A Mom, A Son With Down Syndrome — And The Love That Made A 'Curse' A Gift Joshua Myers once found his condition so overwhelming, he considered suicide. Now 29, he says he loves his life. What's more, his mom says he's taught her something special: "how to love."
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A Mom, A Son With Down Syndrome — And The Love That Made A 'Curse' A Gift

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A Mom, A Son With Down Syndrome — And The Love That Made A 'Curse' A Gift

A Mom, A Son With Down Syndrome — And The Love That Made A 'Curse' A Gift

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. Today, we hear from a mother and her adult son who has Down Syndrome.

JOSHUA MYERS: My name is Joshua Myers, the lovely son to my lovely mom. Mom, how do I look?

MONTAGNE: Joshua came to a StoryCorps booth in Yakima, Wash., to speak with his mom, Susan Kaphammer.

SUSAN KAPHAMMER: What is your disability?

MYERS: I have Down syndrome, and I consider it a gift, but at first I thought it was a curse.

KAPHAMMER: A curse.

MYERS: Yeah.

KAPHAMMER: You told me once that it's just too much, but I didn't know how overwhelmed you were until they called and told me that you had gone and stood out in a busy intersection in the road.

MYERS: I just want to kill myself, but a lady stopped in front of me.

KAPHAMMER: So she had you come in the car and talk.

MYERS: Yeah.

KAPHAMMER: And have we seen her since?

MYERS: No.

KAPHAMMER: First of all, I'm just so grateful to that person I don't know who took that time with you. When you're a parent, the most important thing is that you be happy. And when you're not happy, it's just so frightening that I can't make that OK for you. How is your life now?

MYERS: Awesome.

KAPHAMMER: What's good about it?

MYERS: Everything. I love my life.

KAPHAMMER: Did you have dreams for your future when you were young?

MYERS: The dreams that I have were really vivid.

KAPHAMMER: Varied.

MYERS: Vivid.

KAPHAMMER: Oh, vivid. What kinds of things did you think of doing?

MYERS: Some sexual things, but I don't really want to get into that.

KAPHAMMER: I'm not thinking just dreams at night, but things that you'd wanted to become.

MYERS: There was a lot of things I wanted to be back then, but there's only two things now.

KAPHAMMER: What's that?

MYERS: One of them is to be a minister; the other is wrestling in the WWE...

KAPHAMMER: (Laughter).

MYERS: ...To make my family proud from that.

KAPHAMMER: Do you think your family is proud of you?

MYERS: I know they are. I love my mom so much. I'll even die for her.

KAPHAMMER: But I don't want you to die for me.

MYERS: No, no, no.

KAPHAMMER: I want you to live for me.

MYERS: I mean, my mom has this everlasting love.

KAPHAMMER: And that's what you particularly taught me is how to love, and everyone is who they are and who they're meant to be. Do you remember what we usually say to each other? You're my Josh and then you say...

MYERS: You're my mom.

KAPHAMMER: You're my Josh.

MYERS: You're my mom.

MONTAGNE: That's Joshua Myers - he's 29 now - with his mother, Susan Kaphammer, at StoryCorps in Yakima, Wash. Their conversation is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, along with all StoryCorps interviews. The podcast is on iTunes and npr.org.

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