Recently I had the immense privilege and honor to listen to the beautiful and heartbreaking song written in memory of Avonte Oquendo, by his uncle, Rocopera. Even over the telephone, it was apparent that the love he has for this child is immeasurable. The pain of this loss will never be healed.
“This song comes from a broken heart”
His heart IS broken – all of our hearts are broken. What happened to this beautiful child should never have happened. What happened is every parents’ nightmare. Those of us that have children with special needs know this fear all too well. We know that simple things like just putting your child on a school bus and sending him off to school can be terrifying. They are not with us, we are not in control, we are not there to protect and take care of them. As the mother of an adult child with autism, I know this fear. I live this fear. – We all live this fear.
Avonte’s disappearance drove that fear home for all of us. Avonte’s story is not something that happened to one boy or one family in New York – it happened to all of us in the Autism Community. A tragedy like this can happen anywhere – and it does happen everywhere.
“Never Will Forget You – A Tribute to Avonte Oquendo” was written not only as a memorial to the nephew he loved so deeply, but as a vehicle to raise awareness about Autism in general. Rocopera has spent the better part of his adult life advocating for/with the Autism community. His own son is on the Autism Spectrum.
In an effort to work through his pain, Rocopera has been spending much of his time writing and producing “Never Forget You”. He is also tirelessly working on and producing a documentary chronicling the events of that horrific 3 1/2 months. A memorial at the site is in the planning stages, pending the approval of Mayor De Blasio. Rockopera needs to raise awareness, he needs to know that Avonte will never be forgotten.
In an earlier post, I wrote:
As it has been said, Avonte, brought an entire city together. His disappearance brought an often, very separated Autism community together. It cast a spotlight on the problem of wandering/elopement of Autistic children and adults. He has raised awareness to the issues that many families face in trying to keep their children safe. Our children should be safe, at all costs…………. Avonte should have been safe in school.
– Avonte Oquendo should be memorialized, in any and every way possible.
“Never Will Forget You – A Tribute to Avonte Oquendo” will be released on iTunes 5 days before the October 4th anniversary of his disappearance, with all of the proceeds to be donated to credible Autism charities.
We will be posting more information about all of these projects in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, please help us spread the word about the release of this beautifully written and performed, tribute to Avonte.
I promise you that once you hear “Never Will Forget You”, you will never forget this haunting and so very moving song……………
……………………..as we will never forget Avonte.
Many Thanks to:
For re-blogging and re-posting –
Guest Post: Raising Awareness in the Face of Tragedy – #NeverWillForgetYou – By Gizelle Tolbert