A Lost Voice ?
When I was 10 years old, my youngest brother was born. We’ve always called him Mish Mish. His name is Ahmed. He was born with a mutation of the long arm of a particular gene. It’s the same gene that is affected in people with Williams syndrome, but my brother’s mutation causes a more severe form of learning disability. It’s a little bit like Downs Syndrome. He has the mental ability of a 6-7 years old. He is thirty now, a little clue to how old I am too!
Mish Mish can’t talk like you and I. He uses his own interpretation of the Makaton sign language and he makes a lot of loud noises to vocalise, to be heard. He likes to “talk” A LOT, telling us stories of his adventures on the ferry to the Isle of Wight and when he visited the fire station. Or just about his daily dealings with the animals at the small animal farm, where he works with other adults with learning disabilities. Mum and Dad are his translators if you struggle to understand him. But he’ll do his utmost to get his story across. He’s also very repetitive and will continue to tell you the same story until his next adventure, so patience and kindness is key.
Mish Mish oozes love in his own way. He can tell a kind soul from one which isn’t so kind. We always trust his judgment, his sixth sense, when meeting new people. I think he can see your soul through your eyes.
Growing up, we learned how to speak up for him when he was misunderstood. People weren’t so understanding twenty years ago and it really really hurt.
I wrote this poem in my early twenties as part of a creative writing course. “Write about someone who means the world to you.” Mish Mish IS our world, and I pray, our key to paradise.
A Lost Voice?
What is that you say my dear?
Which one, this one? – Ah that
Your language I understand, so clear
But your words are somehow trapped.
God’s blessing on us from the heavens above
Our world without you would be so cold
Instead of words, you fill our lives with love
Despite your frustrations you vocalise, so bold.
What comes out but a shout and a cry
A ‘No,’ and a ‘Yes!’ When you’re excited sometimes
When they don’t understand, you’re so patient, you try
Until they see past your wordless conversation, it’s fine.
A lost voice? No way – not with a soul so full
Of love and life and happiness, so pure
You have so much to tell me, a tug and a pull
You sit me down, I forget my troubles and my pain you cure.
By Sarah K