It was 1999 and we lost track of our six year old autistic son Luke. Prior to this, our church service had just ended. Luke just began walking and our youngest son was two years old.
The church we attended at the time was meeting in an old building. My husband got Luke from Sunday School and I went to get our baby.
At some point, Luke wandered off and we went on a wild goose chase looking for him. I was panicked to say the least.
Everyone was leaving the church , except for a few concerned parishioners. It was the craziest feeling not knowing where our son disappeared to.
The church had an old attic that was used for sound checks. It was accessed by a pull out ladder. At some point it was shut, but we kept running around yelling, “Luke! Where are you?”It just did not make sense.
All of a sudden, I could hear a distant whimper. To say the least a mother knows her child’s sounds. I scurried to have someone open the drop down ladder and low and behold there was our sweet Luke sitting in the dark.
I had not thought of this event for quite some time until I was told recently of the little autistic boy who lost his life after wandering off from his family in PA. These stories are hard to fathom, and even more to swallow. Yet, we have to. We have to remember how vulnerable our cognitively challenged society can be especially our children. Searching for someone missing is a feeling I would not wish on anyone. Anytime a person vanishes-tragedy can be right around the corner.
I hope this story shows how easy life can change in a heartbeat. In this case, it was a quiet sound of a whimper from my precious son. It was just enough to help this mom find her beautiful little boy stuck in a dark, damp attic. My heart still pounds pondering this event.
Luke was held by me for many years until he learned to walk.