World: This week my world news is close to home, this is a friend of mine who has set up a Go Fund me. If you can help, even the smallest amount will help.
My World: This week I finally finished decorating my spare room, next week the carpet is being fitted and I’ll post a picture. Can’t wait to get everything back in and out of my room. Not much other than work this week.
My Word: Finished the final edit on book three in The Children from the Streets series. Just need to do a read through and then make it go live. Yay!
This week I’ve decided not to do a round-up of the week, instead I’m dedicating this blog post as a tribute to a man who I loved, as a friend, who lost his battle with depression on Wednesday 27th March taking his own life.
I met Liam about eighteen years ago when he started working for Westbrook respite unit in Heston, west London as a carer for young people with disabilities/special needs. My son Mark has special needs and received respite care at Westbrook. With a sense of humour like Mark’s he was bound to hit it off with Liam straight away, and yes you can say he got that humour from me, his mum, so stands to reason that Liam and I would also click.
The first time I met Liam he said to me “I heard you had diarrhoea.” Information gained from my delightful son, he knew the intimate details of my bowel movements, there was no secrets too big to hide now.
Liam as it turned out was a fantastic carer and Mark bonded with him straight away, but Mark wasn’t easy. Mark is a charming young man with Epilepsy, brain damage, ADHD, ODD and behaviours on the Autistic spectrum but to put it into a neater package with a bow we’ll summarise it as he has huge anxieties and obsessions. In those days it wasn’t understood what was causing his anxieties and how to deal with it so it led to a lot of confusion and inevitably violent behaviour as Mark struggled to make himself understood.
At that time Mark required 2:1 support and Liam became his key worker and Lee Allen joined Liam as his co-key worker which made up a part of his core team. They named themselves the “Mark Squad.” My son certainly gave them shit, but he also graced them with his sense of humour.
Liam never gave up on my son but not only did he support him, but he supported me too, in my darkest hours he would pull me back from the brink using empathy and humour. And boy did he have a sense of humour. He even started flirting with one of the social workers in an attempt to get her on board and try to get her to cut me some slack. Without making this all about our trials, social services and I disagreed about the right path for my son. Being the stubborn bitch I was I didn’t give up and I was right. Liam helped me, sometimes with a subtle hint as to what I should be looking at in my battle – I can say that now.
We used to joke that Liam could be Mark’s dad (I’m a single mum) if we’d actually had sex, because they were both large, slobbishly dressed (at times), with beer bellies and builder’s bums. I would have been honoured if my son had had a man with Liam’s kindness and integrity as his father.
Mark had a whole load of sayings and would often twist the lyrics (innocently I might add) in order to add the name of someone he liked into it. These were labelled as “Markisms”, Liam and Lee ended up writing down the list of Markisms after they stopped working with him which Liam sent to me years later.
I’d like to share some of the funny things and experiences we had with this amazing man who will forever have a place in my heart:
Some of the Markisms:
Example: “Where you from, you sexy Liam.” taken from Hot Chocolate’s “You sexy thing.”
But the best one, in my opinion, was as Liam told me with a mortified look, when they were walking through a busy Hounslow high street and Mark starts singing out, at the top of his voice “I’m forever blowing Liam’s.” At which point Liam informs me he denied all knowledge of being Liam.
I think Liam’s favourite, though, was when Mark said to him “Liam you’re the nicest man I know… and the fattest.” Liam had been quite choked up by the first part of the statement but my son’s rapier sharp wit amused him no end.
On one occasion Liam and Lee were having to restrain Mark to stop him from smashing everything in sight, windows were his main target and his best ever total was twenty-five smashed in one day. Anyway this particular day, they were having to restrain him, (take a look at them in the picture) they were on the floor holding onto his arms, I was bent over holding his legs down. Somehow Mark managed to rip loose of both men (look again at the size of them) launched himself forward, grabbed a handful of what Liam had called my ‘Laurence Llewelyn Bowen’ shirt and ripped it open, buttons disappearing in all directions. I was on all fours, facing them all, shirt open with only a bra underneath. I had to make a snap decision, cover my modesty but let Liam and Lee take the brunt of Mark’s flailing legs or wait till someone else took over…I waited with a command for them to look away. It might not have been fun at the time but it certainly was something we laughed about afterwards. I have loads of these little stories, Mark provided us with ample opportunity to make memories!
Mark lost his place at Westbrook after smashing twenty-five windows in one rage filled episode, neither Liam nor Lee were with him at the time. Renu, a colleague at Westbrook who also worked closely with Mark through the years told me on Friday night, that the first time she’d ever seen Liam cry was when this incident happened and they were having a drink down the pub discussing it. It wasn’t just a job to Liam, he truly cared.
Liam stayed in contact with Mark and I, even when as an adult, Mark moved to Lincolnshire, he still met up with us on one of Mark’s visits and they would play scrabble, back in the day on Facebook, as would Liam and I. We chatted regularly on Facebook, I took a trip down memory lane earlier and decided to share a few snippets.
Liam was a lovely, caring man with a quirky sense of humour, he was by no means perfect… none of us are, and despite helping so many people he was battling his own demons and lived in a dark world that ended up enveloping him so that he saw no way out. I wish it had been different, I wish he could have found peace.
Liam and I had very different tastes in music and it was often something we bantered about. So I would like to dedicate a song to you Liam, it’s not Bon Jovi but neither is it Beth Orton.
You got a face not spoiled by beauty I have some scars from where I’ve been You’ve got eyes that can see right through me You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen I was told that I would feel nothing the first time I don’t know how these cuts heal But in you I found a rhyme
If there is a light you can’t always see And there is a world we can’t always be If there is a dark that we shouldn’t doubt And there is a light, don’t let it go out And this is a song, song for someone This is a song, song for someone
You let me in to a conversation A conversation only we could make You break and enter my imagination Whatever’s in there it’s yours to take I was told I’d feel nothing the first time You were slow to heal but this could be the night
If there is a light you can’t always see And there is a world we can’t always be If there is a dark within and without And there is a light, don’t let it go out And this is a song, song for someone This is a song, a song for someone
And I’m a long long way from your Hill of Calvary And I’m a long way from where I was and where I need to be If there is a light you can’t always see And there is a world we can’t always be If there is a kiss I stole from your mouth And there is a light, don’t let it go out
Liam, your light hasn’t gone out as it shines on in this world through the lives of the people you’ve touched.