For those of you who have been regular readers of my blog you will know that I have a son with extra needs. Simon lives in a supported living complex and has done so now for the last 4 years. This in itself is an amazing acheivement as Simon lived with me for 32 years and this move created some much needed space between us. He does however still need a lot of support which can often lead to me having to get in my car at the drop of a hat and make my way down to rescue or support him from or in the latest crazy situation that has occured. This blog is the result of thinking back on the last bit of craziness and worry.
It was 2 pm in the afternoon and I was making my way to a nearby town to enjoy a coffee with a friend. As I was driving my mind was full of worry. I felt a little sad for myself that another coffee date was going to be overshadowed with the worry that I hadn’t heard from Simon since the previous day. This might not seem unusual to you reader, but Simon rings me multiple times in a day so if all is quiet I generally know that something is amiss. Its like that feeling you get when your children are young and all goes quiet, you just know that they are up to no good or that something has happened. The thing is I still get that feeling regularly and Simon is 36.
Having done a family ring round, no one had heard from him that day, not his dad nor his brothers or sister so it was all looking a bit suspect and of course the whole family were now alerted to the fact that something was not right. I enjoyed my coffee date none the less, and it was good to be able to share my worries with a friend who has been there with me as I navigate life with Simon, but by the time I left for home I had gone through every possible scenario in my mind and even practised my speech for his funeral. The mind can be a runaway train when fear and worry are taking over.
It was time to ring his supported living complex and on doing so they had not seen or heard from him since 9.30, it was now 4 o clock and it was getting dark. In my mind Simon was definitely laid in a ditch somewhere having been beaten up, or in a hospital having been run over or or or or DEAD! I battled all these thoughts and tried to push them down with the little thought that said “He will be ok, he will turn up none the wiser for the worry he has caused” but it wasn’t an easy task. At the end of the conversation with one of the carers it was decided that we would report him missing if he wasn’t back by 8pm. 8pm! thats 4 hours away and off my mind went again on its traumatic journey.
At 8pm the police were alerted, i’m quite sure that this was a task in itself with all the questions that ensued…..at 9pm Simon rolled up, drunk, and the story began to unfold.
He had popped out at 9.30 to go to the bank and had left his phone at home. On the way to taking out his daily allowance he had bumped into a man of about the same age who he really didn’t know. This man asked Simon to go for a drink and paid for Simons beer all day (how could Simon refuse!) he also paid for Simon to have a hair cut (strange). As the day of drinking turned to the evening and more drink at the mans flat he had persuaded Simon to exchange some of his nice clothes with some of the mans not so nice clothes. The police arrived at about 10pm and of course the story had to be relayed to them. Albeit from a rather tipsy and vulnerable Simon.
What were this mans intentions? Simons brother is working for a new company and is able to get some nicely branded clothes at a good price so Simon is walking the streets looking dapper at the moment, but at 36 shouldn’t this be a freedom that he is entitled too. Did the man want something from Simon knowing he was vulnerable, was he going to ask him for a dodgy favour of some sort, or did he just want his clothes? We may never know the answers to these questions but the unfolding of the story highlighted just how very vulnerable Simon is. It was a year more or less to the day since Simon was mugged as he walked back from the shop one evening.
Independant living with carers onsite is the best situation for Simon to live the most independant life possible for him. it does however leaves him vulnerable to an outside world that isn’t always kind and is often only looking out for itself and its own wants and desires and Simon is so trusting.
I worry, I don’t think I will ever be free of that. There have been so many crazy incidents over the years that I wonder sometimes how long we can keep getting away with it, but for now I can look back and be thankful that Simon came through this experience fairly unscathed, even if without his own trousers!
I was talking to a friend a little while ago about all the crazy, funny, dangerous, scary scenarios that we have to face as we do life with Simon. “You could’nt write it” I said. “Maybe you should” he said. Do you know what! I think maybe one day I will!
Love Alison x