In my mind’s eye, I see my little boy standing in a shower stall of sorts – this strange chamber where he is trapped behind a hazy glass barrier. I can see his silhouette and he can see mine. Both of us are fine in the sense that we are breathing freely and are not dying….yet, somehow, I simply cannot access my son…any longer.
I dream repeatedly of figuring out a way to free my son from his silence. I study various historical cases where others have escaped; I obsess over his every move and the events surrounding the fateful moment when he slipped inside this locked chamber of fog. I analyze the data – the flat facts that leap out from his medical record. I plot developmental milestones, illnesses, prescription drugs, growth charts, vaccines, symptoms, targets and gaps. The trend emerges…and hits me like a ton of bricks. I know what happened to my son! I know how he became trapped inside of autism!
The following is an excerpt, of sorts, from one of my many dreams about my son and his complex dilemma. It describes events that unfold in a dream as I confronted the barrier of autism that separates me from my little boy.
I start knocking on the glass wall.
“Bug-a-loo! It’s Mommy! Can you hear me?”
There is no response.
“Sweetheart, can you look at my eyes, so that I know you are ok???”
A fleeting glance sweeps past in a split second, then he continues playing with his handheld game. Still, it is enough to fuel my hope! He IS in there. He hears me!
“Honey, I know you can hear me. I want you to know that I love you, and I am coming in there. Mommy and Daddy are going to get you out of there. Stand by, ok, baby? Don’t be afraid.”
I get a running start, slam myself against the glass, and knock myself out instantly. After coming to, I realize that he is standing with his little cheek pressed against the glass, staring at me. I leap to my feet and run to the glass. He wanders off, as if queued to retreat somehow. I knock frantically on the glass again and yell to him that I am okay and to wait for me – I am going to get help. I find one specialist after another who swears they can help free him, and one-by-one they try. With their help, we make cracks in the glass, but it does not break. Finally, I begin to beg, “Please, God, have mercy on my baby. Please hear this prayer! Let my son have my voice. I have said everything I have to say and now I am ready to trade my voice for his silence. Please, God, give him my voice. Please free him!”
I work myself into a tizzy, trying to negotiate with God. In my desperation, I look for a bat to beat down the glass.
“If no one can help me get past the barrier, by God, I’m going to shatter it myself!”
I start to raise the bat as high as I can. I call to my son to step away from the glass and to turn his back in case of flying shards. He slowly turns away and continues to play his game. I take aim; something suddenly blocks my swing and holds my bat still in mid-air. I spin around furious and frustrated. In that same moment, I hear behind me,
“Tink! Tink! Tink-tink-tink-shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”
My head is spinning just processing the overwhelming and unusual sound! I suddenly realize that something prevented me from shattering the glass with my bat, yet the glass has fallen! In tears, I rush in and snatch up my little boy. Finally, he is free!!! As I turn to run with my son in my arms, my eyes begin to focus through uncontrollable tears. I suddenly recognize with whom I am standing face-to-face: I am looking into the eyes of my dear friend and am standing before the face of Jesus. The reality of the situation hits me:
“By God’s hand, not by mine, my son has been freed! By His will, not by mine, my child’s silence is broken!”
I fall to my knees, humbled and gracious, vowing to never take a single moment for granted and promising to tell others what has occurred to allow my son to be free.
The above is not only a scene from my dreams, it is my daily prayer…that God simply intervenes and takes my son, and all those who are trapped by autism, into His arms and heals them completely; that no more families have to experience this incredibly complex journey; that with God’s help, we can forever UNLOCK AUTISM.
by Vicki Sotack, Cincinnati, OH, USA