March 2014

In 1987, my life changed forever. My husband Rich and I were the blessed and proud parents of three healthy sons. That summer, our six-month-old, Graham, almost died from spinal meningitis. He was diagnosed shortly before for a simple ear infection, but his condition got worse and worse, so I rushed him to the hospital. He stopped breathing on the way there. “This is not happening,” was all I could think as I watched the medical professionals fight to resuscitate him. They were able to re-start his heart, but Graham had suffered permanent brain damage. This was the beginning of our journey as parents of a special needs child. Everything shifted in our lives. In an instant, we went from what was normal to a challenge every day for the rest of our parenting lives. Graham’s behavior as he developed was violent and erratic. At four years old, he would run down the street screaming and tearing his clothes off. In church he would attack other children. At home, he would bring big knives into our bedroom while we were sleeping. For everyone’s safety, we had to install special locks all over the house. Our lives were upside down. It was impossible to take Graham to a restaurant...