Aside from seeing Mom on my side trip to New Jersey, the highlight will occur tomorrow (actually today, since I write my posts the night before). It is the day that I get to see Michael, my older brother. Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. I haven’t seen him since they moved him to a geriatric group home. I wonder what it will be like. My younger brother is taking us out to see him.
I’m a little apprehensive. I have two, possibly mutually exclusive goals: 1) to be in the moment and try to connect with Michael; 2) to document my encounter and capture significant moments.
One of the recurring themes in my blog is documenting my quest to make a connection with Michael. It may seem odd, but after all these years I don’t know if he recognizes me or knows who I am. I have found that photography has helped me to understand a little about Mike. Like, Harold Edgerton, who pioneered the strobe-light photography to freeze high-speed events, I tried to capture Mike’s expressions, reactions and interactions on film, since I didn’t seem to be successful at understanding him in real time.
More information needed
I’m hoping that some of the theorizing about my relationship with Mike, in the absence of his presence, might pay off when I see him in person again. For example, I have been pouring over the pictures I have taken of him, re-familiarizing myself with his facial expressions trying to remember if they were caused by any emotion he may have had. I could never tell which of Mike’s eyes was looking at me, since they seldom lined up together. I’m worried that his cataract may have altered the way he looks since I saw him last.
I’m hoping that my little brother will be able to tell me something more about his experience with Mike. He says he doesn’t remember. I have to go with that, if that’s what he says, but I feel a need to talk to someone else who was there at the time. He’s the only one, now. What Mom remembers is from a parent’s point of view. I may be out of luck on this count. Little brother and I rarely talked about Mike before.
Everyone has his own way of surviving.