The hardest post I have ever done. It's definitely this one. Whilst everyone else is sitting down to dinner tonight, getting their kids ready for bed or just watching the news, my friend is grieving a loss too great to ever imagine. Her world has stopped and her heart has broken as has mine and anyone else who knew the special little boy we are all mourning with heavy hearts tonight.
Nearly two years ago, I walked into an early intervention playgroup with the suspicion that my own child had Autism and I can tell you, the last place I wanted to be was in the entry way of that room that held that playgroup.
However..... the first person I met that day was a lady called Fiona. Her son was Luke and Luke was on the Autism Spectrum too. I sat down next to this woman and I cried. I howled in a way that rivaled any Hollywood Academy award winning actress receiving an Oscar. I was broken, devastated and absolutely bereft that my family was facing this thing called Autism.
This incredibly open and incredibly down to earth woman offered a non judgmental shoulder and ear and then made me laugh. Can I take this opportunity to say that not many people on the planet could have made me laugh in that moment but Fiona did. You know, I cannot even remember the exact comment but I can remember the feeling and I vowed from that moment that I would never forget the time this incredible woman made me laugh in a moment that I would really have expected to be sobbing.
So I was lucky enough to make friends with Fiona, Tom and all of Luke's family including Jess and Jared his beloved sister and brother. My son, J had a bond with Luke's brother, Jared that included cars, fights, cars, bites, cars and being incredibly bad influences on each other but they did have a bond and Fiona and I laughed over many things including the cars, fights, bites and more bloody cars.....
Around the time I decided to start writing special stories for special kids I asked Fiona if I could write a story for Luke as he was starting school soon so I figured his teachers might need some help understanding him and I needed the practice. I thought writing about kids I knew would be a great start to help me write for others.
Fiona agreed and I wrote Luke's Story. Luke was the first little soul I wrote a special story for aside from my own son, J.
I always knew I'd hold a special spot in my heart for Luke. My first real My Special Story. Fiona's was my first real testimonial that my stories might be helpful for special kids.
This morning I awoke to the most horrific news I could have ever heard. I received a text message asking me if I knew the little boy who drowned in my local area the night before. See here. I was groggy and still half asleep. What boy? What are they talking about? I was very confused and wondered what was going on....
My beautiful sister phoned me and delivered terrible terrible news. She told me my friend had lost her boy. She told me Luke Selwyn had wandered off late yesterday afternoon and after a massive police search had been found drowned in the dam of a nearby property over 7 hours later.
To say I was distraught does not come close to describing the feeling in my gut, my brain and my heart. I howled like the day I sat near Fiona and poured out the grief that my own boy was facing a diagnosis of this mysterious Autism....... I sat today and sobbed. I sobbed for my friend. My eyes are barely open as I type from the tears I have shed today for this beautiful soul I was privelleged enough to know and love.
My own son J who has Autism showed real and genuine concern for my tears and even wiped them as they streamed down my face today. Both of my boys, knew in their hearts Mummy was very very sad. I am sure they do not understand the actual events but they definitely understood their mother was nursing a broken heart on behalf of her friend who's heart must surely be in a million tiny pieces and who's pain is unimaginable and makes my tears flow freely again now.
Luke loved nature, he loved his family and he loved his stick collection. He even had a special box for his treasured sticks. Luke loved animals including his dogs Ben and Bonnie (both heroes who tried to save Luke from the dam). He loved big squishy, tight hugs, wrestling with Ben the labrador, big jumps on his trampoline and would gently take you by the hand to find a dvd he wanted to watch if you visited the family home.
Luke had started to talk and had a few words. He said "book" one morning out of the blue and gave everyone who knew him a reason to do a cartwheel of joy for this amazing achievement that he said some words!
Anyone who has met a child with Autism knows how complicated they are and that with all the good, with all the wisdom they hold in their complex natures and all of the joy they give they also hold mystery, difficulty and social complications but today, I would like only to celebrate the joy of Luke. The joy of what he brought to this world and the friendship he fostered between his mum and me.
To Fiona and Tom, my heart will be forever changed, broken, filled up and joyous that I knew your boy.
To everyone else, I ask you to think about this deliciously pure soul we lost and whatever your beliefs are today please remember that this little boy is an angel forever more who is loved and missed by all of us.
RIP Luke Selwyn.