Keeping with the theme of my week, I want to talk about one of the most inspiration people I am so fortunate to have in my life.
“If you judge a fish by its inability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.”
All my life, I have been lucky enough to know Richard. He is my big brother and to me he is perfect. He has severe learning difficulties and is quite high on the autistic spectrum but, he’s just my big brother.
I come from a massive family, in total I have 6 brothers and 3 sisters. All of them mean a lot to me and all of them are incredible. I’m probably baby number 6 with Richard being 4th. The only person between us is my elder sister Sam. Three of them have been diagnosed somewhere on the spectrum so as you can imagine, some days are harder than others. But they wouldn’t let you believe that.
My big brother has looked out for me, my entire life. Exactly like a “normal” big brother would. If, when we all went out and my little legs would stray behind, Richard would always tell everyone to stop and wait for me. He wouldn’t let them forget me and still to this day, if I stray behind with Luna, and Richard is with us, you can bet as much money that you want, that Richard would be right behind me.
Whenever I had nightmares as a child, I could pull up our little chair bed onto his floor and sleep there to which he would never complain. He would always make sure that I had a quilt and the light was on so that I didn’t get scared.
Part of the reason we have such a big family, is because my mum wanted to make sure that when she was no longer here (which I hope is a very long time) he always had people looking out for him. My mum doesn’t want him to ever have to be put in a home as we have grown up with him and know how to handle him. If you were to ask him if he wanted to go into a home with other people like him, he’d always say “no, stay with mum”.
My mum was told that because of his disability, he wouldn’t talk or read. That he wouldn’t be able to communicate and tell us what was wrong or what he wanted. Well let me tell you, he talks, he reads; he does everything an able person can do. He cooks, he cleans, he does everything that I can do and probably so much more. He is a whiz on his xbox and loves reading all about Japan and Anime. He is forever bringing his laptop downstairs to show mum the latest news from Japan and half the time she has no idea what’s going on but Richard does.
The tragic events of Sandy Hook Elementary was a horrible time for everyone and my hearts go out to everyone affected by that day. But I will remember my big brother, coming downstairs and reading the TV so clearly and correctly that, me, mum and dad sat there in awe. This was a guy that was told he wouldn’t talk or read and here he was, speaking aloud the words he could read on the screen. Words that were filled with so much pain and emotion but that made me so proud because he amazed me. He still does, each and every day.
He pushes every boundary. He smashes every milestone. He is the greatest. He doesn’t live behind a disability, because he does things that many can’t. He is one of the greatest people to look up to because he is by fair the most innocent and pure human I know. He doesn’t cause people pain or anger. He doesn’t hurt or manipulate people. He is kind, funny, warm and loving. He is humble and thankful each and every day. He is the definition of a true treasure.
“Autism is not a puzzle, nor a disease. Autism is a challenge, but certainly not a devastating one.”
Richard may be autistic. But that isn’t who he is. Who he is, will always be way more than a diagnosis and be more than I could ever be. It doesn’t define him. It may have shaped how his brain works, but he is far more intelligent than I could ever be.
I love my big brother, and I reckon if you met him, you’d love him too. So thank you Richard. 💋🖤