Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hell is too nice for some people

I kind of don't even know where to start today. If I was talking to you face-to-face you would be able to see the anger and sadness that I am feeling. Most of you have probably heard the horrific story about the mother who murdered her two children with Autism. As you can imagine, this story hits very close to home. Raising two children with Autism is a daily struggle (to put it lightly). There are days when I am so overwhelmed that I can barely push on...but I do. Not for me - not for my husband - but for my two children. You may think I'm heartless but I feel no pity for this woman. NONE! I know there will be parents in the autism community that will try to defend her actions as a cry for help, or excuse it because "no one reached out to her." Sorry...that's crap. The only victims in this story are the two children who stared helplessly at their own mother as she squeezed their last breaths out of them. I can't even imagine what must have been going through their little minds. This is the one person in the world who they were supposed to be able to count on no matter what. The one person who would always love them despite their disability. The one person who was supposed to fight for them with everything in her until they got the help they needed. It may not sound Christian, but hell is too nice for some people.

Autism destroys lives…but it doesn’t have to. As a mother of two young children with Autism, I know how overwhelming the effects of this destructive disorder can be on a family. With the financial pressures caused by expensive therapies and doctors’ visits; the heartbreak of seeing your child exhibit bizarre, frightening, and sometimes dangerous behaviors; the exhaustion of countless nights without sleep; and the paralyzing fear of what the unknown future holds, it is no wonder Autism is strongly associated with child abuse, depression, and divorce. Parents reach a breaking point where they feel completely helpless and filled with despair. Although there is no denying that Autism is devastating, it does not have to ruin lives. There can be a good life after the diagnosis – but it doesn’t come easy.

When you decide to become a mom you are agreeing to love and protect whatever child God gives you. No one ever promised me that I would be given perfect children. No one has ever been promised that. Being a mom is a gift but it is also a lifelong commitment. That child is counting on you to do whatever it takes to meet their needs - no matter what those needs are. So you've been given children with Autism....I agree, it's not fair. You have been given a challenge that a lot of parents will never have to face, but you haven't been given a death sentence. Your life is not over - your child's life is not over.

I am not an expert on all aspects of Autism and I do not pretend to be, but I am an expert on surviving its power to destroy lives. I have been the mom who locked herself in the bathroom and cried, afraid of the future, afraid of the day. But I have learned how to cope with my fears, and how to get on with the job of being a mom. The mother in this story isn't to be pitied - murder is murder. She wasn't sparing her children a life with autism - she was sparing herself a life with autism. She said she wanted normal kids. Who doesn't? I love my chidren with all my heart but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish they didn't have autism. I hate what austim has done to them. I hate how hard they have to work each day when other chidren their ages are out playing. I hate autism - but I LOVE my children.

So, I've ranted on and on long enough. I don't really know what else to say except that my heart breaks for those two children. Not because they had autism, but because they had a mother who was so selfish that she let her own needs outweigh theirs'. We in the autism community need to be outraged by this story. We need to let other mothers of children with autism know that there is a life after the diagnosis, but it is up to them. There is no easy fix for autism. The road ahead will be tough but they are Moms and Moms can't give up...ever!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Innocent Eyes

We've all heard the phrase: "don't judge a book by it's cover" but it's hard, right? We see someone and within seconds we've formulated an opinion about them. For that reason, as a society, we repeat another popular mantra: "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." So what does this say about us as a culture, that we try to live by both standards? I think it just says we are realistically-idealistic (which isn't always a bad thing). We are hopeful that we can take a deeper look at people and not make snap-judgements, but just in case they aren't living by this creed, we think we better be on our "A-Game."

If only we could all see the world through my son's eyes. The poor thing has many challenges ahead of him, but one blessed gift he possesses is the ability to see people for who they are. It doesn't matter what you look like to him. He doesn't care how you are dressed or how many presents you buy him. He isn't impressed with what type of car you drive (although if your car has a DVD player you might score some extra points) or with how much money you make. Will sees the world in terms of how they treat him. If you are kind, he will like you. If you pay attention to him when he needs your help, he will like you. If you treat him like he is special and important, he will like you. That's all it takes. Will judges the world by their actions, nothing more.

There are so many things that I wish I could teach my son, but this is one life-lesson, that he has definitely taught me.