Voices of Autism

by Donna Kirk on July 6, 2014

Tribute to Reese Matthew Kirk
February 19, 1970 – July 6, 2010

I heard a familiar voice behind me and turned around but no one was there. When I heard the voice again I started back down the block and waited, knowing it would only be moments until the call rang out again.

At the corner house, a young man ran towards me. At the same time, a car pulled into the driveway and parked.

“Paul!” A woman jumped from the car. Paul kept running.

I stood on the road. “Paul,” I said. “What’s up, buddy?”

He stopped beside me and did circle twirls, his arms extended, hands clasped tightly. His shouts increased.

“Paul, Paul, quiet down,” said the lady. “It’s too much.” She was dark-haired and very good looking, just like Paul. She had a French accent.

“Are you Paul’s mother?” I said.

She nodded, never taking her eyes off her son who had darted in another direction, calling as he went. She motioned for him to sit on a retaining wall. He complied and I sat beside him.

“My name’s Donna,” I said. “Nice to meet you, Paul.”

The woman approached.

I smiled. “My son Matthew and Paul speak with the same voice. When I heard him a few moments ago, I had to come and introduce myself.”

She asked questions about Matthew. I told her he’d died four years ago today. She told me their family had come to Oakville from England to visit Paul’s grandmother.

“Do you go to school in England?” I asked Paul.

“No,” he said.

His mother looked surprised. “No? You don’t go to school, Paul?”

“Not today,” he answered.

Of course not; today is Sunday. And today is all we really have. That’s how these two young men live.

Thanks Paul or Matthew, whichever one of you orchestrated this on today of all days.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal July 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

What a moment indeed. Reading about this event on all days as yesterday, gives me goosebumps. We miss you Matt xo


Sherry Isaac July 7, 2014 at 10:20 am

What I love most about this story and stories like these, Donna, is how everything unfolded so ordinarily.

Today is all we have. Thanks for the reminder.


Donna Kirk July 8, 2014 at 11:33 am

Thanks Sherry. for reading my blogs and for your endorsement. Continued success to you.


Liz Bryant July 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

How can I begin to write after reading your story and Sherry’s comment? You truly were all blessed to meet each other by chance on Matt’s 4th anniversary day. And I am sure that Paul’s mother found a blessing in your presence too.


Donna Kirk July 8, 2014 at 11:34 am

Thanks so much, Liz. True friend.


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