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Five Years

December 22, 2015

It was five years ago today that we were in the Court of Protection for the first hearing and the judge decided that Steven could come home after his year in the ATU. It feels a very long time ago. It feels like yesterday.

I hadn’t really given the anniversary much thought today. On Tuesdays I get an hour before the support worker clocks off, so I’ve just been to the pub for a pint and a packet of marmite crisps (I’ve inherited Steven’s thing about naming the crisps that I consume). Lending a melancholy air to the proceedings, someone had put Cilla Black’s greatest hits on the jukebox. It was during You’re My World that the memories started. There isn’t a coherency about my memories of that day. It’s rather like a kid’s kaleidoscope, where one twist and the whole picture changes. My emotional state was like that too. Through the tears I felt a mixture of relief, anger at some of the horror pictures that presented themselves and a guilt that at least Steven is now at home, whereas lots of his peers aren’t.

What appeared in the kaleidoscope?

I remember the early morning phone call from our solicitor to say he had been snowed in and couldn’t make the journey. I remember the stale pain au chocolat from the shop opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. I remember spilling some coffee on my new tie. I remember hardly anything of my twenty minutes in the witness box. I do remember the Hillingdon barrister grandstanding and pushing me to admit that I am “intimidated” by Steven. I remember the Judge describing my testimony as “genuine and moving”. I remember Amanda’s pupil searching for a box of tissues as the Judge delivered his verdict. I remember having to sit with two of the Hillingdon witnesses as we discussed the support plan for the return home. I remember texting everyone I knew on the Tube coming home. I remember doing a shopping list when the train got stuck at Bakers Street (I hadn’t dared to buy any food for Christmas in case I’d be spending the day travelling to a hospital in Wales). I remember Steven coming for a home visit and breaking the news to him. I remember the big man hug from the support worker who had stuck by Steven for the whole year. I remember being up until 2am the next morning, getting choked up by the messages on the Get Steven Home facebook group. I remember going onto the Premier man website and ordering Steven a whole new wardrobe as all of his clothes had been ruined. I don’t remember sleeping.

I’m not sure what Steven remembers about that time. He very rarely talks about it anymore. Knowing that he has perfect recall of the sweets he was eating on the train one Tuesday morning in 1997, I suspect his hard drive must be loaded with memories from 2010. But I’d never try and force him to reveal them. When they do occasionally pop out, they are sad and confused. Steven has always struggled with the word “why” and for once, I’m quite glad. Five years on, I still couldn’t give him a satisfactory answer to the “why” of 2010.

I wonder whether it will still feel the same in ten years time.


From → Social Care

  1. Trudy permalink

    Some years ago, a LA carer who was supporting my son in the community told me she also now supported a severely learning disabled late middle aged woman who had suffered unimaginable physical and sexual abuse for years in a Long Care institution. Case closed, this woman had no family and now lived alone and isolated with her memories.

    What a world. What a life?

  2. Frannie permalink

    As ever honesty love warmth great knowledge dignity passion and ring true for so many .Thankyou you are both inspirational.

  3. Cathy Hodge permalink

    I don’t think memories will ever fully go away, more likely, will ebb and flow.
    And just like the tide you will find sometimes youll be able to roll up your trousers and walk out for miles, and at other times the strangest little things will suddenly find you submerged in a flood of memories.
    I’m glad Steven is home safe. And thats a Christmas gift thats worth having.

  4. Sally permalink

    A very happy Christmass to you and Steven and to all of the good,people who post here.
    When I am overcome with despair fear or rage about the treatment of the learning disabled in the UK, all those responsible and about my son’s future, you are all a great comfort. Wisdom and wit,drive and love.
    I am struggling to find Chritsmas spirt for young Master Berryman. May the heat be wonky in his ski chalet or he be bitten by a grouse.

  5. Weary Mother permalink

    Me too. Thank you. Christmas wishes and huge hope for a good year ahead for all of us. A drum roll and bagpipes and Christmas carols to you Mark and to Steven, and to all the supportive names I call my friends and to all for all your wise and supportive words, now so very familiar to me on your blog Mark, thank you everyone.

    Bless you all and from very the bottom of my heart, thank you all for being there
    You brighten the dark.

    Have brilliant day tomorrow, all. xxxxxxxxxxx

    • Pauline Thomas permalink

      I second that Weary Mother. Thank you all for being there.

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