Singer Toni Braxton will release a memoir titled "Unbreak My Heart" on May 20, 2014. The book delves into the singer's decision to abandon her sisters and become a solo singer as well as being a parent to a son with autism. Below is an excerpt from the book.
"Autism wasn’t being discussed as much back then as it is now—and because I knew so little about it, I imagined the worst. I also started to go back through my mental files to see if I could connect Diezel’s autism with anything I’d done. I know it might sound outlandish to some people, but I actually blamed myself…
On the day I received the news, I went to the Flamingo to do my show that evening. My heart was so heavy that it felt like it was about to fall right out of my chest. I tried to do my usual warm-up—I’d often go out and say something to the audience, like “A funny thing happened to me on my way over here. I’d just gotten back from Mexico where there was a terrible hurricane, and my son asked me, ‘Mommy, did you go through the New Mexico or the old one?’ ” That’s the kind of lighthearted story I’d typically share. But on this night, something far more private and sensitive came spilling out. “I just found out my son has autism,” I said with tears filling my lower eyelids. A hush fell over the room. “I heard that right before this show.” I wasn’t so much feeling sorry for myself as I was lost about what to do next. I didn’t even know how to begin helping Diezel.
I got one answer the next afternoon. Overnight, word of my breakdown had already made its way to the press, and like an angel, Suzanne Wright—the cofounder of an advocacy organization called Autism Speaks—called me up directly. “This is not your fault,” she told me after revealing that her own grandson has autism. “It’s not your son’s fault either. There’s nothing wrong with our babies—they just learn differently. You just have to figure out the right programs to get him the help that he needs.” God sent Suzanne my way at exactly the right moment. During one of the most confusing and painful experiences I’ve ever survived, she assured me that I wasn’t alone—and that my beloved Diezel would be just fine. And in the following years, I would do everything in my power to ensure that he would."
From the book UNBREAK MY HEART Copyright 2014 by Toni Braxton. Reprinted by permission of It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.