Gertrude “Trudy” Steuernagel was the mother of Sky Walker. In case the story is unknown to you, it is one of tragedy. It appears that Sky Walker beat his mother, killing her. Sky Walker is autistic and quite disabled. He is also aggressive and quite strong.
He also loves his mother, and his mother loved him very deeply.
It is an important story within the autism community. One which is difficult for me to write about. This is especially so since many people seem to want to speak for Prof. Steuernage and/or her son and I don’t know how to write this without doing the same. So, with apologies to the Kent State newspaper, from where I lifted these articles in their entirety, I would like to present her own words. Should the request, will pull this post.
Here is a letter she sent to the Kent State newspaper about her son, Sky and his perseverations:
My son’s trail of sparkles
Here is an article she wrote about how Kent State’s hiring practices discriminated against the disabled.
Another about what a conversation with her son would be like.
Just a conversation
What I wouldn’t give for a conversation with my son. I don’t mean “the” conversation as in the birds and bees talk, but a conversation. My son has autism and he and I have never had a conversation. I keep waiting for that day. In the early days, right after his diagnosis, I was sure it would happen. Now, as Sky has celebrated his 17th birthday, I’m not so sure that will happen. So now I plan, just in case.
Here is a letter she wrote, pushing Kent State to give domestic partner benefits to employees. It isn’t about autism. but I appreciated the sentiment.
Her nephew put together a slide show which I think is worth watching. It is mostly (about 3/4) about her before Sky, but has a number of photos of her with Sky.
In writing this piece I am in no way saying Prof. Steuernagel would have agreed with any or all the positions taken on this blog. But, if I could I would share one of my favorite posts with her, one about trucks.
Finally, here is a letter that she wrote. This letter was found in her personal affects after her death.
“To whom it may concern:
This letter, or more specifically the stories about this letter, are what prompted me to finally write about this story. In the introduction to the article linked above, they only quote the first line:
“If this letter has been opened and is being read, it is because I have been seriously injured or killed by my son, Sky Walker.”
They save the entire letter for the end of the story. I have read about this letter in other places where they only gave the first line of the letter. To me, cutting out that one line is being used to tell a very different story than what I believe Prof. Steuernagel intended with her letter. I’ll let you decide for yourself.
I wish Sky Walker and his extended family well through these very tough times. I wish Sky Walker peace.
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