by Michelle Buzgon
As I read the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking story of the the Irving, Texas, mother who calmly called 911 earlier this week to say that she had strangled her two children because they had autism, my stomach is churning, my chest is fluttering, my eyes are tearing and thoughts are running rampant through my head:
How does someone do something so monstrous? She must be mentally ill. Those poor children. What a horrible, horrible, horrible way to die. I can hear their screams. Their pleading through tears. (It hurts my ears.) She’s horrible. She’s pathetic. Where the hell was her husband? She must have been so isolated. So overwhelmed. She must be so sick, so depressed. Did anyone try to help her? What triggered her? What kind of person could feel “nothing” after killing her children? Did her cultural background add pressure, add stigma around having a child with autism? OMG, how could she do that to her own children? To ANY children.
This is beyond comprehension. I’m grieving for these innocent children I did not know. Any words I can write about this situation fall woefully short of its magnitude. As the mom of a child with special needs, it’s particularly painful to read the mother’s words: “I don’t want my kids to be like that,” she told the 911 operator. “I want normal kids.” I can’t begin to relate to the context in which these words were said, but can I relate to the content? Would I love for The Buddha to be more “normal”? Yes. I know “normal” is a loaded word, but let’s assume here that it means he could walk, talk, socialize and navigate the world in a way that more or less blends in with other relatively “typically developing” children. I’ve honestly never connected with the moms who say in lilting voices, “I wouldn’t want my child any other way.” I mean, why would I subject my child — or me, for that matter — to this if I had a CHOICE?
But this incomprehensible, horrifying situation in Texas reminds me that I do have CHOICE in how I react to my life with a child with special needs, of how I choose to grieve the “expected” path that was not to be.
I tell my coaching clients all the time that there are infinite choices at every moment, and sometimes we need help to see that they are there. When we are able to unveil new perspectives, we open new pathways to peace and joy.
So, let’s look for some new perspectives for ourselves in the wake of this tragedy. What choices do we see now that we know it’s possible for a mother to do the ultimate selfish act in the name of wanting her kids to be “normal”?
It certainly reminds me that the Universe brought me this special kid of mine for a whole bunch of reasons. So much learning, so much personal growth, sooooo much LOVE. When he comes home this afternoon, I’ll hug him (and his brother) a little tighter. I’ll tell him how much I love him. I’ll make renewed conscious choices to be more patient, more present. And, though before today I might have thought my heart was at capacity, I’ll make the choice to love him even more.