Friday, February 27, 2009


This is my brother Jonathan

Wait, this is my brother Jonathan

Jonathan is my older brother, he has Autism. He has never done a bad thing in his life.

We grew up together and he was my buddy for the first few years of my life, until my little brother Daniel was born. Jonathan and I had a connection, I remember, it was like some kind of understanding from the premortial world. I say I remember because it has somehow been broken. I am not sure when exactly that it was broken, but it was. I can hardly reach him right now.

He seemed normal for the first few years of his life.

Then, he was diagnosed with Autism, and put on a medication called dilantin. My mom has her theory on why he has Autism. She thinks it's because the doctor used forceps when he was born. I have a different theory, it has to do with immunizations and food. I will explain that a bit later (though you might already be familiar with the argument).

Jonathan... used to be my young buddy.

But each year I have lost a little more of him. They brought him to a different school (out of necessity).

We lived in the same house and our paths crossed.

But each year, somehow his soul has seemed to be retreating into this strange shell that I cannot reach.

His life has not been particularly sad.

He Participated in the Special Olympics

He has had "Best Buddies," a program through the school/state that took him to dances and the movies. In fact he had more dates then I have ever had. He has also graduated from High School. He's gotten far for the problem that he has.

My Grandmother took extra special care of him. She watched him often, he would sleep over and she would play games with him. Her and Grandpa used to bring him out to eat as well.

I used to be jealous of it, but now I know better. He has those good memories, they made his life more full.

Now he works at the movie theater by my parents house and this is partly what prompted this post. I see him sometimes when I am driving around. He always has this vacant expression on his face, it's really disturbing. I call out to him and he doesn't hear. I saw him on Monday, I had a little leap of joyful recognition. He was standing at the light waiting for it to change. I was parked at the light, he was coming my way. I saw him and as I said I recognized him, in that same instant I knew he would not recognize me. I futally lowered my window and called out to him anyway, nothing.

Right now he is on medication for anxiety, he has had to take it before, quite a few years ago. Perhaps it was 10 years or so. He overdosed on them because he has no sense. The bottle was in the cupboard and he took one, then didn't feel less anxious so he took another... until he had finished the whole bottle. I found him, he was like a zombie. I found the bottle empty on the counter and called my mom. She took him to the hospital and they pumped his stomach. Then put charcoal in it to absorb the rest of the medication. When he got home he retired to his room and kept throwing up the charcoal. I went down to see him and found that he had picked up his matress and was trying to stuff it in the washing machine, it was strange. He wouldn't be reasoned with until my mom came and took him away.

Two years ago, Nov. 12th 2006. I was in labor with my youngest daughter. It started at 4 am then stopped and the contractions were never reglular all day. So I waited until my parents were to get out of church. I called up to their house and my brother picked up the phone. I said, "Jono (his nickname) is mom there?" His reply "D, d, d, dddd" (on a sliding tonal scale). I'm like, "Jono, IS MOM THERE?" "D, D, ddddd." So I say "Give the phone to Mom," "D, dddd." "Where are you at?" "P, pppp." Then he started alternating letters. So I told my kids to pack their stuff and my husband to get ready and we went up to my parents. My mom met us in the driveway "There's something wrong with Jonathan." I said "I know, I tried to call." He was continuing to utter nonsical letters. My dad was having a futile conversation with him "What's wrong?" "D, dd, B, bb, Ab, dd," "Are you hurt?" "P, p, pp. K kkkk." My dad started joking around, and copying the letters back. Jonathan started laughing. I wanted to smack my dad. They took him over to the hospital emergency room, the doctors couldn't make heads or tails of it and were going to start a whole bunch of tests. I came over about an hour later in the last painful stages of natural labor (hypnobirthing, it was an interesting experience, I will totally do it again)(ok - small speal for hypnobirthing, I didn't have hardly any pain until the end and then it was over before I knew it and I got right up afterward and felt terrific). My mom came in to be with me and she gave me an update. As soon as Jono drank some water he started to calm down, and talk normally again. He had been dehydrated because he didn't want to drink water, because then he would have to go on a bathroom break at work, illogical. Not long after that incident he lost his temper several times and even smashed my mom into the wall. Now he is on anxiety med's again. He really is not all there. It is hard to get more than hello out of him.

Now here is my rant. I have been awoken from a foggy world. Where I had high anxiety, where I couldn't think clearly. Where I was depressed all of the time and everything was different then it is now for me. It was food, I changed my food!! Gluten and other food allergies held me in that world.

As for Jonathan, my greatest wish is that he could eat clean food. No refined food and no gluten. Plus have allergy testing done. He asked me about it, soooo, I think he want's an explanation and an alternative. I hope he can have it some day.

~Strawberry Girl


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Strawberry Girl......hou did you get so smart and knowing at such a young age?
I think this is an amazing post that is sure to help other's and touch hearts, as it did mine :)
Take good care and.......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Finding Pam said...

Thank you for sharing that awesome story about you brother and your family. That must be so hard when you know the answers and they don't want to ask the questions.

Food, clearly does affect us in so many different ways. I hope that this touches others as it did me.


Strawberry Girl said...

Thanks to both of you!!

hint said...

I'm really touched by the genuineness with which you share your relationship with your brother. My niece has autism, but I have my own childhood of growing up with family members that have a special need. So I really connected with that expression of loss between having and not having a relationship with this human being in your life. Thanks so much for checking out my blog and pointing the way to Strawberry Girl.

I loved this book and it changed the way I have looked at myself in the world and healed a silent voice inside of me: The Normal One by Jeanne Safer

P.S. Really love your quote from Anne of Green Gables!!