Flag at Half Staff
Under normal circumstances, this would be an Insights post that introduces new Hike Notes. Circumstances do not feel normal.
I lived in Japan for several years, and came to respect and understand their custom of not sending out annual holiday cards in a year when a family member died. This week I am paying respects rather than putting out a new hike post.
A few days ago, an autism support news feed announced that a Bay Area autism mom, known for her fierce advocacy for her severely autistic son and others, had died in a house fire that took both her and her autistic son’s lives. Though I did not personally know Feda Almaliti and her severely autistic son Muhammed, I feel like they were extended family by life circumstance.
Two family members were able to get out of the burning house. Feda also got out. Realizing her son was still inside, she went back in to get him. Sensory system likely overwhelmed by the heat and smoke and sounds, he could not leave. Feda and Muhammed passed away together, found later with her embracing him.
Families touched by autism have benefited from Feda Almaliti’s fight to have autism services covered by insurance, as well as from her advocacy on many other fronts.
As the mom of a severely autistic son likely to have the same reaction as Feda’s beloved son, reading their story was like a kick in the gut. I hadn’t imagined a fire scenario, but I have pictured myself countless times taking a bullet for my son in the not-unlikely scenario that he may have a meltdown in public, with authorities mistaking his behavior for something dangerous. I repeatedly imagine myself jumping in front to protect him when he is not able to follow orders to stand still or be quiet.
Those of us in the severe autism world already live an isolated, difficult life. To lose such a powerful light is a huge loss. Our flags fly at half staff in honor of fellow troop members Feda and Muhammed.
I found the following link which tells more about Feda’s life and work.
This week I hope we will all reach out to those we love. Tell them that we love them. When we feel irritated, perhaps we won’t be so quick to snap. Remember that we can lose our loved ones in an instant.
Instead of regular Hike Notes this week, I’ll suggest looking at the Quick View Hike List (noted by general area). Perhaps those who know of their story will take a walk somewhere and think of Feda and her son.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.