I contemplated not responding via blog to the death of Alex because it is such a sensitive subject. According to news reports his caregiver and mother are being charged with his death. He was a severely autistic child with violent aggressive tendencies. According to the report of a case worker who witnessed the dark and challenging day to day of the family for only several weeks, the situation was too much for her to bear. The family went public asking for help and support and because of the severity of their situation they were turned away. I remember taking Taylor to the emergency room one time. I was desperate because she was so violent for a two week period and I didn't know what to do. The doctor talked with me for a few hours, gave me a cup of coffee, and printed out resources for me, despite the fact that it was the end of her shift.
Though my situation has been challenging and there were many seasons over the past 14 years that I felt hopeless, I was always snatched out of my despair by amazing friends, neighbors, and classmates. My family for one has always helped us monetarily; providing help for a Taylor's needs though they lived in another state. I always joined a church in each state where I lived, though some seasons I questioned God, I sat through the service and prayed that someone gave me hug each Sunday. For at least ten years of the past 14 years I was away from family. A smile from a local merchant, restaurant worker, or church member was all I had to keep me going one those really rough days. For me, it was my only confirmation that God loved me and that one day it would be ok.
Sometimes a smile to a struggling parent accompanied with eye contact is all they need in order to have a good day. Sometimes, in Alex's case there needs to be intervention of extreme measures or a community that reaches out and helps find a long term solution. I can honestly say that I have never felt the urge to commit such an act, but I can say that I have felt at times waves of hopelessness. Thankfully we are on the other side now; I am married with tons of love and support daily. I am grateful for the strangers, friends, and family that carried me through with love and patience. As a way of honoring a child, that lived such a tortured life, and a tortured death, I recommend that you do the same for other parents who are overwhelmed. Cook them a meal, provide them respite or resources, send them a thoughtful card, or just smile at them and talk about the weather. Life is good despite your circumstances when you know you are loved.