There is a 14-year-old autistic kid from NYC missing. My 14 year old autistic kid was in the NYC school system and this story eats me up.
It is sad all the way around. Sad for the school, where no one became educators to lose children. Sad for the security guard who now has to live with the fact that a child is gone, likely to never be seen again, because they did not stop the child and ask some simple questions. But most of all, sad for the parents. This is a needless tragedy. One that could have been avoided. There was no need for this child to go missing.
The parents have to live with the fact that this did not have to happen. This tragedy was not required.
I think that is something all parent of autistic kids have in common, a feeling that this pain could have somehow been avoided.
That if we had only we had done something differently. Ate different. Lived different. Lived somewhere else. Things would be different.
If only, if only, if only.
These kinds of thoughts can eat you alive. The second-guessing that happens as a parent is doubled when the child is special. Often you feel there are a million things you could have done differently.
I am not suggesting that the parents of this missing child are exaggerating their feelings of lose or need to “get over it”. They are going through the absolute nightmare that we all fear. The losing of a nonverbal, defenseless, loved one.
But the second-guessing that we all experience over raising our special child is not productive.
When thinking of things I should have done differently for my son, I have no choice but to move on. To continue to live. If not for yourself then for those around you, who love you, depend on you. You are not a perfect parent; I am not a perfect parent. We have to accept ourselves as openly as we accept our special children. Extend the grace to yourself that you give so freely to your child.
My heart and prayers are with the Oquendo family.