What I’d Say

July 5, 2009 at 10:19 am 2 comments

I once had a dream that Jake could speak to me. This was six or seven years ago, only a couple of years after he was first diagnosed with autism. It’s funny, but it never occurred to me until just now, as I’m writing this, to wonder if in that dream he was no longer autistic or if he was just suddenly able to communicate but still had the other symptoms of autism. From the way he was behaving and talking to me, he didn’t seem to be very autistic

In my dream, I was beyond excited because I could finally ask Jake questions about all of the things that he had never been able to communicate with us in real life. At last I would get answers to the baffling, idiosyncratic, remote world of our baby boy!

I remember asking Jake questions about why he did this, or what it meant when he did that, and did he like this, that, and the other thing. And I asked him if he knew how very much he was loved.

The feeling of joy that I experienced during that dream is indescribable. I have never felt anything like it before or since. Not falling in love with and marrying Joe, finally becoming pregnant after 10 years of marriage, the births of my children, no accomplishment or experience has ever brought the same rapturous, all-encompassing bliss that I felt during that single dream. Even now, I can still feel that sense of rapture when I allow myself to remember that dream.

And when I woke up and realized that it was only a dream, the pain and heartbreak that I experienced was equally indescribable. To this day, I still can’t recall it without breaking down. I never want to have that dream again, because the agony upon waking and realizing that it was only a dream is too much to bear twice.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I would say to Jake if he were suddenly able to communicate with us verbally though. While I don’t want that dream ever again, I would take one day of being able to talk to Jake in a heartbeat, even if it meant that he would default to autistic the next day. The opportunity to talk with Jake, to get answers to all the questions that I’m left guessing at now, to learn more about how the world feels for him and how we can help him…hell yeah! Even if only for a day. It would totally be worth the pain of losing that again at the end of the day.

I would ask Jake why he screams so much. What is he trying to tell us, what does he want or need? I would ask him if there’s a way of communicating that might work for him that we haven’t thought of or tried yet. I would ask him what things bother him and why, could he help me understand what life feels like for him. I would ask him if there’s anything that he wants to do or activities that he’d like to try. I’d ask him if he’s ever been mistreated, either physically or emotionally…by a teacher, another student, a bus driver, a family member, anybody?

And I would ask him if he knows how very, very much he is loved.


Entry filed under: Jake.

Off To See The Wizard

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hansi Brittain  |  July 6, 2009 at 5:10 am

    I have tears in my eyes. Judy, you are so eloquent! We all want our kids to know how much they are loved, and it must be so hard to not be sure if they know.

  • 2. yujie  |  July 17, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I know your feelings well, but I still want to dream, dream for one day.
    I never had one like yours, but only one that my boy said one sentence very clearly, I immediately woke up…


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