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.