Could I Ever Abandon My Disabled Son?
A newspaper article about a woman who left her quadriplegic son in the woods horrified me…and also had me wondering where my own limits lie.
Illustrations by Lynn Scurfield
“Did you hear about that woman in the news?” My sister-in-law, Marianna, asked as we hugged hello at my front door.
“That woman who left her 23-year-old disabled son in the woods.” She paused, probably to see if that was enough to jog my memory. My frozen expression must have read as incomprehension, so she went on. “She left him lying on a blanket, next to his wheelchair with a Bible on it. Somehow he was found a week later, still alive.”
I continued to stare at her, slack-jawed, while my stomach flipped over on itself.
“Oh, my God!” she exclaimed. “I’m so sorry! I was sure you’d already seen it.”
It was a natural enough assumption. My son, Bond, is also in his early twenties. He is also profoundly disabled, unable to walk, talk, or care for himself. He contracted a brain infection when he was thirteen months old, probably from eating a handful of dirt, like millions of kids do. Some microscopic parasitic eggs hatched and traveled to his brain,…
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