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How To Make A Life

April 16, 2018

I often feel a bit teary when I get back to my flat on a Sunday evening after spending the weekend with Steven. If the weekend had been problematic, I feel sad that the precious time had been spoiled. Or, if the weekend has been pretty damn perfect I get a bit emotional because … we’ll, because the weekend had been pretty damn perfect.

This weekend has been pretty damn perfect and I’ve been trying to understand why. The other day, one of my clients threw into the session, “I don’t think I was ever taught how to make a life”. What ensued was an existential discussion on what “making” a life actually means and can you be taught how to do it.

I marvel at how Steven makes his life. To an outside commentator it may look a pretty small life. But to someone who loves him, I hear a noise he makes. It’s hard to describe in words. The best I can come up with is it’s like a purr. A purr of total contentment. We spent quite a bit of time doing what Steven calls a “two songs” compilation tape. It’s cover versions basically. I brought him some cover versions CDs for his birthday. Some absolute corkers – James Blunt doing I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues and Kylie Minogue doing Bette Davis Eyes. On the tape yesterday I put on two versions of Just The Way You Are. First Billy Joel, then Barry White. Steven loves the Barry version. “Dad – do Barry White” he asked. This involves a vocal and physical impersonation. So I affect my most gravely voice and mop my sweaty face with a hanky. This brings about ” the purr”. And Steven skips off into the hall, announcing “Don’t you just love Barry White”.

Music does make Steven’s life. I always announce I’m going off to bed about 10pm because if I didn’t, Steven would have me up all night chatting about this, that and the other. He goes about his business for another hour and then announces to the support worker that he is off to bed too. On Saturday night, I heard him say, “Michael. I’m off to bed now. And I’m going to be singing some Liam Gallagher”. And for the next hour or so, you can hear from his bedroom – “Maybe, I don’t really want to know…” That makes me and Michael purr.

Is this making a life? I guess so. It definitely feels like living a life. It requires some outside input (i.e. me buying the James Blunt and Kylie CD) but I don’t think it can be taught. It’s too spontaneous for that.

Anyway, enough of the philosophy. Get those hankies out and swallow some gravel:

“Tonight Matthew. I’m going to be….”

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2 Comments
  1. judyb permalink

    That is so lovely. That is what a life is, just bits and pieces that make you happy.

  2. Dorothy Jump permalink

    R bless you. I can understand your feelings and yes it is so hard and emotional.

    I myself can identify your feelings, why you ask , at this present time my son is in care a supported living place due to an injury he had in December he fractured his right femur in a fall away from home In care and had an operation to plate and screws to this and he is recuperating and it’s unsure when he will come home or if I decide if he settles and is happy to let him stay. ( I looked at this placement last year for the future because I felt what if something happens to me I am now 65yrs and a single parent. It’s so hard and I also get upset when I see and leave him, it’s hard.
    I am watching and observing and making sure my son is monitored and correctly cared for. He does have safeguarding risk plans due to falls and so this has to be observed and I am saying take care of him.

    Yes it is hard and that’s because we care and need them to be safe and protected. It’s along time caring 44yrs and then suddenly this happens and it’s coping now with it.

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