I have been uneasy and on edge since my friend Sunday wrote a post about the disappearance on Mother’s Day of a nine year old autistic little girl named Mikaela Lynch. Everything I read about Mikaela made me think of Will. She was on the severe end of the spectrum, had very little speech, and liked to be naked.
And if you notice, I say “was” because sadly Mikaela was found. In a creek.
And my heart is broken.
This family is going through unspeakable loss and there are those who truly don’t understand what it means to raise and then lose a child like Mikaela.
Will has gotten out of the house 3 times without us knowing.
THREE times that he was on his own and none of us were there to keep him safe.
He doesn’t know to look both ways before crossing the street.
He doesn’t know not to walk in front of a moving car.
He can’t give our address if someone stops him and asks where he lives.
He wouldn’t even answer his name if he was asked.
And yet, he’s been on his own.
Even when I think of it now,
my heart quickens and I am taken right back to the panic I felt.
My sweet, innocent, loving little boy,
But we were lucky,
and we found him safe all 3 times.
Mikaela’s family was not so lucky.
And I imagine myself in their place multiple times a day,
because it is just a matter of time before another little child like her wanders off.
Not if, but when.
And the worst of it,
believe it or not,
isn’t the loss her family is feeling,
but instead it’s the blame that the media has put on her family, who I can assure you, are already beating themselves up, I’m sure wondering what else could they possibly have done to keep her safe.
And that’s the trick of it.
As much as I think Will is like a baby,
he is also SO smart,
and if he wants something badly enough,
he will get it,
he will find a way.
And I spend EVERY SINGLE DAY checking locks,
making sure someone is with him 24/7,
shouting out constantly “where’s Will?”
just so I can be reassured there are eyes watching him.
After hearing about Mikaela, I remembered that my friend Carmel is the executive director of Paw Sensitive Pet Service Solutions. She had told me about her company before and for whatever reason, I just hadn’t thought it was for Will.
I finally took a closer look and realized it truly is and what a peace of mind it would give me knowing Will would have a dog trained on his scent, who would keep him tethered when walking, and would keep him safely in his bed while sleeping.
And so we are going to be applying for a dog
to have along with the locks, the gates, the child locator on our keys, and his safety tattoos.
And maybe we will be able to keep him safe…
don’t judge Mikaela’s family.
What they need right now is love, comfort, and peace that passes understanding.
If Mikaela touched her family’s lives in any way close to how Will touches ours,
their loss is suffocating.
Please go to my friend Sunday’s blog, Adventures in Extreme Parenthood, to read other posts by members of the Autism and Special Needs community that are coming together today to honor Mikaela Lynch.