Missing but not forgotten

         

It is very hard to adjust to not having Joshua with us and so there are habits that, after 15 years, are difficult to break. Yesterday we decided to go out shopping, and so automatically I started to look for the wheelchair to load it into the boot. It was only when I could not find it where it lives, that I remembered that he was away at respite! When we arrived, unusually there were three disabed car park spaces free, but of course we did not use them when we did not have Joshua on board with us! So instead we queued patiently for a standard narrow space.

It was a lovely spring day and so we enjoyed walking and looking around, just leisurely browsing without any real purpose. We bumped into two members of school staff and stopped for chats and of course, Joshua was our main topic of conversation. But we were also drawn to the buskers, who would be a necessary stop for Joshua, and again thought of our musical son. So there were reminders everywhere and it was like a chain reaction, we would spot a reminder and then share the thought or experience. We went in a department store and life was made easier by being able to go upstairs by escalator, rather than having to seek out the obscurely hidden lift. It was my limited attention span for shopping that cut the shopping trip short and my husband remarked that I seemed unable to walk in a straight line without the wheelchair, as I kept bumping into him! Could that be the unbelievabe truth?

So we enjoyed a Saturday without Joshua but it was a day where he was very much in our minds too. I was eager to call to find out if he had enjoyed his trip out to the railway and I was delighted to hear that he had been on top form. He had coped with the 8am start, although he had taken himself to his bedroom at 8pm! I loved the fact that on just his third full weekend stay, he had made himself at home and was showing his cheeky personality there. They could not believe that he was still relatively new, as he has settled in so well. He has been flirting with the staff and other residents too already, and I had a potential romance reported to me! Well so far it only involves shared looks and smiles across a crowded room but ……

It is such a huge leap of faith to hand over your precious non-verbal son to strangers, but I had an instantly good feeling about the staff and facility when I first looked around last summer and I know that, somehow, Joshua would find a way to tell me if he was not happy there. He can readily opt out if he is not enjoying something and I do not get this sense at all in this case. He indicated to them clearly that he wanted to go to bed and they responded and even put his beloved Lion King on to watch in his room as he drifted off to sleep. What could be better?