Last night, or more accurately just now at 4 am, I had a dream that my daughter Lily said: ”Love it!” Not “Love you”, which I have not heard for many years, but “Love it!”. In the dream, she was riding in the rear seat of a van and sort of reclining, sort of relaxed; there was talking around her. I do not remember what she was referring to except that saying “Love it!” would have been an appropriate response to the conversation.
This might seem inconsequential to most people, that their children spoke in a dream; but, for me, it is very unusual to dream about Lily in any other state except panic. Usually I wake up at 4 am with heart beating fast and it is all I can do to stop myself from calling her house to be sure that she is alright or calling the police to rush over to see if she is being abused; nightmare stuff. So this speaking in the night is quite unusual. When your child is an adult who has autism and lost her speech at the age of two, you tend to forget, even in your dreams, that speech is a possibility.
I think the dream comes from an article I read in the newspaper yesterday about the family of a young man who wakes from a vegetative state when he is given the sleeping pill Ambien. Paradoxical responses like this in a small number of similar patients has given hope to loved ones that they might hear “I love you” once again. In the article, the son quite clearly demonstrates his awareness of his immediate surroundings, has a sense of humor, and shows his love for his mother.
As I was reading this I thought “Why don’t they try this with people like Lily?” One little ray of hope for a family in a newspaper article and my heart has hope again that one day, somewhere, and probably by accident, someone will find a remedy, a pill, a breakthrough that will help Lily speak again. I know that there are words in there, in her head, and some day she will be able to let those words out.
There are many avenues of research and, thankfully, more money is going into research for autism every day. I’m not sure they are awarding the money to the right projects; but, in the United States, throwing enormous amounts of money indiscriminately at a problem is the way things are done and while they are looking at genes or documenting that anti-anxiety medication sometimes helps and sometimes doesn’t, by chance they will find some substance that will work.
Then, maybe the dream will come true; if not for me, for a mom like me, who has been waiting maybe not so patiently for the world to see what she sees: a perfect person trapped inside a body that does not perform perfectly at all. We will all say “Love it!” when that happens.