Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Conversations with Joaquin: Death

We’re looking out Joaquin’s window to the house across the street. For a few days Joaquin has been talking about wanting to go under Mike and Ann’s bushes, and we’re talking about him having to ask permission from them, and they may not understand what he means by “can I please go under your bushes”, and after he explains, then they might say yes or no, blah blah blah, when suddenly the conversation turns to this:

J (noticing the steeply inclined roof out his bedroom window): If you go in there, you may fall.
M: I think it’s very likely that you will fall if you go on the roof.
J: You would hurt yourself (fakes cry).
M: You may more than hurt yourself. (short hesitation to talk about death)… You may actually never wake up.
J: You may actually never wake up…
M: Nope!… Your body would be ruined. It wouldn’t work any more.
J: You need your body!
M (touching his face, head, and arms and legs) Yeah! You need your body to live.
J: There would be no more Joaquin.
M: No… And I would be sad (suddenly realizing that I don’t really know what my reaction might be; I’m really into the Work right now).
Joaquin articulates something that sounds to me like the following statement I restate for him:
M: Yes. If you didn’t want Joaquin to live any more you could go on the roof. (I suddenly feel a ting of fear about the place where this conversation has taken us, and the information he has just received.)
M: Please don’t go on the roof.
J: You could go in Mike and Ann’s house
M: Maybe. I don’t really know. It would not be with your body.
J: You could (names some other action I can’t remember)
M: I don’t know if you could do that. Maybe. Maybe not.
J (irritated): MAYBE MEANS “I DON’T KNOW”!
M: Well yeah; I’ve never gone to sleep and haven’t woken up to know what you can do in that situation.

I think the discussion winds down soon after this, and before I forget I activate the upper lock of his window, just in case.

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