Monday, March 31, 2014

Internet Event: Candlelight Vigil for Autistic Children Who Lost Their Lives After Wandering

I have four brothers and they were all autistic. We four teenage sisters would each get one brother buddy on outings, while mom kept a chronically head-counting eye on everyone distractedly directing the fun and festivities. 

Two of my brothers were wanderers--elopers--and one of the two was always finding a body of water to dive into. He must have found joy--or some other desired feeling-- in splashing frantically waiting for mom to save him. Miraculously, she was always able to save him. And the rest of the outing would continue, laughter and wet clothes included. 

My youngest brother (who was quite an escape artist!) was usually easy to find, his antics attracted screams and finger pointing galore. We just followed the freaked out strangers and there he was; too high up, too carefree, too dangerously trusting and interested in overly hot things. 

My point is, regardless of the truth that mom had brilliantly assigned a sister to a brother, the 1 to 1 ratio in our favor for safety, they were talented in their ability to lose us. It was scary, and a sigh of relief could be felt in the depths of our souls when we'd finally get to the car. All eight kids and one amazing and accomplished mom.

She had taken her children out and introduced them to the world, and introduced the world to them.

We went out often. Because the only way to parent with an eye on the future is to let go of fear and teach over and over and over and over and over...

And eloping certainly wasn't only an issue when on outings. Home was an ever changing creatively safe/closed-up kind of place. Locks, shoelaces, alarms, noisy doorknob decorations... whatever we could find was employed with a hope that we could keep family safe, while allowing freedom. Inviting friends over was fun for us teen girls, and we all got a kick out of explaining.

My brothers are all men now, and no longer wander. Well.... my youngest brother makes his living wandering our small Texas town with a lawn mower and willingness to clean a car or move some furniture, but it's no longer quite so dangerous. Largely because my mom believed in them and taught them the world.

But mostly, because we were lucky. 

Sadly, so sadly, many families--too many families--are not lucky.

Jill Smo of Yeah. Good Times. has created a beautiful and important event. An internet candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who were not so lucky.

"This event is not about placing blame or even to talk about solutions. The sole purpose of what the vigil was created this for is to simply remember the children who have died." ~Jill Smo
Please join us tomorrow, April 1st, in honoring those families. In honoring those children who were looking for something, needing something, dreaming something, and lost their lives in the course of it. Plaster your social media and blog posts with this image. Speak freely and honestly about it. Take some moments to reflect and remember. 

Check out the event on Facebook: Candlelight Vigil for Autistic Children Who Lost Their Lives After Wandering

And continue to introduce your autistic loved ones to the world. It's a kindness society is in honest need of. 

Hugs, smiles, and love.
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

~~Jill invites you to take and share the image. Please do!! Or share blog posts about the event, check out your social media feeds and click SHARE on the image which I hope you'll see plenty of! Huge hugs!!~~