This special single was created to build awareness around autism and the physical/emotional/spiritual toll it not only has on children, but on the forgotten parents, as well.
In 2008, a man named Mike Reibsamen wrote a letter requesting I write a blurb for the back jacket of his book, “I Wish My Kids Had Cancer.” The title, alone, shocked me. But, after reading the book, I was deeply, deeply shaken. I understood what Mike was implying and trying to convey. I learned about the world in which two extremely autistic children, who are dearly loved on a daily basis, leave their parents exhausted from the efforts of the parenting required. It was an explosive entrance into their world.
Mike wrote about his children with such brutal honesty and anguish, his voice exhausted, his feelings confused and angry. Here was a dad desperately seeking help for his beloved kids, while living on the edge. Without support services, without government funding, without a steady job. To provide an income for his family, spend time with his children, and still find quality, replenishing time with his faith-filled, patient wife, was a very, very tough read. Mike was grieving that cancer has many, many outlets of funding and emotional support, but autism can still “put people off”, it scares people, it is misunderstood.
Although Mike’s book is not every parents’ point of view, I decided to write a song from Mike’s point of view. To me, his situation was a universal cry for all parents, those long-suffering in their fatigue and feelings of isolation. Those standing solid in the shoes of love for their special needs children.
My wish has always been that people would download the song so Mike’s family would receive extra income from 100% of the sale. I hope the song can still bring awareness around autism and the physical/emotional/spiritual toll it not only has on children, but on the forgotten parents, as well.
Although I’ve been blessed as a music therapist to occasionally work with autistic children, I’ve only worked with those on the end of the spectrum who are mildly affected. Mike opened my eyes to how deep love can reach from a parent to their child, regardless of the severity of their condition.
If you’d like to support the Reibsamen family, purchase Mike’s book, “I Wish My Kid Had Cancer” or download the song, “State of Emergency.” You can also buy the cd, “Absence of Blame”, which contains a different version of the same song, and monies from that song will also go to the Reibsamen family. Thank you.