Aside from some family and personal issues that are slowly working themselves out - just taking forever to get to it, like picking at a knot to unravel - today was a day I wish I could have hit fast-forward on.
Three months ago, a young, nonverbal, autistic teenage boy left his school and disappeared. As a mother, it was a nightmare to even consider. Not knowing where your baby is, compounded with the knowledge that he couldn't even speak to call out to you, to call for help... I'm having difficulty even writing this, it upsets me so much. This boy was from my neighborhood. He lived about two blocks away from me. I pass his building all the time. I may have passed him and his family on the street, dined in the same pizzeria or Chinese food restaurant as they did, stood on line with his mom at the drugstore as we loaded up on cough medicine or Band-Aids, as moms do, when you have a home with children.
He loved trains. He lived right near a Long Island Rail Road overpass. I took pictures there all the time for my friend's son, who also loves trains. Who was thrilled that I texted his mom with a train that was passing at that moment - "It's happening in real time!" For the past three months, every time I have walked across that overpass, I have looked. Looked for a sign - maybe some blankets. Cans of food. A jacket. Something I could find to say, "Hey - he's right here!" All I'd find were bushes, and the odd can of cat food someone left out for the strays.
I wanted him to be found. When the days grew shorter and colder, I prayed he'd be found - maybe he wandered onto a train and found himself upstate? Maybe even in Connecticut, or New Jersey?
It got to a point where I had to look away from the shop windows in my neighborhood. From the information booth in my local subway station. His smiling face tortured me, because I couldn't imagine what his family - his mother - were doing to get through each day.
You know how this story ended today. I'm grateful for the snow. I hope it keeps the news vans away. I couldn't imagine having to contend with the sharks when all I want to do is bleed.
It really sucks to want to do something when there's absolutely nothing you can do. But then I remembered, there's always something. Something kind always touches someone in some way. I can't help that family, but I can do something to help someone else.
Tonight, surfing Facebook, I came across this picture and note, from the DoSomething page:
has been placing these handmade scarfs around the city."
That is amazing. Imagine, just making scarves and handing them out for people to take as they need? And then, I remembered The Red Scarf Project, where knitters and crocheters make red scarves, according to Foster Care to Success' guidelines, as part of a care package that will go to an 18 year-old teen who is aging out of foster care. The Red Scarf Project will accept donations again in September, but I can have quite a few scarves ready by then. I can't bring Avonte home to his parents, but I can help keep other kids warm.
Rest in Peace, Avonte. You deserved so much more.