Please, son, just say the word "MOM" And I'll become the happiest woman on Earth.
The poor mother, Maya, sobs into her pillow at night, dreams and prays to God only for this… But her son, 14-year-old George, continues to remain stubbornly silent, and communicates with her only in sign language…
"God, why would I do that?" – She sobs and wrings her hands to the sky... – "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!.." – She thought suddenly and asked God for forgiveness and tremblingly crossed herself. – Don't get me wrong, – She started to explain to me, as if justifying herself. – I don't grumble, and I don't complain… But you see, my son, he is everything to me, he is my joy, my life and breath… I don't have anyone else, he's the whole point of my life. But you see, as the Lord decided, he is already 14 years old, and he is a mere baby who cannot speak, and does not understand the word "no'…
Every day, every step I take depends on his mood and desires… Every night, I go to bed, and I can't sleep, thinking about what our "tomorrow" will be like. If the son woke up in a bad mood, the day will be ruined… Everything upsets him… Everything turns into violent fits, and I'm afraid to imagine what will happen if one day I can't control it…
I'm not so young myself, I'm 50, I'm sick and beaten by life… If something happened to me, how would he do without me?! We have no family left, and he is completely helpless in this vast, incomprehensible world…
– Maya, we're here to help you… Calm down, please, if you can explain what happened to you?
Maya: My son, George, has a severe form of autism, and he hasn't uttered a single word in his entire life. He communicates with me in sign language; he just points at the refrigerator with his hands if he wants to eat, or brings clothes if he wants to go outside.
He never dresses when he is at home, only recently, a therapist finally taught him to wear underwear… As a rule, he plays children's games, loves the ball very much, but he gets bored very quickly. She likes to watch videos on the mobile phone. He practically does not communicate with children, they are not interested in him, because he does not talk.
From time to time, he has attacks of aggression – the doctor told me that these attacks will continue for about three years, until the transition age passes. With a height of 180 and a weight of 80 kg, he resembles a child of preschool age by his behavior.
– Has your son been ill since birth?
Maya: I found out about the autistic spectrum too late. Apparently, George originally had some deviation, but as you know, a mother's love is blind. Only when my son was 2 years old, I discovered that he was reluctant to make contact, and did not respond when I called him. We went to the doctor, and he gave us a terrible verdict – a severe form of autism...
There are no words to describe my despair! I didn't know what to do, where to run… My husband and I lived in Sochi illegally and were very limited in funds, could not see a doctor. My husband suggested that I go home with my child to Georgia. He promised that he would take care of all expenses, earn money, and do everything possible and impossible, if only our boy was healthy.
But as soon as we set foot on Georgian soil, he was gone. I repeatedly tried to contact him, but imagine, he blocked us even in social networks, and from that moment never called and did not ask about the fate of his son… At that time, George was 6 years old.
– Maya, what prevented you from coming to Georgia immediately after your visit to the doctor and seeking medical help?
Maya: As I said, in Sochi, we lived without documents; we went to work there, and then we had very difficult times in our country… As soon as we made the decision to return to our homeland, I provoked the deportation. They did not give George to me – he was born in Russia and had Russian citizenship.
How hard it cost me to prove that he is my son... The red tape with documents took 4 years, no more, no less. When we arrived, I put George on the register, we were standing in line for all the free programs. You probably know how much a course of rehabilitation for such a mental disorder costs… We were refused admission to kindergarten, under the pretext that the parents of the children are against it, and see the danger in my son.
– And what treatment is prescribed, what do the doctors tell you?
Maya: Since scientists have recently identified the autistic spectrum as a separate form of mental disorder and started working in this particular direction, for me, my child's illness was unfamiliar and incomprehensible, I just did not know how to help him.
Such children need constant work with psychologists and therapists, from an early age… We didn't have the opportunity, or enough information, so I just had to wait…
And now, when George is 14 years old, we have been included in a free program, in the First Step development center, a behavioral therapist comes to us once a week, but in our situation, this is very, very little… There are too many people who need help.
– But it is possible to help him, isn't it?
Maya: As you know, all cases of autism are individual, doctors find it difficult to make predictions, but in any case, the situation can be improved, this requires constant, persistent training with specialists, and therefore a lot of time and money.
– What is the most difficult thing in raising a sick child?
Maya: In my case, everything is very difficult, you cannot imagine how much I had to go through… But the most difficult thing is that when George has fits of rage, hysteria, he screams, tears and throws, I am afraid that at some point I will not be able to cope, I will not be able to calm him down, and something terrible will happen… After all, he is already a healthy and strong guy.
– What advice do you want to give mothers in the same dire situation as yours?
Maya: The only thing I would like to advice is not to give in to despair… I had moments when I didn't want to live at all. But I pulled myself together, knowing that I was vital to my child, that without me, he would be lost… The word "Mother" already implies strength, both spiritual and physical. Believe me, these children need a strong mother a hundred times more than everyone else. Be strong and never lose heart!
– What do you need first at the moment?
