Hard to imagine this happening. The parents did everything right, yet the thought of what would happen to their adult children with IDD once they were gone was unbearable. It's a tough read from The New York Times Magazine.
On the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend in 2014, an 82-year-old man named Frank Stack hobbled out of his house in Elmhurst, Ill., a quiet suburb of Chicago, and drove 15 minutes northwest to the group home where his 48-year-old son, Francis, lived with five other men with developmental disabilities. David Clark, the supervisor on duty, knew the whole family well and was friendly with Stack. ‘‘You’re here on Saturday,’’ Clark said, surprised. Stack normally took his son home for dinner on Sundays. ‘‘Mom wants to see Slugger,’’ Stack said. It was a holiday weekend, so a change in plans was no big deal. Stack promised to have his son back by 5.
About an hour later, Stack arrived at the group home in Woodridge where his oldest daughter, Mary, lived. Mary, 57, was also severely developmentally disabled. Stack told the staff there that he’d come for Mary because her mother, Joan, was very sick and wanted to see her. Joan, also 82, had been living under the care of home hospice aides and was bedridden with severe arthritis.
Stack brought his children back to the small, well-kept bungalow at 610 S. Chatham Avenue where they’d been raised alongside two nondisabled sisters, Gloria and Barbara. Raising Mary and Francis, whom most people referred to as Frankie, had been a challenge for the entire household. Both had diagnoses of profound intellectual disability, with I.Q.s listed in various court records as somewhere between 7 and 45, but most likely no higher than 20. Frankie was nonverbal, prone to seizures and couldn’t use the bathroom by himself; Mary could say a few words but also required near-constant care and help with dressing, eating and most of the basic tasks of life. Frank and Joan looked after them at home until the late ’90s, when declining health made it impossible to provide the hands-on, full-time care Frankie and Mary required.