You’ll [‘d] be 24 today. Wow. Just wow. 24... Nearly quarter of a century. You’ve leap frogged from 18 to 24 while remaining 18. We’ve grown older. Living each of these in between years with steadfastness and some brutality.
You beautiful boy. You beautiful, brilliant and kick ass dude. My blooming tears remain as unruly and uncontrolled and I’m glad. I look at photos and just remember being with you. Hanging out. That’s what we did. We just were.
I can’t imagine what you’d look like now. I know you’d be strong, principled, gentle and kind. Precariously occupying a space in which these characteristics are ignored or tossed aside by ‘services’. Still.
It’s beyond wrong that the simplicity of everyday, ordinary life continue to be destroyed by a lack on the part of the state.
You should be celebrating your birthday.
I despise the utter emptiness of these words.
I remember when you were born. A ‘birthing pool’ filling up a tiny living room. High sides and an enormous volume of water. A birthing pool [Eh? Where did it come from? There was no internet then.] Was your love of water forged in the moment of being born? Being born. Becoming.
Generating numerous heart stopping moments in life guards across the years. Sinking, submerging and eventually reappearing. With dazzling joyfulness and flicking of that thick mop that resisted getting wet.
Until you didn’t. Failed by a greedy and beyond arrogant NHS Trust which focused only on reputation and dosh.
I was in London last weekend for a Reblaw event you’d have loved. A bunch of knowledgable, enthusiastic, feisty and committed students/lawyers smashing human rights law. It was in Moorgate. Coming out of the tube station I stumbled on people heading for the Lord Mayor’s parade.
The Lord Mayor’s parade.
Remember that birthday trip? The lost day we spent on the bus? Stymied by the Lord Mayor’s Parade… 2010? Eight years ago.
You were all ‘children’ then. Some hovering in the hinterland between child and adulthood. Sucking up the foiled outing. It was a cool outing for you. An amnesty on typical kid stuff by the others. It was your birthday. We were all thinking about you and your birthday.
Three years later I dropped the thinking ball. I still don’t know why. I’ve been accused of all sorts. Working full time. Not flagging up that staff should supervise patients with epilepsy in the bath. I dunno matey. Do you remember when you wanted me to apply for the post of Head of the Metropolitan Police? We chuckled about this.
When you raged about being asked to empty the dishwasher and called on imaginary human rights specialists we laughed. We didn’t notice when the large, heavy based saucepan of nosh, nourishment, love and family life suddenly went cold.
Your nephew is one this week. His mum posted a montage of photos and videos on Facebook. So blinking cute. You’d have loved him. Asked endless questions about him. Stood protectively over him like you did your classmates who needed tube feeding at school. Living your life as much as you could in line with your values of what is right, family and love.
I miss you with an ache, a yearning, something impossible to articulate.
I retreat to a space of joyful memories and an overwhelming sea of love that buoys me in the moment. Thank fuck. A space I will guard with every fibre of my being. Wide open spaces of sky, beauty and being together.
A heavy based saucepan I will not take my eyes off.
I received an email earlier today that underlines this wondrousness. I don’t think the author will mind me quoting part of it.
[….] when I’m not sure if I can pull off what I want to say, if I’m in danger of losing my nerve or of going with the flow, I think about Connor and I just say something.
Paraphrasing Rosie from back in the day; you made us feel safer.
Love. Just love.