In 2005, and then again in 2007, our family got news that would change us forever. It certainly wasn’t good news, but, as it turns out for us, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed at first. Each at separate times, two of our children received an autism diagnosis, and we had choices: let it beat us, or fight back. We chose the latter.
In fact, we beat it to the point that we soon had it working in our favor. We learned as much as we could about the diagnosis, and became well versed; you might even say “experts.” We spoke at colleges, started support groups, organized seminars, testified before the state senate, and I even found work within the autism community. Life was good. I wrote a book, and people from all over the state were referred to my wife Lori and me for help. We were respected. And, we did it all knowing that, by making the community stronger, we would be making things better for our own children.
Then, the unthinkable happened. I found myself embroiled in what – for now – will be called an “incident.” I know it’s “what they all say,” but it truly was/is a false allegation. As Until Proven progresses, this blog will share unspecific details with you, and you’ll be able to make your own judgement.
Those who concern me are the people who once called themselves “friends,” those who have known my family and me, and (worse) the ones who swore they loved us. Immediate family remained awesome and supportive, especially the ones who were privy to the most detailed, intimate, and most private of facts. Those people are the ones with the most to lose, who have the deepest knowledge about the circumstances, and yet have held me closest and have defended me the strongest – because they know me.
My frustration is with these former “close” friends and distant family who scattered like roaches from a kitchen light. Without so much as a peep, they ran for cover, never again asking me how the family is doing or if there was any credibility at all to the reported incident. They didn’t even have the backbone to (vocally) pick the Other Side. I can kind of forgive those who jumped to the other camp more than I can those who’ve said nothing. Even Lori’s friends didn’t stick around to ask if she is okay or if she needs anything.
Not all of my friends distanced themselves, though. For the entirety of the situation, those true friends stuck around because they know who I am, they understand the circumstances of the situation, and they took the time to find out more. Knowledge truly is power, which makes them my most powerful friends. To them, and to my closest family, Until Proven will be dedicated. Because we love them and they deserve it.
To the rest, to those who abandoned my little family: we are the ones that some of you supposedly loved so much that we asked you to become members of our family, to help us look out for the future of our youngest children. To all of you, I only ever promise that one day I hope to pee in your breakfast cereal.
There’s so much more to come as Until Proven evolves. The story as a memoir; while it is a novel of actual events, it is told from the 3rd person and is populated by actual persons whose identities have been altered. In order to ensure confidentiality, this blog will never disclose specifics. But we hope to leave you with topics we all can discuss.
That said, please tell us if you’ve ever had your own world turn its back on you when you could have used it the most. We hope to hear from you soon.