I was listening to the radio this morning (I listen to a local Christian station called THE STAR 99.1). One of the dj’s, a woman was talking about her husband watching a you-tube video of a dad with a son who has Down Syndrome. The dad was saying over and over how his son is not broken. The dj and her husband are parents of a young girl with Down Syndrome.
The statement of “He’s not broken” referring to that dad’s son really hit me hard and had me almost in tears. I thought of my Thomas and do I think he’s “broken”? It makes me pause here, writing this. My answer would be that right now knowing what we know about Thomas, that he does have brain damage caused either in-utero or during birth (we’ll never know); no he is not “broken”. I didn’t always think that though.
When he was younger I did think he was broken. I went from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, in search of someone who could “fix” him. Searching for the right person with the right combination of either therapy or medications or both to make Thomas “right”. Little did I know that there was no fixing him. He was never broken. Just different. But different in a way no doctor could put their finger on until Thomas was 12 years old. When this prestigious, very expensive neurologist at Cornell University interviewed me for Thomas’ history and then thoroughly examined him; told us what we never expected to hear; Thomas was brain damaged. He wouldn’t get any worse but he wouldn’t get any better either. Imagine being punched in the stomach. That’s what it felt like to hear that after all those years of searching and hoping.
I used to think I’d give anything for Thomas to be like a “typical” child. But who am I wanting that for? Me or him? He only knows what it’s like to be Thomas. And if I were able to change who he is, who’s to say he’d be as wonderful of a person as he is now?
That word,”broken” really challenged me today. Really