Lost My Best Cheerleader!

You may be aware that I’ve been distracted and less responsive this fall and especially since Christmas is around the corner I want to tell you why.  It’s because I lost the best cheerleader I`ve ever had in my entire life, my mom!

I found out about my mom’s passing at the exact moment that the movie “Temple Grandin, based on the life of Dr. Temple Grandin received the Emmys for the acting of Claire Dane and others and Temple grabbed the microphone on stage to ask her lovely mother, Eustacia, to stand up and be recognized.

My sister Susan was the one who called me to tell me that my mother had suddenly passed away from a stroke and I do believe I was in shock!  At that moment I realized that I will never have my moment of asking my mom to stand up and be recognized like Temple did, so maybe we can all ask Eustacia to be `the mom“ that stands up for the other moms that can’t be there.

The phone which was glued to my head went completely dead during this time of the Emmy’s and I completely forgot it was there as I was numb from the news.  It was almost like Mom was saying from Heaven, I want you to enjoy your friend, Temple Grandin`s fine moment in the spotlight as she hugged Claire Danes! Hugs are unusual for Temple. I also reflected that as an individual, the reason I do what I do is due to moms passion.

Mom would always tell me “Karen, you can do whatever you want to do as long as you set your mind to it”. It’s because of her that I pursue my work with relentless persistence never giving up no matter what gets in the way.  It was also very coincidental that this Emmy celebration was all about `What did your mother want you to be when you grew up’.  They would ask the stars that question and show the stories in little vignettes.

I still can`t believe she`s gone.  Mom was in everything that I do, she even drew some of the pictures in my first book, Little Rainman: Autism Through The Eyes of a Child.  She was truly my biggest cheerleader and fan and I feel her presence still there shining down from above as I write this blog.  To get a sense of my mom (and maybe even yours) I will share the poem I wrote for her…


She never knew a stranger, she always knew a friend

Her heart of gold she shared with you and presents she would send!

Every moment a story shared with love and passion true

By my side when I almost died, only to start my life anew

When mother said “now girls”, we knew we were in trouble

She’d holler out, “you kids clean up right now and on the double!”

She traveled the world from Hong Kong to Beirut, and with Bunny painted the town red

Operas, musicals, shopping, fancy clothes, always tasteful in what she did and said!

When she tried something really good, it was simply “the best she’d ever tasted”

And boy was she frugal you could always count on her for not a penny wasted!

An artist to her core, she’d say “oh, look at the trees and flowers”

She’d talk about her times and memories and we’d listen for many hours

She never knew a stranger, she always knew a friend

Her water colors are still filled with every color in the wind

Everything always had a place she’d say Karen “put it back where you found it”

Of course as kids when she said clean up, we’d say when we get around to it

She had a saying for everything like “I feel more like I do than I did”

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,   I hear her recite now in my head!

She always had her “face on” and was impeccably dressed

Perfection was her middle name and she always looked her best.

She was lovingness, please and thank you’s and her home was someplace special

Like a dream-world keeping things clean, “don’t put it down, put it up” all very beneficial

Somehow I never thought she’d leave us, and we’ll cherish her forever

She taught us all how to love and feel and was a mother like no other

Remembering her with wonderment like a connoisseur of dark chocolate

A real lady with all the class in the world, she’d want to be remembered like that!

She never knew a stranger, she always knew a friend

Her memory will live on in our souls, and over time our hearts will mend

Your essence will live on in our being and you will leave us…… never

We will all remember you Mitzi, love and butterfly kisses….. forever!

Before all this happened I had asked our Autism Today friends to submit articles to share with our readers.  We received an overwhelming amount of articles.  Then I had to fly to Alabama to tend to my mother’s affairs.  I don’t want anyone to think I dropped the ball or forgot about them as we still have all the articles ready to post to my site waiting on my computer and they are deeply appreciated so I want to thank each and every one of you that sent me articles for sending them.  Because of all that’s happened, we’ve decided to put them into the new website we are launching in November – December this year.  If you were one of the folks that submitted an article please watch for it on the new “launch” of Autism Today

Since I know so many of us are baby boomers and you may have lost someone very special in your heart recently as well.  To you I send my condolences.  Moms are everything, aren’t they?  They nurture us when we are sick, they love us and care for us unconditionally.  Temple’s birthday was on August 29th and my mother passed away on that very same day.   I will continue to do whatever it takes to bring her loving passion through me to the cause of autism related disorders.

Much love and warm wishes!  Have a happy holiday season.  Your loved ones would want it to be that way.


Karen Simmons

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