As I write this, your Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle and Aunt are striving to bring you some justice. I don’t know yet what the jury will decide and I can only guess what trickery those who did you wrong may employ to wriggle out of their responsibilities.
However, I wanted to write you this letter as it occurred to me that although your picture sits on the bookshelf of our home, next to the photos of my own autistic daughter and although I have written about you from time to time I have never addressed a letter to you.
I wanted to tell you dear that I am so awfully sorry that I never got to meet you. Your Dad and your Grandpa came to see us and brought us some lovely photos of you. In all of them you were smiling and in all of them the adult with you – your Grandma, Grandpa or Dad – were smiling proudly. I can understand that Katie. You were obviously a little girl who anybody could be proud of. I hope to one day be able to tell you that when I can come and visit you where you’re resting now.
I also want you to know that your Daddy, your Grandma, your Grandpa, your Aunt and your Uncle and lots of your teachers spoke up for you sweetheart. They stood up to be counted and said that you were loved – adored – that the fact you were autistic should not ever be used as a justifiable reason for hurting anyone. They told the world what you were like. They wore pink ribbons to show the world that you were remembered. I wore my own pink ribbon everyday too.
One night, my own autistic little girl woke up about 3ish and we sat and I told her about you and about how much you were loved and how brave and steadfast your Daddy and your Grandma and your Grandpa were. Her favourite picture of you is the one where you are sitting on your Grandpa’s lap. I think it is her favourite as she remembers sitting on his lap when he and your Daddy came to visit. You are both little girls who see the purpose of a Grandpa!
Your Daddy is a hero Katie. A man who will not ever stop fighting for the rights of his daughter. A man who has stood opposite the person who wronged you so viciously, looked that person in the eye and remained dignified and composed. A man who has been buffeted from all sides and who simply misses his little girl and wants to do right by her. Your Daddy called me ‘pal’ and hugged me when he came over to see us. I am proud to be thought of as a friend by such a fine man as your Daddy.
The real tragedy is that any of this happened at all. There are no excuses for what was done to you. Whatever the verdict comes back as, the truth is that you were betrayed and snatched away from those who loved you. Those who wronged you – those with no answers – still try to wrong you. They blame vaccines. They blame autism. They blame mental illness. They look everywhere to place blame except where it deserves to be placed. In doing this they seek to cheapen and diminish the enormity of what was done to you. Your family will not let them.
Take care dear. I hope very much that one day I will be able to say some of this to you. I will bring you a toy from my girls and tie some pink ribbon around it. Until then please rest in the peace you so richly deserve. Your family continue to light a candle for your darkness.
Please Note: There is a living memorial for Katie should anyone wish to contribute.