Yesterday was one heck of a day. I’m not sure how much emotion a Cowley man can take in 24 hours.
It was the first anniversary of Julie’s death. I’d stayed at the flat the night before and woke up in a sad and reflective mood. I mooched around the flat with a kaleidoscope of memories and images whirling round my head and heart.
And then the angels pitched up.
First, was a good friend of mine who is steeped in showbiz. I reminded him about our holiday soon and he reminded me about two good friends of his – a husband and wife fire eating act. Work has been a bit thin on the ground lately, so the fire eaters have opened an ice cream parlor in Devon (I’m not making this up). He told us to drop in and see them whilst we’re in Torquay and with any luck they may perform their act for Steven.
Then I noticed a post from another face from the past. In Hillingdon, children’s services stop when you are 16 but adult services don’t kick in until you are 18. You are left in a 2 year void. Less a transition, more a grinding halt. I can’t remember how it happened but during that 2 year period we managed to get hold of the services of a brilliant learning disabilities nurse. He was based in Tooting and used to travel across London once a month to work with Steven. They bonded instantly over music and worked together for 3 years. Steven was, and still is, very fond of him, even though they haven’t met since 2009. I’m deeply embarrassed how it ended, although there was nothing I could do about it. Steven went into the Unit, who immediately blocked David out. They weren’t interested in his input or experience of Steven and dropped him like a hot coal. A really sad ending. Anyway, David is in Sweden at the moment and posted some photos of himself at the Abba museum. Steven was in hysterics at the sight of David dressed up as AnnaFrid. That led to a lovely hour where Steven reminisced about the time David was in his life.
Next, I got an email from Sophy, Steven’s solicitor back in 2010. She was asking me to contribute to a Human Rights’ project she is involved with. Of course, I said yes. I told Steven she had been in touch and that launched him into playing some Mel C tracks. He’s always maintained that Sophy resembles the former Spice Girl.
And then blow me down, I got a comment on a Facebook post I’d written from one the experts appointed by the court to decide on Steven’s best interests. James wrote that he was pleased that Steven and I were fine and that he often thinks about us. (Gulp back the tears). I told Steven about the message and that triggered a lookalike session as Steven thinks James looks like John Anderson, the referee in Gladiators.
I’m not overstating this but Sophy and James are two of the people I credit with saving Steven’s life back in 2010 and it was really touching to hear from them again. Along with David, they were quite unusual in that they saw, and related to Steven as a human being. Unlike all the Hillingdon people who just saw Steven as a case to be worked on or a problem to be corrected or moved on, these people got exactly who he was. It was rare and very moving.
Steven and I rounded off the day with a mammoth music DVD session, featuring holiday songs, in preparation for Torquay. A bit of Boney M, a smidgeon of A1, a single helping of Shaggy. And during the marathon, Steven gave a running commentary of childhood holidays with him, me and Julie.
It was that kind of day.