Mike is still with us or, (more accurately) with himself. Mike is my older autistic brother, who is autistic and low functioning. During most of his life he was inwardly directed, although he would take your hand sometimes, to get you to open a door to go where he wanted, or to direct you to the cabinet where food was. I’m told that he used to hum classical music pieces; our parents were enthusiasts. That was before my time.
Now Mike is on a ventilator and unlikely to ever get off it. Mike’s eyes are closed now and he doesn’t move without full assistance from the physical therapists but those care givers who know him say he responds to his name. They are attuned to his subtle twitches and eye rolls (under his lids). I am hoping that his inward directness is helping him cope with is immobility.