I wanted to write something really beautiful for Alex Spourdalakis. I wanted to write something worthy. I wanted to use my voice, no matter how small, to shout at the world of the injustice in the death of this sweet boy. I wanted to scream from the rooftop about this despicable crime that put an end to his short life; that took away his potential for greatness.
But I can’t. And believe me I have tried. I just can’t find the words to explain exactly how I feel every time I watch the You-Tube video uploaded on May 27, 2013 showing Alex strapped to a hospital gurney as “Dr.” Andrew Wakefield begs for money to “treat” and “cure” his autism. I can’t form a proper sentence to clarify how I feel as I think of all of the “treatments” this child endured, or how frustrated he must have been without a means of a communication. I can’t begin to explain, or even envision, what Alex’s life was like. I can’t find the words to express the multitude of heavy emotions I feel when I think of Alex’s mother and godmother first trying to kill him with sleeping pills, and after they failed, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest and slashing his wrists so deeply they nearly severed his hand. I can’t find one word to adequately describe the horror I have envisioned ever since I first heard of this incident. Or, what goes through my mind when I think about his father finding his maimed and lifeless body. I can’t count the number of tears that have fallen since the news of his death broke about a week ago.
There is no word in the English language to describe the utter heart break and overwhelming anger I feel when reading the many comments and statements under articles relating to this topic. Comments written by people who vehemently defend these two women’s actions – the murder of a 14 year old boy. The vast majority of commenter’s do not stand up for Alex or his rights, but instead for his murderers. At worst calling them heroes and/or saying that they have “saved” this boy. At “best” saying we should all take a moment and try to understand this mother’s life. They say that caring for an Autistic child is hard and we should all try to envision walking in her shoes before we make judgments about her actions. They call this a mercy killing. They say these women should be praised.
I wish I could explain in words what Alex’s death has done to the Autism Community, but I cannot. It has completely shattered all of us – both autistic and not.
Most of all, there is not one word that comes to mind that would enable me to better describe the overwhelming shame I feel to be part of the human race that allows these actions to continue; which is done every time one of us makes a similar statement to those written above. It’s done every time someone stops to defend the actions of a coldblooded killer. It’s done every time a person is treated less than for their neurology. It’s done all day, every day.
I wanted to string together the most beautiful words for Alex, but I couldn’t. So instead I lit a candle and thought of Alex. And wished, that maybe in death he will be able to teach this world a lesson about love, tolerance, acceptance, and the need for change. And then I let the candle burn out on its own.