Today, fear wins.

by Jo on January 21, 2014

I’m supposed to be getting ready.

I’m meeting a fellow autism mom at 1.

Instead, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, my heart aching as I try to process the news about Avonte Oquendo.

Remains which were found near the school where he vanished on October 4th, 2013 were confirmed to be his by the medical examiner today.

I try to imagine what his family is feeling. What his mother is feeling.

I gag.

I picture my Andrew, at school right now, 100% dependent on the competence and caring and dedication of others to keep him safe.

The video of Avonte running down an empty school hallway and through a security door plays out in my head.

I think of how close my Andrew’s school is to the freeway.

How far from home he suddenly feels.

How fragile he is.

How shitty and unfair this tragedy is.

How absolutely preventable it was.

How all us who have children who wander never really sleep at night, do we?

How our minds and hearts are never at ease, how we never know what it’s like to take a deep breath and just trust that everything will be okay.

I think about the incompetence that led to the death of this precious boy, a boy who could not fend for himself out in a world that failed him

 

and I crumble.

 

This fellow autism mom and I are meeting for the very first time today.

I know we already have so much in common

but of all these things, it will be FEAR that we will simultaneously cling to as we mourn Avonte.

 

Today

fear wins.

 

*Please spare a few moments and sign this petition. We need consequences for incompetence! Children’s lives are at stake. Enough is ENOUGH. Avonte’s death was entirely preventable and those responsible need to be held accountable! The utter ineptitude by school personnel is mind-boggling. Our children deserve better!

 

Rest in peace, sweet boy.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlee January 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm

It is absolutely awful that Avonte’s school was so very, very careless and irresponsible as to allow him to elope — that school aided and abetted the demise of an amazing kid (who just happened to have an ASD). I very much hope there will be an investigation into how tos happened and whatever measures are needed to ensure it never, ever happens again are put in place. ASAP.

It’s a tragedy, a 100% preventable tragedy.

But it is every bit as tragic when irresponsible parents allow their autistic children to elope — Mikaela Lynch, Owen Davis and countless other precious kids with ASDs who would still be alive today had their parents bothered to PROPERLY supervise their children. I’m appalled that folks, particularly parents of kids on the spectrum, who express horror at schools who allow kids to elope but express SYMPATHY for other parents who ALLOW their kids to elope!!

Reply

Jo January 22, 2014 at 12:51 am

Carlee, I don’t know you from Bob, but nothing I can think of in reply to you will sound remotely pleasant or kind.

Walk a mile dude.

Just go do it somewhere else.

Reply

Bryan January 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I personally am so far beyond the point of being just a ‘helicopter parent’ for my special needs child, that there should be a new class for it. Maybe a drone parent, or an NSA parent, who knows all…sees all…watches all.

But…there are times where I NEED to leave the room for 30 seconds for some reason, and what parents of typical kids do not realize is that those 30 seconds are all a ‘runner’ needs. You can lock doors as best you can, or set up gates, but they are still humans who are perfectly smart enough to open them, and it is crazy to blame a parent who needs to run and refill their water cup, or quickly use the bathroom, for only attending to the child for 99.9% of their day.

Reply

jillsmo January 22, 2014 at 12:46 am

It doesn’t really matter the circumstances as long as you can still demonize parents, right? I’m sure somebody, somewhere has managed to come up with something that blames Avonte’s parents, too. Gotta keep that Common Enemy thing going, we’ve got blogs to promote!

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Jo January 22, 2014 at 12:53 am

Right? Those stupid parents! Loving and caring and giving a shit too much! EVIL!

Reply

Kelly January 22, 2014 at 12:47 am

Allow? ALLOW their child to elope? Are you goddamn nuts? Do you have children? Do you have any concept of a sleep deprived family (autistic children notoriously have incredible sleep issues), a worn out mom, even a mom trying to goddamm piss by herself? A mom who knows she must always be on her “a” game? A mom who turns her back for one goddamn second does not fucking “allow” her child to elope. But, thanks. Thanks for outing yourself in our shoes; for empathizing; for judging me incompetent because i had to turn my back to take dinner out of the oven.

“Allow” our children to elope? Screw you.

Reply

Jo January 22, 2014 at 12:52 am

Amen Kelly.

Reply

jillsmo January 22, 2014 at 12:57 am

I’m sorry, I forgot to add: I love you, Jo. You are awesome <3

Reply

Jo January 22, 2014 at 3:43 am

I love you too mama.

Reply

Dani G January 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I’m still upset the day after reading the absolutely ridiculous first comment up there ^^. It’s beyond insensitive for anyone to assume that ANY parent would ALLOW or encourage a child to wander/elope. I’m sick of hearing from people who DO NOT GET IT that parents are to blame for behaviors from a child with a disability. Who are you, Leo Kanner? Ugh, fine, go google him. Those of us familiar with the bullshit refrigerator mother theory will wait here. The point is… take your insensitive bullshit somewhere else. Those of us who are living in the fear that Jo described every single day will be here sending healing, loving prayers to Avonte’s families and the families like our own all over the world.

Reply

Kelly January 23, 2014 at 4:45 am

Amen, Dani.

Reply

Nancy January 23, 2014 at 5:16 am

Send condolence cards to:
The Perecman Firm
Attn: The Oquendo Family
250 West 57th Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10107

Reply

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