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Living with Luke 10

May 28, 2013


A love letter to Tiddles.

You came into this world in October 1998, having been eagerly waited for for the previous 9 months.  Apart from a couple of minor scares along the way, the pregnancy was good.  When you were born, there was a minor problem in that your body temp wouldn’t rise.  One of the first pictures of you was you asleep wearing a knitted blue hat to keep your head warm.  Me, TCMH and The Eldest Child, your brother, all adored you and couldn’t wait to get you home.

Time passed.  I adored being your dad, and looking back now, even the sleepless nights weren’t really that much of a hassle.  You were beautiful, like your brother.  You did everything you were supposed to do, but then you started to disappear.  Little by little you faded.  I still adored you, but it was starting to become a one way street.  I didn’t mind.  Not much anyway.  You still needed me, and that was good enough for me.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.

More time passed.  Lots of things happened.  You were diagnosed as Autistic.  I stayed strong for you, but inside it broke my heart.  You went to school, and I worried every day about you.  I worried that you wouldn’t be liked, that your teachers would give up on you, that your support would do the opposite and not support you.  I needn’t have worried.  Everybody adored you almost as much as I did.  But still you slipped away.  Like a tide going out, you seemed to get further and further away from me, and I hated it. 

But it still didn’t matter.  I was your dad.  You still needed me, just not as much as you used to. I consider myself a strong person, and when you’ve been living with depression for 40 years you have to be, but every so often I need you to hug me, and let me cry inside.

I taught you to swim, to ride a bike.  I read to you at night and did all the dad things.  But still you drifted across to your own land, to Narnia, where everything was perfect for you.  But I couldn’t get there and instead had to wait for you to visit me.

And then you developed your epilepsy.  Again I stayed strong for you, but again my heart burst inside me.

You tolerate my existence. I get the odd kiss now and again, but only if asked for one. You cry when your mum goes out, but you barely acknowledge my exits.  You sit with me when you want something, and never just for a cuddle.  You have no idea what the word ‘love’ is, so when I say it to you, it’s now just an automatic response to repeat it back. I cannot show you just how important you are in my life, the way that I can with The Eldest Child and TCMH. I’ve failed.


I know that every time you look at me, however fleetingly, I know that I am exactly where I should be.  It doesn’t matter how much you scream or shout, or how much you ignore me, I know it and you know it.

You will never read this letter Tiddles, so you will never know that I’ve said this, but…

I love you Luke Hannam. I am well aware that that means nothing to you and probably never will, but you are my little boy and you always will be and I will love you and protect you until I die. 

Love from your Dad…


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  1. Good morning Steve – you may remember Natalie -and Allison of course- from shows choreographed by Her Indoors? Blog 10 rang such a whopping bell, I thought I’d share it, so you don’t feel quite so alone?

    A while ago Nat and I paid Alli a long-overdue visit. She was just clearing Johnathan’s (severely autistic) lunch left-overs away, then he sat on her lap for a few moments before returning to watching his videos, which he does constantly. And just for a few moments he snuggled into Alli’s neck.

    “See – he does love you” exclaimed our lovely, caring Nat.
    “He does that ’cause it is warm”, says Alli, matter-of-fact, calm, kindly as always she is.

    I’m not as good a person as these two, I wanted to cry, howl, shake someone. But who. Who gave us the children we got, that we love and love lots and endlessly – but did not give us an instruction booklet?

    Could I have saved my girl? My beautiful, talented, funny, feisty girl who I ache for every day, every minute? Will we ever know?
    Love Jo x

  2. You’re a great and loving dad.

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