Katie McCarron

12 Jun

Since the horrifying news that three year old Katherine ‘Katie’ McCarron was killed by her mother, a few of us have been in contact with Katie’s Granddad – Mike McCarron.

Mike contacted me after viewing the WMV file of [my daughter] I uploaded to counter the idea that autism was a tragedy and that a killing like this was in any way understandable and we’ve swapped emails since then. I have to come to have an inordinate amount of respect for Mike not just for his utterly transparent love for his grand-daughter but also his lucid refusal to countenance the idea that her death can be in any way rationalised or painted as understandable, despite the mealy mouthed efforts of a few journalists and a couple of bloggers who should know better.

Mike sent me the picture of Katie a week or so ago but asked me not to blog it which was totally understandable. However, as the ‘this is justifiable’ nonsense has increased, Mike feels that its time to show people the beautiful child that we’re supposed to believe it was ‘understandable’ to kill.

Here’s a comment from Mike over on Kristina’s AutismVox blog:

I would like to say something about Katie. Some newspapers have reported that this was done to end Katie’s pain; let me assure you that “Katie was not in pain”. She was a beautiful, precious and happy little girl. Each day she was showered with love and returned that love with hugs, kisses and laughter. Katie loved music; she would fill in some of the words in children’s songs as my wife would sing along with the CD that would be playing, their own version of “karaoke” . She liked to dance, she loved to do the “hooky poky”. She loved being in among flowers and tall grass. She would say “I like grass”. She enjoyed the zoo and because of all of the drills and flashcards she could identify the animals. Which I thought was pretty amazing for such a young child. She was also the only little child in her non-autistic play group that could identify an octagon. My wife and son had a party for her the day they heard that from the teacher.

I’m not ashamed to state that I have cried numerous times since corresponding with Mike. In horror that something so appalling could happen to someone so young and innocent, in recognition of the most abrasive pain I could imagine when talking to Mike and in awe that he remains so lucid and how directed and purposeful his very real anger is:

But in the meantime I can assure you that no one will describe her murder as “understandable” or devalue her in anyway without my personal challenge to them and the organizations they represent.

Everyone should have such a Grandpa.

UPDATE: Stephen at Not Dead Yet also received some photo’s of Katie, as did Kristina.

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26 Responses to “Katie McCarron”

  1. Nathzn June 12, 2006 at 19:59 #

    Yes they should.

    It is such a relief to hear a relative that doesn’t tell the sterotyped sob story about ‘worse than cancer’ etc.

    Finally people are speaking out and speaking the truth.

    It has been along time coming.

  2. Ms Clark June 12, 2006 at 20:49 #

    I don’t know why, but knowing that she could identify an octagon and that her family threw a party for her over that made me cry again. Sweet little girl. Sweet little blessing of a child. Mr. McCarron, thank you for sharing the picture and for standing up for the memory of Katie and the irreplaceableness of her life.

  3. Bonnie Ventura June 12, 2006 at 20:56 #

    I’ve posted the photo on Aspergian Pride.

    All of us need to challenge the ignorant, prejudiced voices of people who are so lacking in humanity and empathy that they see nothing wrong with the murder of a child.

  4. Estee June 12, 2006 at 21:55 #

    I’m glad you did this post.

  5. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) June 12, 2006 at 21:59 #

    If my fellow contributors here will permit me, I should like to address Mike McCarron here.

    Mike, you sent that picture to Kevin and now we all see who Katie was… a beautiful little girl with the happiest smile I’ve seen on any child’s face, at least… one who wasn’t my child. My daughter, Tuula, is autistic, and she (as many will confirm) is also a beautiful little girl with a happy smile.

    My little girl is enjoying her life because her mum and I (both autistic) refused to see her being autistic as being a fate worse than death, or as a reason to not have her around. We rejoiced at having a daughter who is ‘like us’, and we swore to advocate for her to our fullest ability (and we’ve managed to put an end to some seriously stupid things that the Finnish authorities have tried to do to us). We still continue in our advocacy for her.

