In this fictional story written by Naoki, we see the ghost of a boy named Shun struggle desperately to communicate with his mother after dying in a sudden bike accident. She is unable to see or hear him, to understand his words of comfort to her. Reluctantly, Shun separates from his mother and goes to Heaven, which is place of “perfect freedom.” However, after visiting his mother a few times on Earth, he sees how unhappy she is and realizes that she is unable to get past his death. After a year, Shun decides that he wants to comfort his mother more than anything. He makes a deal with God to return as another child, agreeing to lose his own identity and memory of his life as “Shun”.
SO….there were so many random and disconnected thoughts that I had while reading this story. Perhaps I am not “deep” enough to truly connect the dots in a meaningful way, but I will just throw out there what I gleaned from this parable of sorts. Shun’s life as a ghost seemed symbolic to me as Naoki’s life with Autism. Shun was trying to controlh is body and hug his mom and comfort her during her sadness, but he was unable to, not matter how hard he tried. He tried repeatedly to speak with his parents and was never heard. Then, he went to Heaven. I believe it was here that Naoki envisioned his life without Autism. Being able to live in “perfect freedom” and do everything that he was unable to do previously. In the end, Naoki wrote that Shun would choose to lose the memories of everything that made him the boy he was, all in order to save his mother and make her happy. I believe this shows that people on the spectrum are able to develop empathy, understand emotions, and even put other’s emotions ahead of their own.
Rachel Lacap, Wheeler Elementary