When I Read About Feda Almaliti

Even before my son Johnny was diagnosed my life has been all about autism. Trying to somehow figure it out so I could help my son.

At first it was asking questions, then it became looking for help, and now it’s fighting for him. Sometimes I forget that everyone doesn’t know about autism.

I forget because we live in a world where everything is catered to us. All my social media knows I talk a lot about autism. My ads are all supplements that are supposed to help my child, my “Who to Follow” are all other autism moms, and of course every time something pops up in the news relating to autism it’s in my Google newsfeed.

That’s how I found out about the death of Feda Almaliti.

Feda was a fierce mom and advocate who recently died on September 26th along with her autistic son, Muhammed. She woke up in the middle of the night to a house on fire.

Feda, her sister, Maysoon, and her niece, Anais made it out, but once Feda realized 15 year-old Muhammed didn’t make it out she ran right back in.

Feda had been her son’s advocate and many other children’s advocate for years. In 2009, she helped take on Kaiser for denying her son and other children services in a class action lawsuit, and won. She went on to fight for SB 946 to be passed in California which required insurance companies to cover autism treatments. She continued to fight for her community and never gave up on her son, not even in a burning house.

Like many people on the spectrum Muhammed froze in the chaos, and Feda could not get him downstairs and out of the house. She pleaded with her son, who she affectionately called “Hammudeh”. By the time firefighters reached them Feda was holding on tight to her son. They were taken to the hospital where they were both pronounced deceased. 

No doubt many mothers would have run back in that house, but I’m sure Feda did it without a second thought.

My Johnny is only five, but we are attached at the hip. He’s always near me. I have a feeling it was the same for Feda. The moment she made out of the house I’m sure she could feel it. Like a missing limb, her companion and best friend, was not there. 

Much like Muhammed I could imagine Johnny freezing in that house unwillingly to run down the stairs. The loud sounds, the sweltering heat, the swirling dark smoke all engulfing him. Now, at five I could run in to pick him up and carry him out. At 10, 12, or 15 I don’t know if that will be possible.

I can see and hear it even now as I type this, that poor mother pleading with her son, “Hammoudeh, come on we have to go, now, we have to get out now!” Pleading, then crying, then just holding him. Much like Feda and her Hammudeh, Johnny is not my son’s name, but It’s what I call him. It’s the name I would use to plead with him. To try and make him understand. To bring him to safety.

I had not heard of Feda Almaliti before this tragic news, but I love her. I love her for her fight and the amazing things she did, I love her for her love of her child, I love her because I understand her. Her life was also surrounded by autism. She too had to fight and is a mom and advocate I admire.

I hope I can be like her for my child. I know from the outside it may seem like she had a lot of choices at that moment, but I know she didn’t. She spent all of Muhammed’s life fighting for him and she wasn’t going to give up, even when it cost her life. 

Some of you reading this may have not had this story pop up in your daily news, but I did. I have been thinking about it nonstop since reading the articles.

I want to share about Feda Almaliti, because she was, and is important. She wanted people to help her son because he was, and is important.

By fighting for him she did amazing things for many autistic people.

Remember Feda.

Remember Muhammed.

Written by, Jaime Ramos

Jaime Ramos of Johnny’s Spirit is a tired, happy, sometimes overly sarcastic Momma from Colorado. She went to school for film making but is currently focusing on raising her two kids with her hubby, Isaac, as they all navigate the world of autism together. She loves writing, reading, watching a good movie, and playing with her dog, Aldo.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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