Another parent commits an unspeakable act against his or her autistic child. This time, though, both live, as they are found in time, but the autistic child may have suffered permanent brain damage.

We rally when we hear these stories on the news. We condemn the parent. We hurt for the autistic person. We note how the news coverage favors the parents' struggle while denying the autistic person's story as central.

It unites us in justified outrage. Our community is currently united with the story of Alex Spourdalakis.

So what do we do when it happens with someone we actually "know"? Someone who we've rallied around to help, to support, to care about and love? And I'm talking about the autistic child first, not the mother, who we also rallied around. We've come to know this family, care for them, raise money for them, offer emotional support, and shared their story. We've received support from the mother, too. It wasn't a one way street. It worked both ways.

We're talking real relationships built here. We rooted for Issy. We prayed for her. People raised money for her treatment. We had high hopes that the family would be in a better place when a few days ago, Issy came home.

And then the unthinkable happened. Issy's mom, our friend, apparently tried to kill herself and Issy. Issy, whose brilliant smile radiated out in the pictures we came to love seeing on the facebook pages, especially the Team Issy page.

How different is it when a story like this involves people we've interacted with? How much more muddied our emotions? Is this not the test of our convictions, the place where we find what we really believe?

My heart breaks for Issy and her family and it breaks for her mother, who I consider a friend. I can't excuse what Issy's mother chose to do. It's inexcusable. Unacceptable. Beyond the pale.

Issy deserved and deserves better. All our children do. We do.

In the end, the only person who knows what happened, what went on in Issy's mother's mind is Issy's mother. We can speculate. Some of us will sympathize, some will empathize. Others will hate.

I am left raw. I look at my three and I cannot imagine violating the covenant, if any is sacred this one is, I have with them to be their mother.

Mothers don't kill their children. No matter what.

My thoughts and prayers are with Issy and her family and all of us who felt we were a part of the Issy Team.


Elise Ronan said...

No mothers do not kill their children. It is not natural in our world. But this loving mother didn't just wake up one day and decide to commit this heinous act. Where were the people closest to her? Did they not see the slide into despair? What put her over he edge?

While we talk about rallying behind families maybe we should think about how we can support each other way before the unthinkable happens.

kathleen said...

This is just so heart wrenchingly sad..Because it was someone we knew..someone we saw...and shared with..I just don't know how to feel. No-we do not kill our children...we don't..no.
Yes-this is a test of our convictions..a true test. :(

Joeymom said...

Actually, it looks to me like she DID wake up that day- or at least a little after publishing a blog post- and decided this heinous act was the way to go.

It can really be that fast. Hold your kids close. Hold your friends close. Never forget you are loved, and there are answers. We are all here to help find them.