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The Man who Stuttered

A chapter from Husain Chung’s book GOD THE THERAPIST (available from amazon.com) and gives an insight into the way that Husain works with people…
THE MAN  WHO STUTTERED

This extract is taken from Husain Chung’s recent book GOD THE THERAPIST which is available from Amazon.com. Everyone should read this excellent book. This chapter gives a good idea of how Husain works with people…

One Sunday morning, I happened to drive by the furniture store that was closed. I noticed there was a brand new, beautiful blue upholstered swivel chair next to the dumpster. It had one bum leg—like me. I tried to lift it into my van, but the chair was too heavy and awkward.I looked up and across the street I saw a guy with a large backpack with a blanket roll walking alone.

I loudly called to him, “Hi! Sir? Can you give me a hand with this chair?” He turned and came across the street. He looked at the chair and without saying a word he picked it up and loaded it into the van. Just like that. I reached out my hand to shake his. “Thanks, fella. My name’s Husain—and you’re?”

“I’m…ah…mm…uh, my name’s Jay…J.L Lewis,” he stammered nodding his head.

I slowly responded, “I really appreciate your help.” I reached for my wallet and gave him a five-dollar bill. “Thanks a lot. Oh, by the way, did you just arrive in town?” He nodded. I continued, “If you don’t mind me asking, do you have or need a place to stay?” A big grin crossed his face as he nodded his thanks for the tip. Instantly, I felt he was a good man, one I could trust. “I’m in the process of moving, and I could use some help. I can offer you a couple of nights lodging and food for your help,” I said. Again, that big grin came on, like the innocent country bumpkins I had known on the Midwest farms.

We drove off. J.L. was in his early sixties, and stood at least six foot tall, with light brown thinning hair, slim with broad shoulders and big, strong calloused hands. I strongly suspected he was from a farm.

When we got to my house, I offered him a cup of coffee. I asked him, “If you don’t mind my asking, have you ever been helped with your speech problem?”

“You mean mmm . . . my stuttering?” he pointed to his mouth. “I’m used to it af….af…ter all the…these years.”

I responded, “I realize it doesn’t bother you, but are you aware it does affect others. Like, when we first met and I noticed it, automatically I began to speak slower and more clearly. You didn’t know that, huh?”

He shook his head in surprise. I nodded and asked him, “If you would like, I can try to help you to stop stuttering. At no charge, of course.”

He was delighted, “For real? Sure thing, I…I’m game.”

“First, let me ask you a few questions—like when did it first happen and what was going on just before you began to stutter.” For the next half an hour this is the story he related. He was only a year old when his parents died in an auto accident. He was adopted by his foster parents. His best and only friend since childhood was Bobby. When Bobby turned 19 years old J.L. was 16.

“I wor …worshipped Bobby and he bought a car, a b..b..brand new shinning red Chevy Camero.” They both had gone for a drive. They stopped and bought two cans of beer and continued driving as it turned dark. The beer had made him relaxed and a bit sleepy. He fell asleep as Bobby continued driving with the radio on.

When he woke up in the hospital from his two days in a coma, he was told that he was in a terrible auto accident that killed his friend. He survived without a broken bone except for a few cuts and bruises. Bobby’s parents came to his hospital room very upset and angry. Bobby’s mom screamed angrily at him, “You killed our son—you should’ve been dead instead of Bobby.”

When J.L. was discharged from the hospital, he went directly to Bobby’s parents home. He rang the doorbell.

Bobby’s mom opened the front door shocked, “How dare you come here!”

J.L. nervously holding his cap in his hands, replied, “I…I ca…I came t…to say I…I’mmm…sorry. I..I..mmm to b..b..blame for Bo..bby dying.”

She screamed at J.L, “I don’t ever want to see you again!” She slammed the door.

For over a month he did not speak, and when he finally did, he began stuttering. His stuttering has continued to this day at 66 years old.

“OK, we’re going to do a make believe,” I moved two chairs side by side, “I’m going to be Bobby driving and you’re sound asleep riding in the car. Now close your eyes.” A bit nervously, he shut his eyes. Without disturbing him I laid down on the floor next to his chair. Suddenly, I grabbed his left foot tightly, screaming and violently shaking his leg, “J.L.! J.L.! Wake up—hurry, get some help! We just got in an accident, and I’m hurt real bad!”

