Like so many others, I am still reeling over the news of Ryan’s death. Mary Ellen is a dear online friend and a member of my quilting group. I’d heard so much about Ryan over the years that I really felt as if I knew him. The passage about Ryan in Alice Gunther’s Haystack Full of Needles is, in my opinion, the most moving part of an incredibly moving book.
I remember when my friend Mary Ellen first took her children out of school, including her autistic son, Ryan. One afternoon, as we stood chatting in my backyard after a lively gathering, she looked over at her son playing ball with the other boys and smiled. “You know,” she said, “all the special education in the world cannot match coming here and just being one of the guys.”
I know those other children are missing Ryan now, and my heart grieves for the Barrett family and all their Long Island friends.