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James with his favorite furry friend, Blaze.
James with his favorite furry friend, Blaze.

As a little girl of eight years, I couldn’t wait to meet my first little brother, James. James was born a king, or at least I thought so. Why else would he have a little crown on his head just a day after being born? Truth is, James was born with Down syndrome. The crown covered up all the wires going into his little body following heart surgery. Even when the crown came off, James was still the king in my eyes. He was patient, loving, and had a smile that could stop you in your tracks.

Not long before his third birthday everything changed; James started to lose language, preferred to keep to himself, and that glowing smile appeared less frequently. Not long after that James was diagnosed with autism. Since that time, James (now age 19) continues to make gains in self–help and language every day but he remains primarily nonverbal, relying on his family and friends to care and advocate for him.

This poem, written by our little brother, Joe (age 17), is written from James’s point of view. It is a powerful description of the things James shows us but is not able to put into words. 


I’m trapped by my own mind.
I hear you. You hardly hear me.
I’m trapped. Everything is loud.
In front of me behind me, left and right, above and below.
A million engulfing senses and but one on which to train my focus.
I tell my mind what to do. But my body will not listen.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?
I can hardly force my body to try.
You look at me differently. Uncomfortably. Pitifully.
I’m trapped. There are names for people like me.
Used jokingly. Insultingly, Ignorantly.
I’m trapped. I can listen. I reason. I understand.
But you have no way of knowing.
I’m trapped. I create. I imagine. I cherish. I believe.
But I can’t explain.
Life has cheated me.
I’m trapped.
Or so it seems.
I have much time to spend with my heart, with my God, and have come to but one conclusion.
Some listen closely.
They shed their comfort to give me dignity. Respect. Opportunity.
And they discover joy. Adoration. Curiosity. Desire. Thought. A person. Why would I, in my state, display such humility?
Why would I, in my state, be so genuine?
I am handicapped.
But I bring sheer delight and peace and rejoicing.
To all who choose to witness me and to witness my heart.
I live. I love. I hope. I dream. I’m free.

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Elizabeth Yager, United States, VA
3/6/2013 7:31:25 PM
Beautiful love and sensitivity. James is truly blessed, and truly a blessing.

Darlene Hudson, United States, MN
2/2/2013 11:48:13 AM
SOOOO deserving! What a beautiful, thoughtful story and poem!!!

barbara terry jones, United States, CA
2/1/2013 6:07:06 PM
this story touched me, brought tears to my eyes, for i too have a james. his name is seth and so many times i've wondered how he feels. i will be forever grateful to you for putting his feelings into words for me. thank-you

Janet Schippers, United States, CA
1/31/2013 11:01:23 AM
Although I do not know James or his family, just reading his story & his brother's poem have reassured me that God makes no mistakes! Not only is James fortunate to have such a loving family but they are eternally blessed with the experience of having James in their life! They are all winners!

Diana Metzger, United States, NE
1/21/2013 11:27:38 PM
I have the privilege of knowing this wonderful young man and his family. James has a beautiful smile and way touching everyone's heart.

Jim Fielder, United States, NE
1/20/2013 10:43:46 PM
Well done! Exactly what a family should be like!

Marion Adkins, Germany,
1/20/2013 6:00:02 PM
Spoken from the heart and seen with his brothers eyes. How else can you show true love to your siblings? This is the most beautiful way to to make people understand and think. This poem touched my heart Marion Adkins

Karen Hunter, United States, CO
1/20/2013 4:27:04 PM
James is blessed to be loved by his family.

Karen Mayer, United States, NE
1/19/2013 2:36:52 PM
Beautiful child. Beautiful family. They reflect the love of God.

Doris Hill, United States, MI
1/19/2013 5:51:42 AM

shelley german, United States, NE
1/18/2013 7:37:20 PM
Yes, James is real! He commands respect innocently, honestly and no need for words. Awesome young man and family.

David Harrison, United Kingdom,
1/18/2013 6:05:04 PM
This is the most inspiring writing I have read on Facebook. In an earlier life, I knew James' parents quite well. We all went to school together. Dan and I played music together, shared accommodation at college, and were in each other's weddings. Despite being out of touch now, and living a continent away, one thing is for certain. They are exceptional parents who have exceptional children. Thanks to all for sharing this remarkable story. DH

michelle ochsner, United States, NE
1/17/2013 8:02:35 AM

Bethany Smart, United States, ME
1/17/2013 7:15:16 AM
Touching! A beautiful family.

Amy Fuchs, United States, NE
1/17/2013 2:57:08 AM
I don't know James, or the any of the Prickett family, but I feel so blessed to live in a community that can speak to how they have been touched by this young man. Linden and Joe, thank you for sharing the story of your brother with us all.

