My son was kidnapped at shotpoint.
A twin left in his place.
A weaker body.
A shadow self.
He is a sweet, sadder child,
who tantrums and screams and rolls on the ground.
Who is scared. In pain.
Mourning who he used to be.
I can see this in his eyes.
He misses having a body that works.
And he misses his laser-fast brain
And chuckling at his own jokes.
He used to work the room
A little politician
Grinning at everyone he saw.
Playing tug of war with the dogs
Experimenting with the piano
Piano and dogs now, he leaves,
And when I spend too much
Love and dollars and time
to free him,
Am I forgetting
The one who is left
Who is still here
Who needs to just be
He needs me
to stop mourning,
He needs me to celebrate him
and I do, I do celebrate him.
If this is all he can ever be, it's enough, and I love him forever, still.
But how can I stop mourning, and how can I stop trying to rescue him,
When his struggles remind me of his missing self.
He is his own shadow.
Is his twin disappeared, forever?
Or is he still there?
Locked in a neuron forest in his own brain.
If he is gone forever, unsaveable, dead,
How do I know for sure?
If he is gone forever,
I need to move on.
I need to let go.
I need to embrace what IS.
But when I embrace what is,
And accept that this may be all he can be,
And let him roll aimlessly on the sand
And cancel therapy for today
putting the flashlight down for a while
who else will carry on the search?
He does something startling.
He's back for a moment.
A glimpse!--is that his twin, over there, hiding behind that last tree in the grove?
the tree I was too tired to walk to a moment ago?
Will we find him again
in the therapy I didn't try?
the supplement I forgot to give?
the new idea even I scoffed at?
what if we give up one moment too soon
the moment right before
we were about to find him?
Carolyn Coughlin lives near San Francisco and has worked in high tech for 15 years. Carolyn uses the analysis and science skills acquired to obtain her degree at Carnegie-Mellon to evaluate interventions for her child. This poem describes struggles from the time her son was about 14 months of age. Thankfully, he has responded well to many interventions and therapies, including DAN protocols, HappyTalkers, speech therapy, OT, AIT, Thoughtfulhouse, and neurofeedback. Now 7-1/2, he has his sense of humor back and asks why there is war. Yet, he still won't play with the dogs or touch the piano. His sensory issues prevented full success even in an amazingly supportive inclusion setting, so he is now in special classes. Educational, biomed and IVIG therapies are on the horizon. Contact Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.