Maya: It is very difficult for us both mentally and financially. If it weren't for my childhood friends, especially my close friend Katie, I think we would have been begging in the street a long time ago. Mother and her son live for a pension and social allowance. This amount does not even cover the cost of housing and utilities. And George needs medication and proper nutrition. He eats selectively; he likes sausages. He doesn't eat anything without them. And he loves sweet things. What shall I do? We exist only thanks to the help of friends and acquaintances. But how much can I ask them? But everyone has their own family, their own problems…
At the moment, our main problem is that my son and I both sleep on the floor. As I said, George weighs 80 kg. We slept on a folding sofa, which he just broke one day. Now I have to sleep on the floor…
– Maya you live with your son alone, I feel awkward, but I still would like to ask you to tell me how you met George's father.
Maya: There is nothing special to tell; I hate to talk about my ex-husband, he left me to fend for myself with a sick child… He just cut us out of his life.
I studied at the art school named after him. Toidze, wanted to become an artist, and he was a professional, selling his work in the park. Once I was walking there and got interested in his paintings. That was how we got acquainted. He said that he liked me at first sight. We didn't date for long, just for 2 months.
He already had a son from his first marriage, his wife left them, and he raised him with his mother-in-law. The child liked me very much, and he said: "Dad, I like this aunt." I was young and inexperienced; I buried my mother and left completely helpless; marriage seemed to be a solution to all problems, and my husband promised that he would become a reliable support. In addition, we both painted, we had common interests, there was love and mutual understanding. I can't imagine where all this could have gone overnight. How could he leave his own sick son…
– Is there anybody helping you? Parents or relatives?
Maya: I don't have any family left. My mother died 20 years ago, I was psychologically very dependent on her, I loved her madly; after her death, I felt completely helpless. 5 years ago, my beloved brother, Tamazi, who supported me in everything, died. After him, my father left; he couldn't stand so many blows, and had a stroke. I was completely alone...
My friend, Katie, helps me a lot. She's very close to me. She brings clothes and toys for George, and even when she is cooking dinner at home, she always brings us some food.
– Did you ever think that such a misfortune could happen to you?
Maya: I dreamed of graduating from College and becoming a real, professional artist; they said that I had a talent… But alas, my dreams were not destined to come true... I married for great love, my former husband, a romantic, creative nature, before we were married, he built sand castles for me, but everything crumbled to dust as soon as the trouble knocked on our family – the son's illness. He just got rid of me and the child, sending us to Georgia... And I believed him, loved him… The rascal! Why the ground doesn't open up and swallow him is a mystery. Lord, forgive me a sinner!.. – The unhappy mother said immediately through tears, and crossed herself several times.
– Did you ask someone for help? The local authorities, for example?
Maya: Yes, I applied of course, for the sake of my son's health, I would have fallen at the feet of the officials… Unfortunately, I was not able to include my son in any rehabilitation program. We weren't even accepted to kindergarten. Imagine, this is a child, not a fascist with a grenade… I didn't argue with the teachers, but it was God's will.
As for help, when the therapists finally started coming to us, I didn't have a desk or a chair. I wrote a letter to the parliamentarian, Irma Inashvili, for whom I voted, and she gave us a table, chairs and a TV. God grant her health!
– What do you believe in? What do you see as salvation?
Maya: Certainly I do! I am an Assyrian by nationality, it is believed that we are the first Christians! Unfortunately, George does not allow me to stand in the Church at the service, and I cannot leave him. But always, when we walk, go to the Temple, put candles, he kisses the icons and crosses himself… I try my best to teach him to love the Lord and all living things. When we walk, I explain that you cannot step on the flower, it is alive, it feels pain, and you know, he obeys me and does not touch it! I myself, every day when my son goes to bed, read prayers and light a candle… I pray that the Lord will perform a miracle and heal my son…
– Do you believe that strangers can be good to you?
Maya: I believe, we are alive until now only thanks to the kind hearts of friends and acquaintances. They are the ones who help me, support me financially and morally. Some would bring food, some would bring clothes, some would add money to pay for the apartment… After all, I actually have nothing to pay my debts with; I have no income, I can't work, first of all, because of my son. And now a new disease has been added, goiter! But I'm not up to myself, and I don't want to talk about it…
– Maya, please tell us about your son in more detail. What does he do all day, what does he like to do? What kind of toys, for example, or what kind of food does he like?
Maya: George loves outdoor games, watching cartoons and clips on his mobile phone. You know, he doesn't like modern cartoons, he watches "Well, Just You Wait!", and the one about a hedgehog… And also, his favorite, "The Ice Age".
But the greatest pleasure for him was water, when the pool was put in the yard, he did not want to return into the house at all. He was diving, swimming and laughing! I even noticed that he does not have attacks in the summer, the water calms him down and he feels happy, and of course I am with him.
