Funny how we remember things and people as if they were yesterday.
I was watching TV about a woman who was convicted of murdering her autistic son with violent tendencies.
And it made me remember Maureen.
She was a courageous woman, who suffered for love. It was hard to forget her. She lived with her son who was severely autistic. Tyrone had violent tendencies, and often took them out on people he loved. In an instant he would turn and attack others in an instant. These violent tendencies forced his father, twin sister and older son to live in another home for their own safety. Whenever possible the entire family gathered for supper.
Maureen had called and asked for me to come and do an exorcism. Instead, a colleague and I went to do a house blessing, using the occasional service from the Episcopal Church. It was at that time I first saw Maureen’s “battle scars”. In these times of violence, Tyrone had torn all the curtains off the windows, and punched through walls and doors. Worst of all, was to see Maureen. She had lost all her teeth in more than one episode. She had a black eye, was healing from a broken arm, and was dealing with trying to keep her son subdued in the night. A lock often wasn’t enough.
The only option for this family was to have him institutionalized. Trouble was no one wanted him. He was regularly admitted to hospital for other health concerns, and could not be trusted to injure the nurses or doctors who provided care (on more than one occasion they were attacked). So he required full time workers by his bedside for their protection.
I so admired Maureen. She had the perseverance of faith that somehow, all would be well and that the Creator was always looking out for them. Often through her perseverance and persistence pushed her son’s needs through to question why he didn’t deserve a chance, to talk, to learn behaviour skills in institutions only offered in Southern Ontario. She talked to MPs and MPPs, and band chiefs and health centres and various other leaders always persisting in faith that her son was as valued as any other.
Her persistence paid off. He was sent off to treatment where they focussed on his behaviour and after several years the family was reunited. Although things weren’t perfect and some days were dark and difficult, no was never an answer Maureen could accept.
The last time I saw her she thanked me for all the visits and prayers I made. All I could do was thank her for teaching me so many lessons on having faith – in one another and in the loving Creator.
A lesson learned on not giving up in ourselves, those around us, and most especially, on God.