    I feel still, as I did when I heard the news, an incredible sadness about how Katie was taken from the world and from you; and especially having heard who did it. I read that Katie’s dad had gone with the educational options to provide her with some developmental opportunities… but that her mother was hell-bent on ‘curing her’.

    I am one of the people whom the curebie crowd wishes to eliminate from the world. I (quite involuntarily, I might add) found myself wondering what Katie’s last vision of this world was like, and the idea haunts me even now. I could never do that to my child. It’s not what parents do.

    I am aware of the fact that services for families where there are autistic children are not all they should be… hell, I live in Finland, and this place is just so far backwards on this issue it’s just not real! But I have yet to see happen to an autistic Finnish child what happened to that beautiful grand-daughter of yours. It just doesn’t happen, as far as I can tell… and we’d hear about it if it did.

    What happened to … no, I’ll rephrase… what Katie’s mother did to her was an unspeakable act of total abandonment: she told Katie, by her actions, that she did not want her the way she was. Since when do parents have the right to choose on that?! You have spoken about Katie with such love and delight in her having been on this planet that it is hard to imagine that Katie was (as her mother had implied) in pain.

    I – as are many whom I know who have heard of this – am incredibly saddened by how Katie died. But we are also glad that she was around, even for such a short while, to smile the way she did in that picture, which Kevin has posted in the header here. She was beautiful, and she was a credit to all who truly loved her. Thank you for sharing that particular memory of her with all of us.

    My very best wishes to you, sir, and to your family.

    And now, I shall ask Kevin to copy this post into an e-mail to send to you privately, so he can delete it from here. Thanks Kevin.

  6. Elisabeth Clark June 12, 2006 at 22:40 #

    Thank you for sharing this Mike. I am so very sorry.

  7. Joseph June 12, 2006 at 22:55 #

    let me assure you that “Katie was not in pain”. She was a beautiful, precious and happy little girl.

    Thanks for pointing that out. It needs to be said more often. I have a 4 year old autistic boy (almost 5), non-verbal, not potty trained yet (we’re working on it – it’s tough). He’s just the happiest little boy. He likes to laugh and enjoy himself. He likes to hug his parents and his older sister, even though he’s shy with most other people. He can say “ee-ya-you” (I love you). We love him so much. And I try to tell him as often as I can, “you are such a special little boy; you know how special you are? you know how happy I am to have you as my son?” I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like if what happened to Katie happened to my son. I think life would stop having meaning.

  8. mom-nos June 12, 2006 at 22:55 #

    The more I learn about Katie, the more she reminds me of Bud. He, too, was a fan of octagons at an early age. My heart breaks and breaks and breaks, and my thoughts and prayers stay with Katie’s father, sister, and grandparents.

  9. kevin greenlee June 13, 2006 at 00:02 #

    What a beautiful little girl. She’s the same age as my own autistic daughter and, like some others have said, much of what I hear of Katie reminds me of my own little girl. I can’t even begin to comprehend the magnitude of the loss the McCarrons must be feeling.

    I don’t know if Michael McCarron will see this comment (or if Kevin L. will forward it to him with David’s comment) but if he does read this… I believe you live in Indianapolis- that’s where my family lives as well. I would never presume to intrude on your grief but if you ever want a sympathetic ear or someone to vent to over a coffee or even free tickets to the Indianapolis Symphony’s summer family series (my wife’s one of the violinists) then please feel free to contact us. Eliminate the spaces in the following and you’ll have our email address kevin greenlee @ gmail.com

  10. GMAS June 13, 2006 at 02:05 #

    Mr. McCarron-
    My heart breaks for you and your family. Our family has eight grandsons and only two granddaughters. Little girls are so precious and beautiful, as was your sweet Katie.
    I can find no justification, no rationalization, no peace in this tragedy. Most parents of autistic children that I speak with are horrified by the actions of Katie’s mother.
    Katie looks positively joyous in the photos that I viewed here and on Kristina’s blog. I see no evidence of pain whatsoever. She was a beautiful little girl with the most loving grandparents imaginable.
    Please accept my heartfelt condolences on this tragic, senseless loss. You do not grieve alone–thousands join you.

