A family's story

Posts tagged ‘tragedy’

Not alone

I know I am late in writing about the events that transpired around Issy Stapleton. Like another blogger posted, I have a lot of thoughts going around in my mind, and sometimes it’s hard to get them all sorted out and written down in a coherent manner. Also, I have three children who require a lot of my time and attention, so finding time to sit and write has been difficult.

Like so many other people who are in the autism blogging world, when I started to see Issy’s tragedy pop up in my Facebook newsfeed, I felt sick. I felt angered. I couldn’t believe that a mom could do…THAT. A mom whose blog I had read multiple times. A mom who I thought was so strong. A mom who seemed to want nothing but the best chance for her autistic daughter..and who fought tooth and nail for her daughter and services. Who, like so many of the rest of us, hit roadblocks and frustrations, but who persevered and tried to find another way. And then…and then…

It is devastating to think that anyone would think that murder is the only answer. Our kiddos, especially our special needs kiddos, trust us. They depend on us. To breach that trust and dependence by attempting to take their lives? It’s unconscionable. Murder is wrong. Period.

If you’re struggling with your kiddos needs and behaviors and the dang schools and the system and insurance…and you are feeling like you’re in the rabbit hole of despair…start clawing out. Please. Don’t give up. Don’t ever believe the dark whispers of depression. Depression lies. It isn’t totally hopeless. There is ALWAYS another way. You are NOT alone. Someone can help you…someone will have another idea. Another way.

Since I started blogging in late 2011, I have found SO MANY other parents (mostly on the Interwebz) who can sympathize with what I live on a day to day basis. None of us has exactly the same path…but ours are similar enough that I know that when I need it, I can rely on any one of them for support. Any one. They may not know all of my intimate details, but I can guarantee that they really don’t care. If they know that I’m struggling…they will stop to help me. I will do the same. You can always, ALWAYS, leave me a message or go to my Facebook page. I will be there for you.

No one else knows what we can do when we put our collective voices together. We need to start working together to make sure that we do not keep reading about tragedies like Issy’s again. Because one is just too many. Who’s in this with me???

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Rambling Thoughts…

Sometimes, I forget that I’m a parent of a special needs child. In the recesses of my mind, where I think about my life and where I am at, where I was, and where I hope to be, I don’t always factor in that two of  my sons have some challenges. They are simply “my boys”. As a parent, a mother, I love them. NO descriptors need to be used with that, right? So, when I listen to my inner monologue, I rarely use the “autistic” and “ADHD” and “special needs” descriptors because plain and simple, Tate and Jake are my sons. I love them. Period.

Of course, the reality of it all is that I do have children with some special needs. The society within which we live is not designed for individuals with different neurologies. It really seems to be designed for those of us who function within the realm of neurotypicality…whatever that means. Because my children do have needs above and beyond what other children in their age groups require, I have stress. A lot of stress. Like many people, I internalize my stress. I stuff it down. Sometimes, I trick myself into believing that I have it under control. Until I don’t.

On Sunday I mentioned to Hubz that my throat felt scratchy. I figured I was getting a cold. As I have done my workouts the past 5 days (in my 10th week of the 30 day shred. Shut up. At least I’m still moving.), I have found that they are harder, not easier. I was feeling exhausted all of the time. My head hurt. My joints were achy. Tuesday night I thought I had a mosquito bite on my back. I scratched it, and let it go, as I had to calm a certain 7-year-old’s anxieties about the start of Extended School Year. Yesterday I noticed how ITCHY my back felt as I was in the shower. As I toweled off, I angled my body to see what was going on with that mosquito bite. Holy moly!! It wasn’t a bite…it was a swatch, about 3 inches wide, on my left side. CRRRAAAPPP! The pieces started to fall together.

It all was eerily similar to the June of 2006. Tate was 2 months old and incredibly fussy–and never sleeping. Jake was demanding of all of my extra attention because he had this pesky new baby brother who always needed me. Hubz was working–a lot. I had a really bad itch on the right lower side of my back. And it was raised..and a little blister formed. Shingles.

Yes, with all of my stress, the stress that I have internalized, the shingles have returned. I luckily don’t have pain…just itching and joint discomfort. And I am so tired that I feel like I could be Rip Van Winkle and sleep for years…and maybe STILL need more sleep. I’m moving at a snail’s pace, but I’m still moving..and still able to function–mostly.

Guess I wasn’t handling that stress as well as I thought. It got the best of me. So, yeah, parents have a lot of stress. Parents of children with special needs have even more stress. We deal with more than most do on a daily basis. It is hard. It is okay to admit that it’s hard. That is not demonizing our kids or whatever needs they have. It’s a fact. We have to plan, prepare, make contingency plans, call ahead, fight with insurance, fight with insurance some more, have difficult conversations–almost every single day. We can’t rest too much, because there is always something else coming up that requires careful consideration and planning.

That being said, if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Overburdened. Overdone. Get some help. Call someone. Anyone. Help is out there. Please take advantage of it. (I, for one, am taking advantage of my in-laws offer to watch the boys overnight on Saturday. Hubz and I need the quiet. The time just for us.)

Editor’s Note: My shingles saga is a weak segue into the tragic story about Alex Spourdalakis. It has weighed heavy on my mind (and heart). All I can think of is this dependent child who lost his life when his caregivers thought there was no other way out. There is always some other way. Murder is not the answer. EVER. 

This horrific act happened in my state. It is way too close for comfort. That poor boy. While he was adult-sized, he was a boy. Innocent. Upon hearing the story when it happened over the weekend, I couldn’t get over how the police chief said they were acquainted with the boy and his family because he often had to be restrained when going to the doctor’s office. If the family was acquainted with the police department, why didn’t the mother and caregiver call the police when they were at a loss…the police could have gotten Alex out of there…to safety. DCFS had offered help. It was refused. (Even if it wasn’t enough, at least it was something…why refuse it? Why play martyr?) So many why’s and what-ifs….

So, please, if you ever feel like you’re at the end of your rope…truly at the end..and have no hope, there is always hope. Always. Here are some links for references…for lifelines…

Childhelp® –  800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453)

National Parent Helpline® – 855.4APARENT (855.427.2736) (available 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., PST, weekdays)

US Dept of Health and Human Services Child Welfare hotlines by state

Heartsick

I was writing a somewhat humorous post about our lack of sleep. Then I started seeing horrific messages on Twitter and Facebook. I went to CNN. I almost threw up.

I absolutely have no way of wrapping my head around the tragic event that took place in CT today. No logical person could.

Babies. The gunman killed babies. Kindergarteners…from what the Tribune is reporting. This disturbed individual killed innocent little babies.

The parents. The teachers. The other children. None of them will ever be the same. They lost so much today…just because one person was obviously disturbed.

I will not complain about my children’s sleep habits. I won’t remark about their
struggles. At the end of the day, I get to hold all 3 of them. Take in their smell. See their innocence and relish in their childish playfulness. There are too many parents who won’t be able to do that tonight… or any other night.

My prayers and condolences go out to all of the families. You are living any parent’s worst nightmare… I am so, so sorry…

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