Lori Wright, United States, NE
1/16/2013 11:09:29 PM
My son also goes to HHS. We know of your family thru music. It is nice to hear of a family that truely loves each other unconditionally in a world so full of anger and spite. Your parents must be very proud.

Sue Frink, United States, NE
1/16/2013 11:05:58 PM
Please consider this story as it is fantastic! James, super job buddy!

Amber Schultz, United States, NE
1/16/2013 9:32:08 PM
James, you are a champion and your life is a gift! Your brother & sis are pretty awesome too ;)

Brittany Lacy, United States, TX
1/16/2013 6:59:50 PM
I remember when James was a little boy. Linden and I were really good friends and we would take turns spending the night at each others houses. When I would stay at the Prickett house I would always have so much fun. James ALWAYS had a smile in his face and was such a sweet little boy. Joe was a very sweet, ornery, little boy as well. The Prickett family and I have since lost touch as Linden and I had moved on with our lives. This is an amazing story and poem. DEFINITELY a VOTE from me!!!

sam barton, United States, NE
1/16/2013 5:42:28 PM
What a delightful young man James is. His fanily is so caring and have done the best of everything that they can do for James and the smile and sparkle in his eyes shows this.

Sonya Latta, United States, NE
1/16/2013 5:29:51 PM
James has touched my family and for that I am greatful to know him. My oldest son Jordan had James as a reading buddy in grade school, my middle son Aaron went to daycare with him and helped him on the bus everyday and now my youngest son Seth (also has a handicap) knew him from daycare and neither one talked but everyday they would high five and they were so awesome together. It was a sad day when James left daycare. Very touching story!!!

Delcie Light, United States, ND
1/16/2013 4:17:11 PM
And the one who loves him unconditionally is a faithful dog. People have much to learn.

Dawn Taylor, United States, NE
1/16/2013 3:00:31 PM
Very beautiful!

Russell Pearson, United States, ND
1/16/2013 2:24:26 PM
You and your family are a blessing to us all.

Jacinda King, United States, NE
1/15/2013 10:00:27 AM
I went to elementary school with James and continue to see him occasionally at the high school. To this day, every time I see him I see his hope shine through his "trapped" surface. Knowing James throughout my growing life has been a great joy as I get to continue to see him grow more and more each day. In seeing him grow, I have grown greatly as well. I hope I get to continue to see him grow and bring joy to everyone around him.

Dan McCarthy, United States, NE
1/14/2013 10:43:14 PM
Great Story and poem. Shows how close these three are to each other.

Betty Grzywa, United States, NE
1/13/2013 6:19:21 PM
Heart warming!

Debbie Holmberg, United States, NE
1/13/2013 10:46:44 AM
I was blessed to have James in my 5th grade class. His life has reason and purpose. He taught the rest of the class the meaning of caring and compassion that will be with them all their lives.

Delores Tenski, United States, NE
1/12/2013 7:38:39 PM
Thanks for reminding me about what is really important.

Mindee Rowan, United States, NE
1/12/2013 5:54:35 PM
I think the poem and story are so wonderful! But mostly it's nice to see James' face everyday in class. Your family is an inspiration for our family!

Terry Babcock, United States, NE
1/12/2013 2:43:51 PM
Awesome story and poem Linden and Joe! What an inspiration your family is to our church community.

Lynn Ishmael, United States, CO
1/12/2013 2:33:11 PM
Great words straight from the heart!

Corey D Johnson, United States, CO
1/12/2013 2:04:39 PM
The poem says it all!

jocelyn Rundle , United States, NE
1/11/2013 10:36:26 PM
Great story!

Joel Jank, United States, NE
1/11/2013 8:21:45 PM
Heartwarming story!

Mary Holling, United States, NE
1/10/2013 9:13:19 PM
A very touching tribute to James. Great smile, James.

Mrs. Debra Dowling, United States, NE
1/10/2013 4:42:30 PM
All 3 children in this story were in my elementary music classes. They are an amazing family. Linden and Joe, I really appreciate the love you demonstrate for James in this writing! Very inspiring!!!

Kathy Adelson, United States, NE
1/10/2013 4:19:40 PM
As a teacher who works with James, his sister's & brother's comments touch me deeply. Only those who live with & love with a sibling who is 'different' can understand & appreciate all of the challenges that their brother encounters each moment & each day. And these 2 have written eloquently in terms that help us understand more clearly. WOW! I'm in awe, both of James, and his family. Kathy Adelson

Aiden Schneider, United States, NE
1/10/2013 4:00:12 PM
Powerful and intense.

Jamison Cockrell, United States, NE
1/10/2013 2:20:53 PM
very touching!

