What was supposed to be a day at the park with my son ended up to be the day that would change the course of so many lives, some for the worst, and some for the better. Instead of giving him a bath before bed I was watching him fight for his life. As the years unfolded I discovered the true meaning of love, faith, struggle, fear, and most of all hope. I had a front row seat to watch life's unpredictability, a crash course in the delicacy life holds for all of us. Out of tragedy the perfect person was reborn. A person who only knew how to truly enjoy life and what it had to offer good or bad. There was no agenda, no hate, no greed, or dishonesty; just love. This story is about the journey my son took us on. Only a person with a pure heart can carry those who hold money and power over humanity. It is a story of a boy, who was able to make a difference without money, fame or social media. He made a difference with his ability to bring people together, to overcome adversity and political abuse. Abuse that unfortunately exists in a corrupt system that we are all a part of. It is a journey of love, lies, deception and triumph. Through this journey this book was born.
WHAT I BELIEVED to be my conception of the justice system from my childhood to my adulthood was a lesson to be learned not only for myself but for my entire family. I believed the system was to be there for families in their times of need, but it was a far cry from the reality. There are too many victims of many different crimes: murder, greed, elder abuse, disabled abuse, and child abuse. It is these poor defenseless victims who suffer most, not the criminals. The real lesson to be learned is how well we deal with the challenges and obstacles that cross our path, and how we allow them to affect our lives. They can be looked at as negative, or we can take the bull by the horns and move forward in a positive way, refusing to allow the persons involved to walk away without punishment or consequences; we can receive justice for our loved ones. I wish I could say my experiences that involved my son's life in the system were all positive, but they were not. The truth is, it was hell and back with much pain and suffering and a tremendous amount of grief. My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your degrees, your instructions were more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver. (Psalm 119:71–72) Many times through my life, I asked myself, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I still have no answer. The reality is there is no answer, at least not the one I am looking for. I wrote this book as a way to reach out to the many families who have children in the system with mental and physical disabilities. They need to move forward no matter how hard the system tries to buck them. They must not fail their loved ones, who are exposed and victimized by the very system that is there to protect them. They need to be a major part of the fight to protect our disabled. This is why I needed to write this book: our love ones need our voices! When the system knows you are fighting for the rights of your loved ones, it will keep them on alert. Remember that strength comes in numbers. I must defend my son and continue on my commitment to not let him down. This book is not a book about hate or revenge. It is a story about the reality of a fallen system. Here is a glimpse into some events that led to my family being involved with the system and the many challenges and obstacles we have experienced on this journey. My wish is to have my son's story appreciated, and hopefully it will have an impact. Show me the right path, Oh Lord; Point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:4- 5) IT WAS 1964 when I met the love of my life. He was twenty-four, and I was seventeen. I enjoyed spending many of my summers going to my favorite theme park, Coney Island. I loved the rides and the freedom of going to the nearby beach with my friends. There was an arcade near the park, and I often hung around there. This was where my first love and I met. He was quite handsome with black hair and beautiful deep brown eyes. It was love at first sight for the both of us. When my siblings found out about our relationship, they were not happy about it because he was older than me and of Spanish descent, but I continued to see him anyway. It wasn't long after that I found out I was pregnant. AT EIGHTEEN I gave birth to a son, whom I named Daniel. What a beautiful gift! He was seven pounds, five ounces of pure love and joy. I was thankful to God for pulling me through. My family was still not happy with me having a child with my love. Back in the 1960s, there were people who had their opinions and prejudices, and unfortunately it is still going on today. My best friend Carole being gay knew all about these people, and not having their stamp of approval. After my son's birth, I was going through hard times following When I turned back around, Daniel was gone. I frantically searched for my boy at the sprinkler. Behind the wall of the sprinkler, my eyes zoomed everywhere. I panicked and looked toward the entrance of the park. There was a group of people standing there in a circle. Out of the circle was one woman screaming, "Does anyone here have little boy with a white tee shirt, blue shorts, and white shoes?" That comment was followed by her screaming-he was struck down by a car. I can still hear her to this very day David replied, "I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live." But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22–23)
Danielle was born in Brooklyn, NY, also the town where the famous Saturday Night Fever was filmed. She was the youngest of eleven children. She went on to have two amazing children and devoted her life to being a caregiver.