Friday, 6 September 2013

What I see.

I tried not to write this. I tried to just let it be. I watched as my friends (my fellow autism parents, my companions in mental illness, some on the spectrum, some not) discussed, argued and mourned the actions of a mother in crisis.
She made the wrong decision. She not only decided to end her own life, but that of her teenaged daughter. That was unequivocally, undeniably wrong.
 I am angry at her. I am angry at the systemic destruction of her ability to cope by an unfeeling, unforgiving bureauocracy. I am angry at the knee-jerk reaction of the haters, those who immediately use this as fodder for their hatred and an excuse to vilify all parents of autistic children. I am angry at my own guilt and shame and frustration.
I am also sad. Deeply, inexpressibly sad. For all of this. For Issy. For Kelli. For their family and friends. For my communities of support. And yes, I am even sad for myself.
See, I have attempted suicide. I have been at that point of guilt, and depression, and despair. I can't speak to why Kelli did this, except that she was obviously at that terrible place. It isn't a state that makes for clear thinking or logical actions. She made the wrong choice, the wrong decision. SHE WAS WRONG. I don't question that at all. It is unbearable that Issy has to suffer for this, but I know that Kelli will be punished, and she deserves to be punished for her terrible action.
I mostly need to know why. What happened? Kelli is an incredible fighter, a good mom, a compassionate person. She has advocated, suffered, and laboured to see her daughter reach whatever potential she has. She is also a murderer, a suicide, a coward,  a person who gave up on herself and her child. Issy is a violently aggressive, autistic teenager with poor control, and has physically attacked her mother countless times. But Issy is a fourteen year old girl, who by all accounts loved and trusted her mother. A person who did not deserve to be hurt, and who does not deserve to die.
When I ask the question, how can we stop this from happening again, the answer from the haters is "Don't kill your kid!" Gee, why didn't I think of that? By not killing my kid, I can assure myself that no child will be harmed by their caregiver, ever! This kind of thinking is deadly. How do you prevent this situation from happening again? How do you protect the vulnerable, while making certain that parents won't come to the point of seeing this as the only course of action, to kill themselves and their child? This isn't the case of a monster, or a psychopath, or a violent criminal killing someone out of hatred, no matter what the haters see.
See, I don't hate very well. Maybe I just use up all my hate on myself. I have too much empathy, sympathy, whatever the fuck it is that lets me put myself aside and see where other people are coming from. I don't hate the haters, because I can feel the pain and terror and rage that drives them. I don't hate Kelli, because I can see the despair and helplessness that drove her. I just hate that it has to be this way, when everyone wants the same outcome, that no child is harmed, that no human being gets to the place where harming their child seems like the only recourse. So while the haters scream their anger to the world, and call for the most brutal of punishments, the most merciless of actions against Kelli, I will continue to look for that why. I will be as great a support for my fellow travellers as I can be. I will do what I can, because this wasn't the heartless act of a monster. It was the desperate, destructive, terrible act of a human being. And I can't bear to see it happen again.

 Real Husbands of Autism on Facebook

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! Of course, I especially liked the "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" response to "Don't kill your kid." I am right along side you in that I just want to figure out a way for this to never, ever, ever happen again because unfortunately it will and the media will beat it with a dead horse and all parents of autistic children will be vilified. Sigh.