J.L. opened his eyes in terror with me lying on the floor. He jumped up but couldn’t move because I held his foot tightly. “I can’t, I can’t, Bobby, my foot’s stuck!”

I started shaking, trembling and gasping for air as if I’m having a heart attack, “Why, why did you fall asleep! You should’ve woken me up—I was dozing and didn’t see that other car.” I let my head fall, closed my eyes and mumbled, “It’s your fault, you fell asleep…all your fault…you can’t even get help.” As Bobby, I pretended I had just died. J.L. fell down on his knees and held my head. He kept shaking his head, unable to say a word.

I got off the floor and went behind him as he remained on his knees. I put both my hands on his shoulder, and softly whispered, “Go ahead and let it go, J.L. Your best friend just died. Just let all your feelings out—it’s OK”

Still on his knees J.L.’s shoulders started to shake, his head went down into his palms, lips trembling and a soft scream issued forth as his whole body shook, crying softly, barely audible.

Very gently I raised his head and guided his body to lay on his back. After placing two pillows side by side on the floor, I told J.L., “This is Bobby’s grave and you’re paying your respects. Please lay down. I shall be the spirit voice of your deceased Bobby and I’ve come to see you.

“Hi, J.L., I miss you and I came to ask you to forgive me for saying those terrible lies—blaming you for that accident. I was scared shitless that I killed you. It was all my fault, I was driving—I should’ve pulled over when I felt sleepy. And you couldn’t get help, ‘cause your leg was stuck and then you passed out from your head concussion. You hearing me, J.L.?” As Bobby’s spirit I started to sob, pleading that he would come out of his coma, “Please, wake up, brother and please, for God sake, don’t blame yourself. You didn’t cause me to die—it was me that crashed the car. And I pray you forgive me, J.L. I must beg you to forgive me for blaming you for that accident. It was all my fault, not yours. You did not kill me. Do you hear me? Please, please—Stop blaming yourself! It is not your fault, it is mine! And please forgive my mom—she’s upset. J.L., I can only be free if you really stop blaming yourself, OK? I will always love you, J.L., and take care of yourself.”

J.L. wept, shaking and lips trembling. After his sobbing subsided, I spoke in a quiet voice, “It’s OK now. Don’t blame but forgive yourself—this way you will let me go and set me free, J.L.”

Slowly, J.L.’s eyes fluttered and opened. Still as Bobby, I bent over and we both hugged each other ever so tightly, and we cried unabashedly.

Before he said a word, I placed my finger on his lips, saying, “Don’t speak a word yet, and listen carefully: You must let Bobby go. Whenever you stutter as you speak, you are punishing and blaming yourself by believing that Bobby‘s death was your fault. You hear me, I’m Bobby now, and you must set me free by not blaming yourself, please J.L., I will always be in your heart.”
Only six inches from his face I looked directly into his eyes, and slowly I said, “You will speak slowly—and stop if you’re about to stammer. Slowly repeat after me, “Bobby, I will always love you, and I forgive you.” I nodded for him to begin.

“Bobby, I will always love you, and I forgive you,” he repeated without stammering.

I continued, “I will not punish and blame myself for that accident. I now set you free.”

J.L. slowly repeated, “I will n…nah..”

I stopped him with my finger on his lips, and quietly said, “It is alright to stop anytime in the middle, and continue slowly.”

He nodded and continued, “I will not punish and blame myself for that accident. I…now set you free, Bobby.” His eyes watered and the tears slowly dripped down his innocent country bumpkin face.
After a pause he continued, “…will not blame myself.”

I smiled and congratulated him with the thumb up victory sign.I showed him how to look in the mirror two times daily and speak slowly. That same day he came up to me smiling proudly. He had called his 26-year-old married son in Okalahoma and for the first time spoke to him without stuttering. His son was overjoyed.

Six months later I got a postcard from him, “Dear Dr. Husain, I thank God and you every day. I’m back home with my son and his family. Now I don’t stammer, and I still do those mirror exercises every day. A million thanks, and may God bless you always, Love, J.L.

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