A good friend invited me to a small candlelight vigil that was held Sunday night to remember and honor the life of Alex Spourdalakis. Alex’s story has been front and center in the Autism community, but unfortunately did not attract the mainstream national news media.
This is one of the initial news stories released after Alex’s death. We now know that Alex’s life was taken by his own mother, a woman who apparently felt like she had no other choice. Her son was sick, in pain, and was violent. She tried to get him medical help; but in her perspective, the medical community would not help her. So she took his life, and tried in vain to take her own.
I am really struggling what to think about all this, especially after holding a candle in Alex’s memory. It’s easy for me to look at this mother in absolute horror for what she did. And I do. I can’t imagine feeling like I had no other options to end my child’s suffering than to take his life.
But one of the reasons I can’t imagine it is I do have options that Dorothy Spourdalakis did not have. I live in a comfortable home (albeit not my own right now). My son has access to whatever medical equipment and medication he needs to keep him comfortable. I am surrounded by loving family and friends who are willing to help with whatever we need. My son has some of the best doctors in the country managing his care. I have respite. I have a strong faith.
If every one of these things were taken away, and I still had my sick child to care for, it would be an incredibly desperate situation.
So while I try and make sense of this, which may never happen, I am reminded how incredibly grateful I am for my community, top notch medical care, and faith.
Rest in peace, Alex. You won’t be forgotten.