  11. Lisa Randall June 13, 2006 at 02:23 #

    Look at that sweet girl. She deserved more sunny days at the beach.

  12. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) June 13, 2006 at 02:53 #

    I agree, Lisa… I absolutely agree.

    That little girl shared my birthday.

    I shall not be celebrating mine this year.

  13. Anne June 13, 2006 at 04:02 #

    I’m glad Mike McCarron has shared has shared something of his beautiful granddaughter. I hope people understand that she was Katie in all her glory, not a ‘burdensome’ autistic child.

  14. Mum Is Thinking June 13, 2006 at 05:53 #

    It is so kind of Mr. McCarron to have shared information and pictures of Katie with us. His words bring home the fact that she was loved and cherished by her family and friends, that her days were happy with them–and how much she is missed.

    I’m so sad for their loss, but also comforted to know Katie was so adored during her brief time on this earth.

    How sad that the only comfort we can offer him in return is our hope and prayers for justice for the sake of this beautiful child.

  15. Kassiane June 13, 2006 at 07:04 #

    Every time I think about this I just start crying all over again.

    This morning I woke up to pictures in my inbox (and have spent hours trying to get a memorial page up on Rettdevil, but the HTML demons aren’t COOPERATING and no one can even see what’s WRONG with it arrrrrggh) and burst into tears again.

    And then it hit me today: Katie’s sister isn’t even going to remember her. Emily McCarron has been robbed too, of a wonderful, loving, beautiful older sister. Those 10 days they had together will be less than a dream.

    That, too is a tragedy. I hope the rest of her family tells Emily about the sweet, beautiful sister she had, and when she’s old enough, exactly what happened to her. To do anything else wouldn’t be fair to either of them.

    All the damage one selfish mother can do. One hundred million tears won’t even repair a fraction of it.

  16. Phil Schwarz June 13, 2006 at 07:11 #

    I think that if Katie’s beautiful smile can get more parents of autistic kids — and more of the society at large — to *step back* from the rush to cure and to fix and to normalize, and to see our kids as the *whole, precious human beings* that they are, she will have done an immense good in her brief time on Earth. May her memory be a blessing, and her smile perhaps even a tangible touch-point for a positive sea-change in how we as parents respond to autism.

    Mr. McCarron, thank you so much for sharing Katie’s pictures (and her smile!) with us all. They are the pictures worth more than all the thousands of journalistic words, the images that should endure from all of this.

  17. Kev June 13, 2006 at 07:12 #

    Kassiane – mail me your HTML woes and I’ll give you a hand.

  18. Kassiane June 13, 2006 at 14:36 #

    Thank you Kev!

    The page is now live at http://www.rettdevil.com/katiemccarron.html

    My first time ever doing HTML without someone standing there walking me through it. Just needed help to make it WORK.

    It makes me sad that it was needed.

  19. Shawn June 14, 2006 at 04:30 #

    Kev and Mike thanks for sharing this.

    I intentionally kept emotionally distant from Katie’s death over the past few weeks. I knew I didn’t have the emotional reserves to fully process it. As I see Katie’s picture for the first time tonight, I can no longer stay distant. I see too much joy in her eyes. I see my sons’ smiles in hers. I see pictures of a spirit that is truly alive. And I think of the laughter I shared with my son yesterday when he posed a riddle about an octagon.

    I kept distant for a few weeks. Tonight I shed tears and share the pain.

    Mike, you, Katie, and your family are in my prayers.

  20. Mike McCarron June 14, 2006 at 19:55 #

    Thank all of you for being you.

