That’s exactly how it feels

June 22, 2010 at 6:10 am 14 comments

     The other day I received a phone call that ranked right up there with the most disturbing calls a person could ever get. It was my son’s friend, screaming that he couldn’t wake up his dad and he didn’t know what to do. They have an internet phone, and even if you can call the local 911, the 911 operator can’t get a location from the call. I asked him his address, but he didn’t know it. He didn’t know his Mom’s cell phone number or where she worked.

     I did the only thing I could think of to do: I told him I’d be there in five minutes, hung up the phone, and raced out the door. I sped to the fire station, retrieved the EMTs and led them to the house. It was, unfortunately, much too late. Tragically, the man was dead.

     The next several hours were awful, as you might imagine. Through it all, in the back of my mind, I wondered how to tell C. He’s had a long, lingering fear of death, as many children do. However, his fear is magnified by autism, and has been, in the past, incredibly debilitating for his emotional health. I am convinced that Dog, somehow the longest living dog following a stage IV mediastinal lymphoma diagnosis (over three years now), survived simply because he knew C probably couldn’t handle it if he died at that time. Good dog.

     So it was with trepidation that Husband and I sat C down the next morning to tell him what had happened to his friend’s dad. C adored this man who was so fun-loving and kind to him. I know C’s initial response was only the tip of the iceberg; much of what he feels will not come out for weeks, and it will come out in ways we probably can’t even anticipate. Yet C summed up exactly how he felt in a way that almost took my breath away with its insight.

     “When someone dies,” he said through his tears, “it feels like all my legos are broken.”

Parents, please have a piece of paper with your home address, names, and pertinent phone numbers where everyone can find it. Arrange a “safe house” with your neighbor so your child knows s/he can go there if needed. This man couldn’t be helped, but it pains me to think of a person who could benefit from emergency services dying needlessly simply because a child couldn’t summon help.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Is it any wonder I’m finding gray hair? C-isms

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. pixiemama  |  June 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

    What a horrible situation.


  • 2. Cheryl D.  |  June 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

    How sad and awful. I’m so sorry for your loss and for having to deal with this with your son.

  • 3. Shivon  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I am so sorry,
    “When someone dies,” he said through his tears, “it feels like all my legos are broken.”
    Big hugs to you and C

  • 4. statia  |  June 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

    How horrible for that little boy, and your son. I’m so sorry.

  • 5. Suz  |  June 22, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Oh wow. That is horrible, and what a sweet analogy. 😦

  • 6. robinaltman  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    That is so awful. I’m so impressed with how you kept your cool! You’re a hero in my eyes. Poor guy and poor little boy. It sounds like C really summed it up.

  • 7. abby schrader  |  June 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    OMG. I feel for C’s friend and for C. As someone who lost her dad suddenly at 13 (older than C and his friend, and typically developing), I can attest to the fact that this is impossible for anyone really ever to come to terms with.

    My heart goes out to the boy and his family, to your family, and his entire community.

  • 8. schonakessler  |  June 23, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Wow! Scary! Can’t imagine how the little guy is doing right now….so sad. I have taught my daughter to call 911 if she ever thought she needed to…she knows our address too. She is 7. Since we live out in the country it would be horrible if she didn’t know those things. Now to start teaching my 4 year old. I wouldn’t want this to happen to my kids.
    It’s awesome you did all that you did!

  • 9. Stephanie  |  June 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Teaching your children to respond in emergency situations and posting the information is an important step. If possible an emergency response system should be purchased as well. We got an alarm system for two main reasons. One, the chimes let us know when the doors are openning; and, two, because it gives our children easy access to help.

    How very, very unfortunate that your child’s friend had to be home alone when his father died.

  • 10. akbutler  |  June 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

    oh what an awful story. Your son’s friend was lucky to have you on his go-to list, because I’m sure you were able to be there for him. Your son’s analogy brought me to tears. He’s so right.
    Thank you for the reminder that we all need to do whatever we can to give our kids a safe place to go in times of emergency.

  • 11. embracingspirit  |  June 27, 2010 at 5:33 am

    oh my goodness. I cannot imagine. It was wonderful that you were the little boys contact point. Thanks for the reminders of address and emergency. whew….I am so sorry..

  • 12. therocchronicles  |  June 28, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Oh Darcy, I’m just now catching up after being unplugged for awhile. How scary and sad and awful. I feel for you all. A very good reminder.

  • 13. Elizabeth Channel  |  July 3, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Oh my goodness; it’s awful for you and for C, and for that little boy! This happened to friends of ours about a year ago but the mother passed away and the children found her…reminds me that we only have each day and never know…Such a good reminder about the emergency information though…

  • 14. But – I’m Not That Kind of a Doctor! « Shrink Rap  |  July 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    […] That Kind of a Doctor! I swear that I am not trying to “one up” my lovely friend Darcy, who was called by her son’s friend, who said, “My Daddy won’t wake up!”  […]


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