“Samuel is three years older than me. Without resembling each other physically, we were like twins, almost fusional. We shared the same room, the same devouring passions like football. As a child, I was unaware of his handicap, autism, diagnosed when he was 9 years old. With his atypical, repetitive gestures, my big brother denoted but I took him as he was.
The first exit from the road took place after the first grade, when my brother joined a medico-pedagogical day school. From there, there was kind of a gap between us. I was learning to read, write, ride a bike, things he was going to do much later. Unconsciously, I passed his place of elder, while pulling him upwards.
As a teenager, I suffered from the gaze of others, sometimes tinged with animosity or malice towards my brother. I felt guilty to see my brother stand still, lock himself in his handicap, while I began to have plans, friends. This injustice was a source of suffering for me.
When Samuel is next to me, I adopt some of his attitudes. For example, his ability to take advantage of happy moments, to express his joy spontaneously. My brother helped me to open up and put my little teenage worries into perspective.
For my part, I brought him unconditional love, protected him and helped him grow. Today, Samuel has regained his place of eldest child. Between the ages of 20 and 30, he got a job, a place in a home. A long fight. Samuel is more fulfilled, he calls me several times a week, gives me advice. Before dying, our grandfather entrusted him with the mission of being the guardian angel of our family.
Two sides of the same coin
Like Vincent and Théo Van Gogh, we are like two sides of the same coin. This also explains my difficulty in getting involved. It was not easy to allow myself to get married without feeling like I was betraying him.
If I work today at the OCH (1) foundation serving disabled people, it is thanks to Samuel. I give what I have received, I in turn accompany brothers and sisters affected by disability. “