A sad day today for the autism community. I woke to the sad news on Flapiness Is that a lovely woman who’s struggles with a behaviourally challenged autistic child resonated strongly with me and who I always believed to be strong and positive yet realistic has been driven to the depths of despair and (allegedly) attempted to take her own life and that of her daughter. (News story here: http://m.record-eagle.com/TRE/pm_104242/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=uP8D2ONu)
I found Kelli’s blog, via Flapiness Is, about a week ago and felt an instant kinship. No matter that she was American and I was English, no matter that she was fighting Insurance Providers and I was battling the NHS and LEA, no matter that her child was a teen and mine is only seven – no, here I had found an autism sister going through much the same struggles as I!
Finally having raised the funds Kelli had been able to get Lissie into a program to help with her behavioural problems and, although it was early days, there did appear to be some small signs of success. I don’t pretend to know Kelli or her family, I had only recently discovered her, so I cannot comment on the circumstances, I cannot know what was “the straw that broke the camels back” however I can understand how broken down by the daily abuse some autism mothers (and fathers, and siblings) face.
I don’t want to start an argument about wether her actions were right or wrong, understandable or anathema to everything a mother stands for – I’m sure there will be plenty of that in the mainstream media and forums. What I want you, dear reader and friend, to do is to think – just for a moment – and tell me honestly have you never, ever, even for just one solitary fraction of a second, felt so completely exhausted emotionally and physically that the thought of leaving it all behind didn’t seem like the only solution? And then tell me honestly, wasn’t that thought immediately followed by the worry over what would happen to your complex autistic child in a world that doesn’t understand and barely tolerates this 1% of the population? For most of us that second thought is enough to negate the first thought BUT what if you’ve fought and fought the establishment, sometimes for decades, having doors slammed in your face, having complete strangers feel justified in questioning your parenting, being used as a punchbag by a child you love with all your heart and then, one thing comes along, one thing you weren’t prepared for, one more thing to cope with but you have nothing left in reserve? The saying is “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” I would say that this is a situation where everyone will have an opinion but none of us can ever truly know how broken down and alone Kelli must have been feeling.
I will leave you with one thought before ending this post “there but for the grace of God go I”
Flapiness Is can be found at: