As parents of Special Needs children this is a question that is near and dear to us. “Why?” did this happen to my child when it is so rare. It is a question as old as time.


Thirty-nine years ago, I had breast cancer. I attended a support group at the YWCA. Often, they would have speakers, experts on cancer. Every speaker would be asked “I eat a lot of junk food; do you think this caused my cancer?” Or my own story “I work in a restaurant that microwaves much of its food. Do you think this caused my cancer?” The experts never had an answer for us.


Recently I went on a trail ride with a friend on horseback. This is my favorite thing to do. It was spring, windy, new territory for the horses, and a big flock of blackbirds circled toward us. The next thing I knew I was hanging parallel to the barrel of my horses’ body. I thought “I am going off.” Then I was on the ground. I knew my friend had fallen seconds before me. I laid there several seconds accessing. I was ok. My friend was not, five of her ribs had been broken.


“Why?” I asked myself later. Was it all the yoga I had done over the winter? I fall a lot in that class, but never injure myself. My horse is taller than hers, I had further to fall. No answers for these questions either. 


Processing the “why” can be lifelong for some of us. I have learned though many life changing experiences that focusing on why places you on a never-ending treadmill of no change.  It can be part of the grief you feel for you child’s upcoming challenges, but letting it go allows you to focus on the now.


I have held new babies diagnosed with the syndrome after my son was grown. Their lack of muscle tone was apparent. Why, did I never notice this with my son? I would cradle him in my arms loving the fact that he never wiggled to get away as his older sister had.


Thank you for accepting people as they are, was written to me as a thank you note from Special Olympics. This was a lovely way of expressing what we can do as parents. Accept what is, not what you wish it was.