strength and even carrying her when she needs it. Yes, that feels really good to help carry her through this time.
So when you read this and are appalled by my support of her choice, try to walk one mile in her moccasins. And then and only then can you offer an opinion. No judgment, just an opinion of your feelings and your experience of witnessing. Just compassion. You don’t know what it’s like. If you do, I’m sure you share my opinion of support on some level.
I know not what I would have done. But I do know that in this moment, I have not one ounce of condemnation for that beautiful, caring mother who could bear the pain not one more moment.
I do want to bitchslap our society to wake up to the humanity and the struggle of our time. I want us all to wake up to each other and see each other for the pain we’re feeling, the hunger, the struggle, the challenge, the beauty of what it is to be human now. We can do better. We can stand as a people against what is hurting us. Yes, we can.
I send this with incredible sorrow, huge compassion, and my understanding for why this happened.