Monday, August 19, 2013

Is This the World we Live in?

Good Evening,

I didn't think I would make it around these parts today but tonight I was sitting here watching the news waiting for Jason to get home and something caught my eye on the news and I just couldn't let it go. In a way it ties into my thoughts on slavery and racism, the idea of treating someone as though they are beneath you over something they have no control over. We have indeed made strides in regards to racism, but as a society have we changed our view on things that are "different"? Someone once told me the things we have the hardest time with are the things we don't understand, how true.

Not understanding something, not being aware or educated about something or someone can be an amazing gift, this opens up doors to allow you to educate yourself from different sources, form well rounded educated opinions, to better yourself, get to know someone. I have a hard time thinking that when people don't understand something they choose hate, they choose ignorance, they choose to make hurtful comments and hateful remarks... when you do this it says more about you then your target.

Tonight watching the news I was horrified to see the story of an Ontario mother who received an anonymous letter from a neighbor about her 13 year old son who is autistic. Watching this mother suffer with these hateful words was heartbreaking, these hateful words directed at her child. Truthfully I don't want to post that garbage here but I feel like you really won't understand until you read it for yourself.

Take a look at the letter...

Speechless? Shocked? Disgusted? If you feel something other than those things I would absolutely love to know what. I'm not going to lie the fact that an adult, a human being feels these thoughts is appalling, the fact they she feels these thoughts towards a child when she is a MOTHER is horrific to me. 

If you are not educated on Autism, do some research... do a little reading because I promise what you think is probably isn't, what you think you might know is a small portion of what encompasses autism and those who have it. There are so many misconceptions that come along with Autism and to make ignorant statements about something you don't understand is not acceptable. 

Autism - READ ABOUT IT                                    

I feel for this mother, I can't imagine what it would feel like to receive a letter like this saying this despicable things about her child. As a mother your love for your child is beyond words, not from personal experience but I would assume that any woman who finds out she is pregnant plans this child's life, wonders who he or she will be, learning to ride a bike, their first day of school, their first date, learning to drive, getting married... etc. If were being honest does any parent to be wonder what is something is wrong with my child? What if they never learn to ride a bike, never goes on a date, cannot get a license, won't get married? No. But when something like that becomes a reality do you love your child any less? No. You have new hopes and dreams for your child, you learn from that child and become a better parent and person because of them. How many times do you think this mother has asked herself what she did wrong? How she could have prevented this? There is one answer to that, she did nothing wrong, she couldn't have prevented it.  Does it make you a bad person to ask those questions? Absolutely not. Do you love your child any less because you have those questions? Of course not. 

Maybe this hurts my heart so much because it hits so close to home for me. I have a cousin who is Autistic, which seems funny to say that because I suppose I never really relate the two. I don't introduce him to people and say "This is J... He is autistic" why would I? Trust me when you meet him you'll remember him no matter how I introduced him. 

From the time he was a baby he was special, his smile lit up a room, his belly laugh made your heart smile! He was a big baby, chubby cheeks and beautiful blue eyes, an appetite that could put me to shame! He was always a sweetheart, from the time he was a baby people were drawn to him. When he started to talk you didn't stand a chance, his words always kind  and heartfelt... there was no doubt he was born to be a ladies man. He is an old soul, genuine from the start, his happiness comes from the happiness of those around him and there is no doubt in my mind if you met him today he would be the best part of your day. 

J is by far the most generous person I have ever been blessed to have in my life, he always puts others before himself and when you do for him he will be more grateful then you can imagine, almost as though you have given him the world. I often find myself wishing I could see the world through his eyes, so innocent, carefree, taking it all in, big, small, good and bad it counts. He's a saver, penny pincher if you will... if his older brother who is the spender needs a loan J and his piggy bank are never far! He is helpful beyond words and if something is needed he is always there to lend a helping hand. His heart is golden, his words are thoughtful, his mind inspiring, his life a gift. 

J's mother is wonderful, mostly likely his greatest gift. She loves him unconditionally, his confidant, his best friend. When he was itty bitty he use to tell people he was going to marry her one day, and when he decided to take this information to his I believe first grade teacher and she informed him it wasn't possible, if nothing more because she was already married to his dad, he was horrified. He waits in the drive way for her to get home from work, anxious to see her face, hear her voice, feel the love she radiates for him. He makes her tea after dinner, discusses his feelings on his impending high school years, takes walks through the neighborhood and discusses the ever changing architecture of the houses that surround. He is not particularly keen on the modern spin being put on many of the older homes in the area. He knows what he likes and doesn't like and so does she. 

Her job is no different from that of any other mother, she has taught him manners (which if were being honest he takes extremely serious and should probably be a guest blogger around these parts because he could fill you all in on a few things we're lacking), she taught him his letters and numbers, she has sat for hours a night at the kitchen table teaching him patience for his homework, she has taught him acceptance in that everyone is different and sometimes we just cant control others actions. She is his advocate when it comes to the things he needs when he cant advocate for himself, you see her duties as a mother are that the only another mother can possibly understand. She worries more about his new experiences and adventures than he does, like any mother would and prepares for the adversities one would hope he will never face. 