Allie Remmers, United States, NE
1/10/2013 2:19:22 PM
It's very moving.

Linda Shaw, United States, NE
1/10/2013 1:42:43 PM
One word: Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing!

Scott Rosno, United States, NE
1/10/2013 11:33:31 AM
As this story shows and this family knows, our strength as individuals comes from our uniqueness!

Crystal Bauer, United States, NE
1/10/2013 10:49:13 AM
loveeeeee it.

Shane Thomas Schultz, United States, NE
1/10/2013 10:48:49 AM
This story was beautiful and heartfelt A+

Linda Klamm, United States, NE
1/10/2013 10:27:57 AM
This brought chills! Wonderful story! I loved your poem, Joe. And I will always remember by 1st year teaching in this school district, and James was one of my students. He was a delight and an inspiration.

Terry J, United States, NE
1/10/2013 8:56:13 AM
Beautiful. I think ignorance, in how best to interact, is what limits us in receiving the full blessing of precious people like James. It helps when those that have experience are open and shed light in sharing their feelings like this. Thanks so much for sharing this! I always remember James as a young boy in Kindermusik! I thrill to see he still has an excitement for music. I love to watch him at the concerts because of his sheer joy!

Lloyd McIntyre, United States, NE
1/9/2013 11:57:33 PM
Powerful... thanks for sharing, Lisa.

Tiffany Opperman, United States, NE
1/9/2013 11:48:48 PM
Beautifully done..... :)

James Miller, United States, NE
1/9/2013 10:35:15 PM
Linden and Joe, I am proud of you

Janice Herbek, United States, NE
1/9/2013 9:40:02 PM
Linden and Joe--great job describing the loving guy I knew!

Andi Brown, United States, NE
1/9/2013 8:53:53 PM
I have known James since he was an infant and had the pleasure of working with him as a preschooler. Now retired I substitue and get to see James as a high school student and always marvel in the changes he has made along with praying that perhaps somewhere in his world he recalls some little things from our preschool days or remembers me because I will never forget James or the many others who have been locked in their own worlds and brought such meaning and substance to my life.

Beth Adelson, United States, NE
1/9/2013 8:35:32 PM
Great story!

Dylan Murphy, United States, NE
1/9/2013 6:34:19 PM
Love you James!

Cathryn Genung, United States, NE
1/9/2013 6:26:45 PM
Beautifully written from the heart.

Cheryl Schuff, United States, NE
1/9/2013 2:27:02 PM
Fantastic story of your brother. What wonderful, understanding, and loving siblings.

Barb Kluver, United States, NE
1/9/2013 1:29:19 PM
Wonderful story! A beautiful look at how brothers and sisters love their siblings no matter what and I love the poem from James' viewpoint.

Debra S Harder, United States, NE
1/9/2013 11:19:04 AM

Patty Meyer, United States, NE
1/9/2013 10:28:23 AM
Wonderful poem, James.

Francine Lomax, United States, NE
1/9/2013 10:26:14 AM
This brings tears to my eyes! Linden and Joe this is Beautiful!

Perla Sotelo, United States, NE
1/9/2013 9:44:59 AM
Love it! It touched my heart!

kathy delashmutt, United States, NE
1/9/2013 9:41:20 AM
James, what a wonderful story. You have a wonderful family

Heidi Tunks, United States, NE
1/9/2013 9:09:49 AM
Beautifully done!

Cindy Jones, United States, NE
1/9/2013 8:23:50 AM
Awesome story!! James has a loving family and wonderful, caring siblings.

Annette Ullrick, United States, IL
1/8/2013 10:12:20 PM
What a beautiful poem!

ca Swift, United States, NE
1/7/2013 9:17:55 AM

Trisha, United States, NE
1/5/2013 6:54:44 PM
This is a wonderful family! Great story and poem!

Renee Sazama, United States, NE
1/4/2013 4:44:58 PM
What an awesome tribute to your brother!

Robin Mettenbrink, United States, NE
1/4/2013 1:19:47 PM
Loved it!

Shelly Townley, United States, NE
1/4/2013 10:46:44 AM
Love this. Great poem.

Melissa Liebig, United States, MT
1/4/2013 9:01:43 AM
Great poem!

Roxanne B. Loen, United States, CA
1/4/2013 1:09:12 AM
Beautiful description of a beautiful well loved young man!

Chandra Myers, United States, NE
1/3/2013 8:58:53 PM

Deanna Hirschman, United States, NE
1/3/2013 8:53:04 PM
Beautiful story/poem about their brother. Thought this was such a beautiful, loving tribute to their brother that can't speak for himself! Wow!

Tammy Verba, United States, NE
1/3/2013 8:45:31 PM
Very touching!

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