Thursday, December 20, 2012

I am not Adam Lanza's mother!

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
I am not Adam Lanza’s mother
     I am a mother of three sons and my oldest, age 28, has had every diagnosis imaginable, including Autism. I have never seen research associating Autism with the propensity for violence.  He is my angel.  It was my journey of coming to grips with having a son with a disability that caused me to look so deep within that I, myself, was diagnosed with depression and my only escape was to write my own answer to this life challenge.   The answer required me to open my heart so wide that I identified with every mother struggling to raise a family, every mother brokenhearted from trying to provide the best for their child, every woman who felt alone, like I had, in their struggles of life, and every child who did not measure up to the world’s expectations of him or her.  Over the years as I continued to reach up and out of my pain, I founded Sisters Supporting Sisters, a 501 (c) (3).

     In 1992, when my oldest was turning 8 years old, I accepted that he would never go to college and realize the dreams of success that I held for him, like every mother dreams for her first-born son.  The riots had occurred in Los Angeles earlier that year and the smell of smoke still lingered.  The anger and confusion in the city had almost resulted in the city burning down. It was a depressing time and the riots were a mirror of what was going on in our individual lives, I believe. 
     I asked God to help me make sense of the pain and depression that I felt from living in a world with people whose values were misplaced and misguided.  Material wealth and comfort were what I and all my friends sought to achieve.  We wanted to live in the perfect house, drive the perfect SUV, have our sons and daughters attend the perfect schools.  We wanted the American dream surrounded with a white Pickett fence and perfect children behind the closed doors. Today those same types of folks make speeches on Facebook and count how many likes they get.

     But my course would change.  One evening during the Christmas season in 1992 I had a “come to Jesus” moment.   It was after the old dull ache of pain on the inside from having misguided values and spending too much time with people who valued the wrong thing manifested on the outside.  I thought I was having a stroke, but the doctors said nothing was wrong, although I felt pain throughout my body.  After that appointment, God became my doctor, the bible my prescription.  I vowed to always reach up and out of my pain and depression and grasp Jesus’ hand.  I vowed to SHOUT -- Shine, Have Hope, Overcome, Use God’s Power and Take Charge – for my son, myself, and all the women and children, unknown to me at the time, that I listed above.  I would serve, sometimes at shelters, then for 10 years while teaching, and finally in my own non-profit.
    With that vow of dedication still resonating in my heart, I re-launched Sisters Supporting Sisters this year with a theater piece, Voices of the Un-Heard.  See the flyer below.  I wept, uncontrollably, with others at the end of its offering, as I caught of glimpse of my oldest beaming from the audience, and I beckoned him to join me on the stage.  In 1993, I understood that my child with special needs would need me to be a constant source of joy, light, and love; the umbilical cord between he and I never severed, but, in fact, extended to the world.  I would accept that he was perfect just the way he was.  I would share his perfection with others every chance I got.  He would beam like he did on November 4th, 2012 as Mommy offered Voices of the Un-Heard to others. Afterwards, I would turn my attention to collecting clothing and toys for women and children in area shelters.  Those items were delivered this week.

     Over the years, I ordered his dad to get rid of all the guns in the house.  He, too, at one time was a gun enthusiast.  I’ve always hated guns.  Whenever I looked at an instrument that could take the life of another I got chills up my spine.  For the last 28 years, I journeyed through the maze of mothering a son with Autism:  Medication changes, doctor’s appointments, episodes, meetings with school officials, psychologist, specialist and more.  I would always seek mainstream inclusive opportunities for my son.  I endured the ignorant stares when my son said or did something inappropriate.  I either overlooked folks or put them in their place when they made stupid comments or jokes about people with disabilities.  I cringed when people used the word Retarded or shared ignorant “yellow bus” jokes.  I moved to an area in the San Fernando Valley where people walk to local eateries.  Here my son can safely and independently walk to get his favorite treats of Starbucks, Cold Stones, and Jamba Juice. I always invite friends to SHOUT with me, for me, my son, women, at-risk kids, and young adults with disabilities.   I let joy, love, and light surround us on our special journey of life! 
     We had one life and death situation.  He walked off and got lost for three days.  God, prayers from Psalm 91, and a friend who offered to help me search for him brought him home safely.  This same friend was the first to donate when I re-launched Sisters Supporting Sisters.  I could never bear the burden of raising a son with a disability alone. If you read any of my books, there’s a disabled child.  In my blog, you will find entries about my journey of being a mother with a special needs child.   In Voices of the Un-Heard, there is a character struggling with raising an Autistic child.  When we return in spring, a developmentally delayed actress is joining the cast.  Sisters Supporting Sisters’ mission is to also inspire and support young adults with disabilities.   I do it all because God saved me and my son when my spirit was crushed in 1992. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted.  We must get rid of the guns in our society and return to being a society of love and peace.  Happy Holidays!


  1. Heart wrenching and thought provoking. This may sound cliche but your remind me of a phoenix rising after being struck down by a force of nature. You're not alone and so many more need to see your play in May.

  2. Laurie, thanks so much for taking the time to make a comment. Hmm, I love the concept of "a phoenix rising after being struck down by a force of nature." I shall continue to rise. Happy Holidays.