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Remembering Dan – Six Months Later

Blue sand timerBy Cathy Jameson

The kids and I celebrate half birthdays.  We don’t do them up like we do a regular birthday but six months after a birthday, we commemorate the day with an extra hug and a half a gluten-free cookie or cupcake (or half a gf-granola bar if there are no desserts in the house).  It isn’t a major celebration but a fun one that reminds us to look how far that child’s come from their last birthday.  It gives us a chance to dream about how much more growing, learning, and living they’ll get to do before their next birthday comes around, too. 

When I glanced at the calendar this week, I remembered that almost six months has gone by.  We won’t be celebrating a half birthday this week, but we will remember something else.  It’ll be a day of reflection, not of treats, because something incredibly sad happened six months ago. 

We lost a writer. 

We lost an author. 

We lost a powerful voice. 

We lost a friend. 

Six months ago this week, we lost Dan Olmsted.  It’s been a short six months, but it’s also felt like a long six months.  We began to create a new routine without him.  We began the healing process.  We remembered, or are at least trying to remember, to keep going in a forward direction.  That’s been hard because there are so many more things I wanted to know from Dan, to read from him, and to ask him. 

He and I had been able to get together a few times, for which I’ll always be grateful, but with how busy life got for me, those meet ups weren’t often enough.  I’d always been able to send Dan a message though.  I’d email him when I’d read something of interest or when I needed to hear a word of encouragement.  I hate that I can’t send a quick email and get an even quicker reply back from him now.  He was always available to me, as he was to a lot of other parents, and never made me feel like I was a bother. 

Available, knowledgeable, and kind.  Dan was extremely good at what he did.  And I miss him so very much. 

Some days, I still can’t believe that he’s gone.  I know that a lot of us here still miss him so.  In promising to keep his memory alive, I wanted to share something that I’d written after friends and family had gathered to remember Dan, his life, and the work he’d done.  I’ve edited it a tad for today’s Sunday post:    

Paper crane
"The paper crane.....a compelling symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace."

March 18 – My daughter, Izzy, made this.  It's so simple yet so beautiful to me.  It's for Dan Olmsted, whose memorial service was today.  I asked Izzy if I could take a picture of her holding it when I got back from the funeral home.  She said yes.  She and my other children were just as saddened as my husband and I were when they learned of Dan's passing. 

I got to hear some wonderful stories of my friend and mentor at the service today.  As expected, there were tears.  But there was also laughter.  Oh, the laughter!  So many heartfelt memories were shared.  My favorite memories of Dan are of when he got to meet up with me and my kids.  I'd find a diner for us to meet because I didn't want too fancy of a restaurant in case my kids were loud.  Oftentimes, they were!  He didn't mind how silly and loud they were though.  He didn't mind how distracted and needy they'd get during the meal either.  Dan was patient, kind, attentive, and happy.  He smiled at their silliness and showed them only love.  The kids smiled at Dan and loved him right back. 

After the service ended today, I told Dan's family thank you for sharing him with us.  I told them that he gave me hope.  He gave me courage.  More than that, he gave me a platform to share our family's story.  Other news sources try to silence parents like me, but not Dan.  He welcomed my voice.  I love that my pieces followed his Saturday column.  His posts were always insightful and so very well written.  Saturdays won't be the same since without his contribution. 

Dan meant the world to me and always will.  I know he meant the world to a lot of people.  He took the lead on topics no other journalist would.  He encouraged others of us to do the same.  I'm so grateful to have had the chance to know him, to work with him, and to now honor him. 

Dan, you were a kind and beautiful soul.  Never far from my thoughts, you will remain in my heart forever.  Peace, my friend.  Peace always and forever.

xo, Cat 

--

Some people say that time heals all wounds.  I don’t think any amount of time can ease or erase all of the sadness one feels when they lose a friend.  For those who may still be mourning, my prayers are with you.  May we one day find comfort.  In the meantime, let us never forget how courageous Dan was.  He lent his knowledge when he didn’t have to.  He spoke up when he didn’t have to.  He gave us his time when he didn’t have to.  I wish I had had more of it, but I’ll always be grateful for the time Dan gave to me.      

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1YxczPEPrs

Comments

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Randy

Been away from AoA for a while, trying to say sane, coming back this week to check in and catch up, and reading about Dan. OMG.

So many poignant comments here and elsewhere. In the original AoA announcement back in January. an Anonymous poster left a "requiem for autism" that stopped me in my tracks. Not sure what more could be said.

Thank you taking the high road Dan, may you now rest in peace....

WhenWillItEnd KylesMom

Dan, out there somewhere, without Age of Autism, we would be so lost. You gave so much of your short life to our children, to our families, to future children not even yet conceived.

Benedetta

Ohhh, he could write,

ldb

Dan was my light, my hope, my insight to the world of autism, that should have been corrected by the CDC & Pharma. He said he would be there for the long run, the long haul for truth and justice. That was about 18 years ago when I email him when he was still a Science Editor looking into the history and a cause. He will always have a place in my heart.

Anne McELroy Dachel

I miss Dan every day....He was my mentor and my sounding board. Most of all, he was my dear friend.

go Trump

The Autism epidemic is not really about Autism.

It is about the international need to maintain the “money, power, fraud and corruption structure” that has ruled the world for a few hundred years.

The truth about many things is no longer an option in this country, They will not be satisfied until they can go “door to door” with mandated vaccines and destroy whoever they want.

The free press, the only industry named in the Constitution, is completely gone. Not much better than North Korea at present...

Dan Olmsted did not have an affected child in the game, but he took the lead while nearly all of us were still completely in the dark.

Linda1

Beautiful tribute. Dan knew what was important.

Laura Hayes

"More than that, he gave me a platform to share our family's story."

In addition to his own dogged research into the "Age of Autism", a well-coined term for this time in history during which a modern and horrific plague is inflicted on the children of the world, this creating and supporting a platform for the truth was definitely one of his most important contributions, and one that thankfully lives on.

Thank you, Dan, for digging into, and digging up, the sordid truth of what was done to our children, which unbelievably and tragically continues today, and for caring enough to help us make it public each and every day.

Holly Riley

My son was diagnosed in May of 2005-the same month Dan's original Age of Autism articles for UPI were published. When I read his piece on the Amish I was struck by his remarkable journalism, and I emailed him to thank him for his work. He replied and our connection began. Over the years I was fortunate to share a meal with him and hear him speak at our local TACA chapter. He was so touched to watch a short video of my son thanking him for his work. He was a man with a huge heart and a bright mind. Just the other day I was talking with my son about how much I miss reading his weekly recap on AoA. He's not with us anymore, but his life's work has made a difference for so many families like ours, and his writing will endure.

Sarah L'Heureux

He didn't know me, but I knew him. I read everything he wrote: books, articles, editorials, which both enraged and comforted me. He was a man who was not the father of an autistic child, but who somehow parented us all. He connected the dots and wrote the stories that made me see what had happened; made me feel sane again. And I miss him, Dan Olmsted, my hero. I miss him very much.

Teresa  Conrick

Cat,

This is beautiful and so true. I miss him, too, every day. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

xo,

Teresa

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