CREDOS:Most Beautiful Word — V

Like a bud that blooms so slowly that its movement is imperceptible, Jerry and I felt that our son was opening up. It was so gradual, it escaped others. There were little things or a wink. One day, Terry laughed. And once Terry did something, he could continue to do it.

Driving with Terry in the car one morning, his head bobbed up and down after I asked him a question. I paid no attention, thinking it was the bouncing of the car that caused it. But Jerry cried out: "Look, he's answering you. He's shaking his head yes!" From that moment on, Terry was able to shake his head when asked a question. Later on, he started making the sound: "uh-huh." Nineteen years after the accident, on Wednesday, June 11, 2003, I walked into Terry's room and said "Hi, Terry," as I always did. One of the nursing home aides asked him, "Who is that, Terry?"

"Mom," he answered clearly. I almost fell over I was so shocked. The aide and I looked at each other with the same astonished expressions on our faces. Tears of joy rolled down our cheeks as we ran over and hugged Terry. "Did you hear that?" I cried. "He said 'Mom!' Terry, say that again!" Terry laughed and again said the most beautiful word I had ever heard: "Mom."

Terry did not say another word that day, but after nineteen years, he had ! His one word was music to my ears, more incredible than his first "mamma" so many years before. We brought him home for a weekend visit that Friday. I kept asking him questions that he could answer with "Mom." Later that day, I

got him to say "Pepsi." One morning, I awoke to turn him over at 4 a.m., which was a necessary task. This was always a time when I would talk with him. Terry was mumbling. —