What is merely a nightmare to me is truth to another.
Nearly one year ago Patti Saylor drove to a local movie theater to help her son, Ethan, get a new movie ticket or convince him it was time to come home, and by the time she arrived he lay dead on the theater floor.
I do not know Patti Saylor and I never knew Ethan.
I love someone who also could have died in that situation.
In my mind I have seen Ethan’s face lock as he tries to process the words of the strangers that approach him. I see him panic into belligerence and fight; I can see his confusion at their responses to him. His mother is coming, where is she? I hear him think.
All of this, time and again, has played in my mind with the tears that accompany these thoughts and the center of my gut becomes at once hollow and yet full from sadness, fear, helplessness…for the life of this young man I did not know.
I can only imagine how often Ethan’s mother has relived these moments. Still missing answers. Still asking for justice.
As I write this, my Christmas tree warms the family room with its glow. I think about the Saylor’s first Christmas without Ethan. I think of what Christmas would be like without Marcus.
The world would be empty without Marcus. Well, mine anyway.
The “Down Syndrome Community” beat pots and kettles, took to the online streets, and joined the Saylor’s cry for answers and justice. My meager offerings have been my pencil and a few words to the clamor. A small blip in the web-o-sphere.
The sheriff of Frederick County and the Maryland Governor, both with the power and responsibility to provide the answers that only an independent investigation could, have denied the call for uncovering the truth in a timely manner. So the Saylor family has taken the final available course and filed suit. What a painful way to dig to the truth.
And so it is with a heavy heart that this week I concede to the world that has mercilessly continued its rotation even for the Saylor family, without their Ethan. And without their answers.
January 9th is Ethan Saylor’s birthday.
He would have been 27 years old. I choose this day to change my “avatar” because I want to recognize his life. Still and ever if there is anything that this pencil and this voice can do for this family that I have not yet met, I will answer their call.
I tell you this now because on January 9th we will not wallow in fear and sorrow, we will celebrate the life of Ethan Saylor and all of the people we love with Down syndrome.
Patti Saylor asks us all to, “Take a minute and think of Ethan and what his legacy will be.”