As he prepares for high school life is about to change considerably and his anxiety is reaching its peak as the school year approaches. Are his worries different of that of any child who is about to embark on their most independent journey thus far? No. He worries about finding his locker, finding his classroom, being late, making friends... all the same worries I had. Her worries, that he wont find his locker, that he will be late for class, that he will have a hard time making friends, that he will hate it. Will they deal with it? Yes, together like everything else, because shes his mother and autism or not problems arise and she is the fixer. 

J's mom is blessed, she has two BEAUTIFUL boys (one going into high school, one going to finish high school - makes me feel old!) they are both gifted in different ways, they have similar interest but fight like brothers... they are her world and she is theirs. I know without question she has never questioned J's existent, she has embraced his presence, loved him for who he is and learned from all that he has brought to her life, its made her a better person and because of that she is blessed. You see life is what you make it, and you can embrace new experiences, take away every positive thing it brings to your life or you can be negative. 

What scares me most about this letter is that not only did this woman have those thoughts she felt them so strongly she took it as far to send this letter to this boys parents, put her words out there. She is a mother, what kind of hate are her children growing up with? What lessons is she teaching them? Beyond knowing any better will they be the bullies on the play ground? The next generation of adults to spread this kind of message? I hope not. 

Life is so short, don't pass up the opportunity to get to know someone who is "different" because you will be missing out. Life is too short to hold on to such negative thoughts and even worse spread them. Growing up my mom always said "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" simple and true. 

To the person that wrote that unspeakable letter, you disgust me. Your words are hurtful and unnecessary! As a parent how would you feel if someone targeted your innocent, unsuspecting child with this hate? This child didn't deserve your negative words, and I hope he never knows of them. You make me angry but most of all you make me sad. 

Is this the world we live in? 

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  1. Oh Nicole
    The story breaks my heart, to not even know this child or what his family is dealing with or that the mother is in a wheel chair.And to say these things .
    J is a gift to all of us and I am so proud of him and all that we have learned as a family from him. As for J's mother she is also a gift for us she started at a young age to care for all kinds and not to think about who , where or what they were. A perfect match and she is a mother of all mothers and someone we are so proud of . And so so proud of you as my child and a women and a incredible writer . I love you

  2. Hello Nicle,

    I didn't watch the news yesterday so when I opened up your blog and read this, I was and still am, stunned. You said it all and I can't add to it, except to say thank you for countering this awful story with the details of your Cousin. I personally have never met anyone with autism and I am ignorant of its causes and implications for a family. So thank you again for bringing this to my attention.

    After I thought about this I remembered when I was a teenager, a family in our Church had a boy with Down Syndrome. I got to know Stephen as I taught him Sunday school. He was very polite, very affectionate and full of energy. His parents radiated love and understanding for Stephen and for anyone else they met at Church. I recall one Sunday, after Church I met the Father in the parking lot, we chatted about Stephen and my class earlier that morning and just as I was about to head to my parents car to go home, he wraps his arms around me and tells me he loves me. I have never forgotten this and I was stunned that another parent would say that to me, a pimply faced 17 year old.

    I also have a Nephew in Ottawa who suffers from severe Schitzophrenia, ( spelling might be wrong). He hears voices, one in particular that " lives in his brain" that constantly tells him he is worthless and useless. His drugs only help him so far and there is no cure. His parents, my brother and sister in law as well as his sister surround him with love, never judge him and are truly amazing. Cory is a sensitive , kind young man who struggles every minute of the day and night with this horrible disease.

    Surely there are those out there that hate and are filled with rage but I am so glad there are more people out there who lead the way with their compassion and love for Children who suffer from mental disease.

  3. Thank you Nik, I needed a good cry this morning! And it was a "good" cry...your kind words mean so much to me, more than I can say. I am grateful that you and the rest of our family see J for the kind, loving soul he is. I would not change one thing about him. Every child is a gift, we can all learn a lot from a child who is "different". They can teach us so many things, patience, understanding and most of all acceptance. We all want to be accepted in society and we have to embrace our differences and show kindness and respect to everyone. This story breaks my heart. Where is the compassion??? I can only imagine how the Mother of the 13 year old Autistic boy felt as she read those hateful words. So very sad!

  4. Beautiful blog Nic. I saw this letter on FB last night and cried and cried. I just can't imagine how someone, especially a mother could be so heartless when they know the love that a mother has for her children. As someone that would do anything to be able to have children naturally, I know that it wouldn't matter if my baby was autistic, or had any other problems and to think that not everyone can understand that makes me sick. I hope the woman that received this letter knows how blessed she is, and I hope that they figure out who the woman is that sent it and make her feel as bad as she was trying to make the mother of the autistic boy feel.

  5. Amen to everything you wrote! One person in this world that would write a letter like that is one too many! Sickening!