The tears of emotion of an autistic child at the Coldplay concert

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Robert Maurer

The tears of emotion of an autistic child at the Coldplay concert

Last update: June 14, 2016

This moving video was recorded during a Coldplay concert in Mexico. The engaging scenography and music managed to deeply touch an autistic child and his father. This intense and wonderful moment went viral and went around the world thanks to the baby's parents, who shared it online.

They are images of immense power, able to excite us and at the same time ignite a hope, a thought, an idea about people affected by the spectrum of autism. Being witnesses of the strong bond of a father and his son, of their desire to share moments together and transmit emotions is beautiful.

At the same time, however, this video allows us to introduce the topic of the fight against the belief, rooted in our society, that people who are victims of autism do not feel emotions. The same concept that is often associated with the term "autistic" when used in reference to the syndrome that involves a profound detachment from the external environment (according to the Treccani definition).

The video that is going around the world: autistic child at the Coldplay concert

People with autism find it hard to connect with others or to put themselves in their shoes, to get out of their reality to identify with the other person. However, this doesn't stop them from having feelings; in fact, it is often possible to understand them only thanks to the emotions they express by looking at the world around them. This is one of the reasons why this family's video, full of intense moments, is making its way around the planet.

His "I love you", a great lesson in love

As already mentioned before showing the video, the widespread belief that people with autism have no emotions or feelings is erroneous. This belief is probably linked to the bubble metaphor - people tend to believe that autistic people live in their world, unable to understand what they are feeling. In response to this false idea, we would like to invite you to read this short story by Raquel Braojos Martín, What does it mean to love ?, which won best story in the Spanish contest Cuéntame el autismo (Tell me about autism). After reading you will be speechless ...

-Look, they told me that people with autism don't have feelings. Does your brother feel love or something? Or nothing?

The first time I was asked this question I felt a mix of indignation, fury and, why deny it, doubts. The first time they asked me I was a little girl, I shrugged, looked down at the ground and strongly denied. I adored my younger brother, and the idea that he didn't love me terrified me. I was too young to understand that love is not in a handful of words, that it is not in a "I love you", and I felt fear. A fear I could not control.

In those years Rubén had not yet learned to speak, but he clung to us with his little hands. Just us, his family. We didn't know if it was anger, affection, or a common way of relieving stress. Years later he learned to speak, and "I love you" was one of the phrases we insisted that he learn. So it was that he started saying it, repeating it, and even though it didn't seem very real that way, we loved hearing him say it.

The problem is this. Most of us are convinced that there is only one way to love, our own. We expect everyone to go through the same filter of conduct. However, it is curious, because "we" know how to say I love you, but we are also able to hurt, to use feelings in our favor, we are aware of the pain, of the lies. "They" would never do that. Can we who are not pure or crystalline be an example of how to love?

And although the doubt that my brother loved me continued to flutter in my head, like a restless and curious little bird, I clearly remember the first time I knew for sure that my brother loved someone:

Our uncle Daniel often took us for walks, he adored my brother. Rubén also liked being with Daniel very much, he listened to him and they laughed a lot together, my brother indicated the path we had to follow and woe to those who did not agree!

But then Daniel died. It happened suddenly, from one day to the next, no one expected it. It was not easy to explain it to my brother: there would be no more walks, we would never see our uncle again, he was no longer here with us. Daniel stopped showing up in the house, but he continued to exist in my brother's mind. When, after some time, we returned to walk those paths with our grandfather, my brother told me:

- Do you remember? Walk with Uncle Dani.

Some of you will think, “Ah, the routine, typical of autism. He doesn't love your uncle, he was just used to him. He misses him as he would with any other aspect of the routine ”. Maybe I could have believed these words in the first few weeks, during the first months, the first year, but not beyond.

-What do you have there? - I asked my brother, now a teenager, one day when I found him rummaging in a drawer. He immediately tried to hide something, almost ashamed of it. I braced a little and snatched it from him. It was a photo of an old family reunion. In the image we could see our grandfather, our cousin and our uncle Daniel; I was there too. Several years had passed since his death, and my brother's habits could only have changed since then. Rubén, in fact, spent the afternoons attached to the console. The walks were over; our grandfather, who had often accompanied us on our outings, was beginning to show signs of a degenerative disease.

-What a nice picture - I said.

"I can't," he said trying to hide it again.

-Sure you can - I replied - do you like the photo? -. She initially did not understand what was so special about a photo in which he did not appear.

-Yes I like it. Uncle Dani - she pointed to him in the picture - when I was little I was very much with Uncle Dani.

Her eyes sparkled and her little hands moved with emotion, as if she had been waiting for years for the right moment to show it to me. At that moment I felt it, of course I did. I even cried a little with emotion: that was love.

-And who is that little girl sitting on his lap? - I asked.

- You, baby.

When our grandfather died, my brother, in addition to looking at his photos, had another reaction: he went into my grandmother's house and, instead of going directly to the living room, ran down the corridor, opened the door of the old grandfather's room - the one where he had spent his last days of illness - and remained to observe it. As if he could see the memory of him there. As if he expected to find our grandfather lying on the bed. Sometimes Rubén sat in his wheelchair and waited in ecstasy.

Every so often, after years, when he thinks no one sees him, my brother just opens the door to his bedroom. And he talks about the candy, the games, the walks, the hat, the "I tell your father". His grandfather Paco, his grandfather Damian, his uncle Daniel. He talks about our three big losses and does it with shining eyes. And he grabs my hand, and he takes me with him to the computer to show me his discovery of the week: series he wants me to watch, constellations he wants me to memorize, maps, photos, songs. And he insists, even though I'm busy.

Because he likes me to enter his world, to make me part of it. Not always, this is clear. But when he wants to be in company, he always chooses us. We are the top of his hill. When he's fed up with his loneliness, he starts yelling "Raquel, come ..." "Look, Mom ...". Because love is not made of words in the wind, empty promises, songs, poems or caresses. To love is to think about the people you care about, it is to miss those who are no longer there. Love is none other than this. Thank you, brother, for teaching me.

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