The past week was filled with immense tragedy for the Autistic community. Three children, Mikaela Lynch (age 9) in California, Owen Black (age 7) in Florida, and Drew Howell (age 2) in Ohio, died due to wandering and subsequent drowning. As their devastated families try to come to terms with their tremendous loss, there have been many ignorant people who dare to cast blame on them, and it is sickening. My heart is heavy with sadness for the loss of three young lives; and it is filled with outrage for those who carelessly judge what they cannot know and do not understand. Today I am joining hundreds of other bloggers to support these families by showering them with prayers and love via cyberspace.
As a parent of an Autistic child, who is a wanderer, I know the terror you feel when you realize your child has slipped away. We have had several close calls with Beth in the past 2 years. I have learned the hard way that I cannot control people, places, or things; therefore, I do the best I can and pray that it is enough to keep her and Anne safe. Although, I have stopped blaming myself for past events, I relive each one of our close calls every time I hear of other families who were not as fortunate. I grieve for all the wonderful parents who have seen their worst nightmare come to life. In the blink of an eye, any of us could lose our child due to wandering/elopement and the dangers they face while out of our care.
For the Lynch, Black, and Howell families that is exactly what happened, in less than 30 seconds, their lives were forever changed in the most tragic of ways. They are NOT bad parents; they are NOT inattentive parents! They are humans, who did all that was in their power to keep their children safe. They LOVE their children, and probably blame themselves for the horrible accident that took them from this world, even though they are NOT to blame in anyway. They lost their Autistic Angels under the worst of circumstances, and are grieving their loss in ways that most us will never know or fully understand.
Please keep this in mind when you share and comment on posts regarding them and their Angels. Please attempt to put yourself in their place, and imagine how you would feel, then decide what you want to share. A general rule of thumb I use is the acronym THINK (T – Is it Thoughtful? H – Is it Honest? I – Is it Intelligent? N – Is it Necessary? K – Is it Kind?). If I can answer Yes to all those questions, then I hit submit/share; if the answer to just one is No, then I must step away and pray for guidance before I put my thoughts out in cyberspace. I am pleading with you to stop the spreading of cruel misinformation and judgment, instead help spread love and support for families in crisis. Please keep the Lynch, Black, and Howell families in your prayers today and in the future months. May Angels surround them in love and light as they grieve; and bring them hope that tomorrow it will hurt a little less.
If you would like to read some of the other wonderful posts that are part of An Outpouring of Love for the Mikaela Lynch Family, please visit the ever growing list of amazing, informative and touching blog posts.
If you would like more information about wandering/elopement and how to help keep the Autistic children in your community a little safer, please visit theNational Autism Association and the AWAARE Collaboration.
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.