TORSTEIN – HIS CHILD

 

In the summer of 2004 the black singer Ann Sinclair and her musicians gave a gospel concert in Lillesand Church in Norway. Among the audience was Torstein. He sat in his wheelchair in the aisle of the church. Torstein was multihandicapped. He could use neither arms nor legs. He needed assistance for all primary functions such as eating, drinking, washing and getting dressed. Moreover he had no language.

 

Torstein knew, however, how to appreciate music. When there was music that he liked, he made some characteristic sounds to express his feelings. Torstein liked Ann Sinclair very much. But some among the audience found his sounds disturbing. They tried to make him keep quiet. Whether Ann Sinclair perceived this is not known. After a while, however, she took the microphone; she went down the aisle to whereTorstein was sitting, she knelt in front of him – and sang the next song to him alone. After this nobody hushed Torstein anymore. And Tortein himself glowed like the sun.

 

When the concert was over Ann Sinclair received flowers and a great applause. She said Thank you and continued: “As I am on a long journey I cannot take the flowers with me. I will therefore give them to the person here tonight who has inspired me the most: the young man down there in the wheelchair.” To avoid blocking the gangway Torstein and his assistant were already on their way out. They were called back. Torstein had the flowers laid in his lap. And together with them Ann Sinclair´s last CD: His Child.

 

Torstein Kjøstvedt was born 13 May 1984. He died 10 March 2005. I had the privilege of being his neighbour.

 

Barbro Raen Thomassen, Lillesand 2006

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