Thursday, March 26, 2009

I scan the story while standing, my coffee forgotten. Trudy Steuernagel, a faculty member in political science at Kent State, has been murdered and her 18-year-old son, Sky, has been arrested and charged with the crime, though he is profoundly disabled and can neither speak nor understand. Sky, who likes cartoons and chicken nuggets, apparently lost control and beat his mother into a coma. He was sitting in jail when she died.

This happens to be two days after my older son's 21st birthday, which we marked behind two sets of locked steel doors. I'm exhausted and hopeless and vaguely hung over because Andrew, who has autism, also has evolved from sweet, dreamy boy to something like a golem: bitter, rampaging, full of rage. It happened no matter how fiercely I loved him or how many therapies I employed.

More of Ann Bauer's experiences with her son's Autism:

Finding Fargo.

Psych meds drove my son crazy.

The Body Electric.

God talked to me today

The evolution of Ann's thinking, and beliefs about her son's Autism seems to fit any range of feelings around the uncontrollable while dealing, and coping with the medical conditions of loved ones.

She blames her ex-husband's new wife for steering thinking in a different direction. Blames herself. Blames Doctors, Psychiatrists, drugs. Feels guilt, and grief. Pines for her son's childhood days...all the feelings connected to loving someone who is incurable. Who cannot be fixed...while mere humans struggle to find a way to help.


I was recently speaking to a young man who candidly spoke about his mother's schizophrenia.
He said,
"Sometimes when people tell me about their minor little problems, I want to tell them to shut the fuck up...try struggling to get your violent, naked mother off the front lawn into a hospital...Sometimes I just wish I had someone else's life"

I told him to never wish that.
People front.
People live all kinds of lives that they don't share the details of because they want to be viewed as "normal".

I told him that I appreciated him speaking openly about his mother...that one day, if enough people talked about all the things that are dealt with in families...there would be less stigma.

More empathy.

Less front.