My whole life depends on his mood. If he wakes up in a good mood, and I have everything set up, I have time to do everything around the house, for a moment, it even seems that everything is fine with us. But, God forbid, if he wakes up in a bad mood… This is the end of the world! Then he never gives me a moment's peace, and the worst thing is that I don't know what to expect!
He does not understand the word "no". It is impossible to explain to him why he cannot walk in bad weather, for example. "I want it, and that's all!" – And he won't let me rest when I refuse him, he's hysterical and destroys everything around him. But no matter how angry he was, he never laid a finger on me, apparently there is some line that he can't cross. He screams and stamps his feet, but then suddenly calms down, cries and hugs me.
Curfew, due to the pandemic, has become a real tragedy for us. George used to walk with me in the evenings. How could I explain him that we could not go outside after 21: 00? During these two months, the tantrums were daily... it was hell!
You know, he quickly gets bored with toys, the only thing that he will never get bored with is a ball. We were once given a massage ball, a big ball, it was his favorite toy, but it hit a sharp stone and burst, unfortunately.
As for the diet, George likes fried potatoes, rice, pasta, buckwheat... but! There must be some meat, or he will get hysterical. What can I buy? I buy sausages and give them one at a time…
And he is madly fond of sweets. After breakfast, I have to give him either a waffle or a candy. God forbid, I didn't buy it – another tantrum!
– If I understand you correctly, you are renting this apartment…
Maya: In the 90s, we lost our apartment due to a debt, everyone knows what those times were like… We stayed in the street… Now I rent this small room with a kitchen… You can see how shabby everything is. The only good thing is that we have hot water! George can't live without it!
You know, with his illness, people tend to get attached to one place. When we had to move, words can't describe what I went through… He just didn't sleep! He didn't go to bed, do you understand? What did it cost us to get used to living here… And now here's the trouble… We'll have to move out again, the landlady says. Where should we go? No one wants to let me in with a kid like that… I'm desperately looking for a place to live and I don't know where to go…
– Maya, can I ask what your income is, and where do you take money for living?
Maya: Social security allowance is 120 lari, and George's pension is 140, that's all our income. And for housing, we pay 400! God bless the good friends who lend me money for an indefinite period, Katie, if it wasn't for her, we would have gone around the world a long time ago…
– What is your most cherished dream?
Maya: My biggest and most cherished dream is to hear at least one word from my son! I don't dream of anything else, he's more precious to me than anything else in the world… My dearest and most beloved, I don't want to believe that he will never speak!
– What are in your opinion the things you need at home in the first place?
Maya: We really need a bed so that our son doesn't sleep on the floor… I get along with it somehow, but he'll catch a cold… And I would love to have a washing machine, he often gets his clothes dirty, and I wash them at night by hand, I can't leave him alone in the room, you never know what could happen... There is always no money for food or medicines… All with God's help… My son constantly chooses food, it is impossible to feed him what he does not want, then he will just starve. "Rispaksol" medicine that I give him costs about 40 lari per month… And what about the household equipment and amenities... we only have a TV, presented by the Deputy. Look around, in what conditions we live... Soon we will have to leave this place, maybe even go into the street…
– Why did you decide to contact us?
Maya: My friend Katie contacted you, I didn't even know about it, she does everything for us, tries her best to help. After your call, I looked at your Facebook page, saw the logo, and remembered that it was from your cars that products were distributed for free! What good people you are, helping so many families! And God bless you! We are so happy that you came to us, and of course we will be happy if someone wants to come to us and support us, even verbally!
Friends, we have no moral right to read this story and not help these poor people! Let's pray for Georgе and ask the Lord together so that the life of this boy and his mother would change for the better!
To survive, the family is in dire need of food, medicines, beds, bed linen and household appliances! Help them to survive, consider them as your own relatives.
Everything depends on God and our mercy. The family currently lives in Tbilisi. You can personally visit this family and provide assistance. Call Maya, find out about her needs, cheer her up, support her, tell her that she is not alone and that nobody will leave them alone in their trouble! It is very important.
Here is the address: 4 Kobi Lane, Military Town, Mukhiani District, Tbilisi. Tel.: 571 82 70 79
Dear friends, Chernovetskyi Fund initiates a charitable action: to help Maya Khirdaeva and her son. As you know, the Fund does not stop at one-time assistance. Georgians should live as the proudest nation on earth – Georgians!
And be sure to repost our publication. Let all your friends know about the grief of this family! It is very important.
God gives us the opportunity to take care of people who are not able to do it themselves.
Friends, there is one more request, if you know about the misfortune of a neighbor or friend, do a Charitable deed, write to us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the account of our Fund:
(purpose: Maya Khirdaeva).
You can also transfer money from our website.
You can as well transfer money from the terminals of Nova Technology, TBCpay and ExpressPay. Find our Fund in "Charity" section. (You can learn about the additional rights and obligations of the Fund by following the link https://goo.gl/GY2Gus).
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Together we have helped many miserable people! Let us support this mother with her sick son, as nobody is immune to an unhappy destiny! And, who knows, maybe one day we will also need help from strangers!