First, I strongly disagree with the decision made by the mother. Her son could tell her how he felt; how he loved her; if he was in pain; if he was happy. I know his pain by his cries. I know his happiness by his smiles and noises. She had more of a DIRECT relationship with her child than I will ever have, yet she felt it was not enough. They referenced debt as a reason she took his life. I would give everything I own for a moment where Riley could speak to me, or even smile (Riley's Smile) and know it was out of true joy and not a chemical response to all his drugs or even a fart that was funny (but that would be funny). So in sum, I disagree with the choice she made.
Still, I know my husband and I have been there. There are moments in time, too many moments where the decision she made would be the easy one. My husband has prayed for the end of my son's pain, as have I, more than we care to or even can share.
I think in reading the article there are things that we can all take away from it, whether you have a disabled child or not...
1.)The first "what to take away from this"... Don't judge others. If they are carrying "one pound of weight" or "1000 pounds of weight" everyone is different and over time, it all feels like 100,000,000 pounds.
2.) I saw she was a single mom. While the article didn't go into her relationship with her parents, the $10,000 check in the mail was extraordinary. I am blessed to have a mother who, while due to age cannot hold my child, loves him and supports him in MANY ways. For many, even if support is there, it is not always enough...The second "what to take away from this"...A small act can go a long way...If you know of a parent of a special needs child, whether married or single, you can ask how they (the child or parent are doing)... This is support. But, remember, don't judge... by society (and family) there is too much judgment in special needs kids and families. Just ask how are you? and listen. Being shunned by part of society, is isolating. Just listening is often a moment of respite/help.
3.) I had mentioned earlier about how her son could communicate and mine cannot. I probably portrayed this as selfish. It wasn't as much that as, honestly, jealously. Regardless, my "thing to take away"... Appreciate what you have with the one you love, no matter what the occasion.... My husband had a "lost" father (drugs, jail, confused, alcohol, barely saw him as a child). His dad too took his life. Still, after all these years my husband will share many moments he had with his dad. They were VERY brief moments, during hard times for them both. Still, good moments. My third "what to take away from this" is hold on to the moments you have with those you love.
To summarize, she could no longer carry the weight of what she was facing. She had support but was alone too much, perhaps? Perhaps no one truly listened. I/we will never know. She felt she could not give her son enough.... what parent special needs or otherwise has not felt that way.
I am looking for an end to this post but cannot find one. I guess my end to this post is that it is not my last. The Barnhard family found their end. My "end" will come when either "special needs" ceases to exist or when I can no longer champion the voices of those with special needs or those who care/love them.
We are all special... by Stacie Wiesenbaugh