365 Happy Days – A smile a day – Part 35

I’m sitting here wanting to write this evening but not really knowing what direction I’ll go in.  As always Luke has been on my mind a lot, his brother is facing some adversity at the moment and to a degree that brings back that old feeling of panic that I felt so often, if I’m honest, when it came to Luke.

I’ve written a fair bit about the trials and tribulations of being Luke’s Mum, once he started Secondary School I learnt all about having a problem child.  Lets just say that school and Luke just didn’t get on!  By todays’ standards I’d have had fines aplenty for the time both of my boys spent on the street rather than in the school.

Jake tells me he used to hide a bag of clothes in the bushes then set of for school,  funnily enough if he had the chance now he’d do things very differently!  If only kids knew as much they thought they did!


I can only describe those years when Luke was being pursued by the police as one of under stated panic each time the phone went.  I was a consultant in schools for most of that time – I can recall being at a school a good hour from home when I got the phone call to say that Luke had been arrested in school.

I’m still outraged that the school allowed that to happen, on the word of someone who’d been caught red handed. Accused of stealing a Royal Mail bag – that felt so serious at the time – I can conjure up how awful I felt as I drove back to go to the Police Station where my first born was locked in a cell.

That was to be the 1st of many such phone calls and trips to police cells, I think I probably grew numb to it over the years.  I’d say that in a way all that prepared me for what was to come.


I’m drawn back to Luke’s letters at this point – I think my writing has given a good sense of me as a person and indeed in many ways of Luke.  But to take a few more of his words rather than mine will tell you more.  So, a few snippets,

A new boy came today and he seems frightened and upset,  so I will try to make it easier for him I gave him a few mail envelopes to write his mum,

I am missing you terribly and can’t wait until my next visit

As much as Luke was a nuisance he was a kind lad, he survived his time in a cell by being mindful of others and treating the others all the same.

I have seen more and more fights here which aint good (sorry isn’t good)

As you can see my handwriting still is crap so I have asked for help

A bit of foresight on Luke’s part – he must have imagined how I’d correct his younger brothers’ texts when I don’t like the grammar!  And my word yes his handwriting was awful!  And I’m not good on punctuation but boy oh boy Luke’s?  Virtually non existent!

I am constantly worried about you accidents can happen so easily so please be careful

Now that line?  Makes me feel very sad, but it also tells me how much love Luke felt.

In a really strange way the events when Luke was going through building to and being ASBO boy, although pretty awful at the time, gave me far more time with him than would be usual for a teenager.  I have the letters he sent from prison, another very unusual thing, I’m actually very grateful to be able to pick them up and read them.

Luke with his friend Paul in Thailand
Luke with his friend Paul in Thailand

One of the points of writing this blog is to try to help others who may be facing or have faced adversity of any kind really.  I can say with my hand on my heart that I’m happy, happy in spite of a deep sadness that will always be inside me.

But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t describe the feelings that at times come along and threaten to overwhelm me – It’ll often be when I’m looking at a photo of Luke, a feeling of total disbelief comes over me, the feeling of loss is so intense I can barely breath, barely believe it’s true.

But it is true, my son died on July 14th 2009 – that was the day that changed not only my life but the rest of Luke’s family’s lives.  I think that feeling will always suddenly appear, losing a child must be one of the very worst things that can happen in life, it would be wrong if I didn’t shed tears for Luke.


But, it would also be wrong if I didn’t live the life he can’t, if I didn’t smile and indeed try to spread that smile.  At the beginning it’s all about finding joy in small things, as you learn that it really is ok to smile, to laugh, to feel happy.  Then you move into your life after your child died – I had 3 children, now I have 2.  But, I also have my New Normal – for me accepting that is the key to finding a way to live.

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