    I am amazed at the amount of love that all of you are able to convey over the internet. Thanks to people like Kristina Chew and Kevin Leitch and all of the others who have invested their energies in providing facilities for sharing. What a wonderful gift that is.

    During my darkest days, immediately after Katie’s funeral, I was unbelievably empty. I could have very easily been consumed by bitterness and hatred. I happened upon Kevin’s film about his daughter Megan. I watched it over and over, and thought here is a family that loves the way mine does. I started to communicate with him, directly not over a “blog”. He was wonderful to me and will always be very much a part of my life.

    I am amazed when I think back upon sitting totally broken in the middle of Indiana, frustrated by events and comments coming from Illinois, drawing strength from a family in the UK.

    Then when I finally worked up the strength to post something, I met all of you. I send each of you a great big Katie hug. No matter how emotionally draining things are and even if I don’t have the strength to post something I gain peace by just being here with you.

  21. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) June 15, 2006 at 11:38 #

    Hello Mike… and welcome.

    “Thank all of you for being you.”

    Could be said that, somehow, we can’t help being who we are 🙂

    Thank you, sir, for the Katie hug. If it’s anything like a Tuula hug, then it is indeed a special hug. My daughter Tuula has not had an easy time of development, shall we say, but she is (as many who met her when she and her mum were at Autreat in the US and at Autscape in the UK) full of life’s joys. And that is the image I have in my mind of Katie, from the photos you have released for us all to see: a child who loved her life… who loved being herself. No pain, no ‘horrors’ of autism, and no ‘abyss’. Thank you for letting us see who she really was, as much as a photo can do that. We are privileged indeed.

    Again, my best wishes to you and yours.

    David

  22. bonni June 15, 2006 at 18:36 #

    Hi, Mike. It’s good to see you here, although I’m so deeply sorry about the circumstances that brought you here.

    I have an autistic daughter, and the picture of Katie and many of the descriptions I’ve read of Katie’s life and things she enjoyed remind me of my own little girl. I can imagine how much you miss Katie, because I know how much I’d miss my child. I can also imagine how angry you must be, and a lot of us are angry, as well.

    Thank you for sharing Katie with us, and thank you for continuing to fight for Katie, even now that she’s so tragically lost. She still needs an advocate to defend her memory, and to rid the world of the obscene thought that it’s somehow “okay” to give up on an autistic child the way Katie’s mother did.

    I hope you’ll accept a Zoe hug. I expect it’s very like a Katie hug, except it frequently involves lots of little kisses all over your face and neck.

    This may sound absurd coming from someone who is basically a complete stranger to you, but Katie will be with me for a very long time. Her story has touched me in a very profound way.

  23. Mike McCarron June 17, 2006 at 14:25 #

    Thank all of you so much, the “hugs” have been wonderful. There is so much love and support expressed here, on Kevin’s site, that I truly can not find the words to thank all of you enough.

    You are in my prayers everyday.

  24. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) June 17, 2006 at 20:02 #

    You’re very welcome, Mike. Anytime.

  25. bonni June 20, 2006 at 16:20 #

    I have one thing to add to this… I hope it will be taken the way I intend it. I debated whether or not I wanted to post it, and finally decided I would.

    A few days ago, my own autistic little girl got a new doll. Well, really, it’s an old doll, but it’s new to her. We decided the dolly should have a name, and I helped her to pick one. I went through a list of names, just randomly as they popped into my head.

    And the name my little girl chose? Katie.

    My Zoe doesn’t understand the significance, of course, but I do, and I thought perhaps that the real Katie’s family might be a little bit touched to know that there’s a little autie girl in Australia with a pretty little dolly named Katie (and a Mum who thinks about the real Katie frequently).

    I hope that gives someone a smile, anyway.

  26. Mike McCarron June 22, 2006 at 04:14 #

    It gives one grandfather a very big smile. Thank you and Zoe. I know that will be the most lovable dolly any little girl could ever have.

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