It was summer of 2010. I will never forget when I first heard the news. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. At the time my son was three, my daughter was two. I was working full time graveyard shifts and up all day because my husband was working too. It was two years before my sons diagnoses. I was exhausted all the time. A women had driven to where we used to live, to drowned her three year old daughter in our local river. The thought that some one would kill their own child was horrific to me. It was the first time where an act of violence had shaken me so much. I cried, I prayed and I cried some more. Her name was Sophia,(I will never forget her name, may her memory be eternal), she was three and now she is in the arms of the angels.
Far too often, since then, have I paused and cried as I hear about yet another child. Children who have left this earth too early at the hands of their mother, father or care giver. Frequently, drug use and mental illness is the catalyst. Some times it is burn out, a parent whose cries for help have gone unanswered. The tragic part is that no matter what the cause is the end result is almost always the same. A dead child, a torn family and a nation asking why?
This morning I came home from taking the kids to school and scrolled thru my Facebook news feed. There is where I stumbled upon the story of yet another victim. A little boy the same age as my son and autistic. He was thrown from a high bridge not all that far from where we live. He was from all reports a sweet child. The mom was burned out, not by her son, but from her husbands health problems and financial struggle. She had a mental break and heard voices that told her to do it.
The autism community seems to be frequented by this kind of occurrence more than any other group. Oddly though when the victim is an autistic child the media not only jumps all over it, but, it immediately spins the story in a way that the victim becomes the victimizer. The cause of the tragedy that gets thrown around is caregiver burn out. So, that you know of course, if any other person was in their shoes that they would have done the same. There tends to be very little emphasis on why the other parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even teachers for that matter didn't see the impending tragedy. When you victimizes the victim it takes the blame off of others. Ultimately, it sets us up to keep repeating history.
I do not want you to think that I am implying that mental brakes and caregiver burnout aren't real conditions. Because it is a huge contributing factor in these tragedies. What I am saying is that there is never an excuse to hurt or kill a child. Every parent, SN or not reaches a point where they are overwhelmed. It is how they deal with those feelings and emotions that make all of the difference in the world. We as a nation have to step back and accept blame for not protecting these children. Going back to Oregon and London McCabe. He was thrown off a busy bridge where other moms in the past have thrown their children off. There were motorists that saw her dragging him right before and yet nobody stopped. This cycle has to stop.
Until our country changes and the system changes we have to look out for each other. The person next door, the coworker, our families and our friends. If we all stand up and say no more, never again. Tell each other that we will listen, hold your hand, watch your kids and if you are at the end of your rope give me your children, no questions asked. We are the first line of defense.
I am going to ask you a favor if you are ever in a place where you are hearing voices, feeling like you are going to hurt yourselves or your child please, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you need a ear to listen to you, message me day or night. You can also call 911. I you are reading this and are in a good place let everyone that you know, know that they can call you. We all have to keep our eyes and ears open. sometimes the call for help is silent . Rest in peace little London may your death not be in vain. Every life has value, please choose life