When your child has a condition that can’t be cured, where do you look for answers? This is how one mother’s story of love, intuition and special parenting came to be written…
Last night, I dreamed I was walking along a narrow cliff path with a group of other people. I had the uncomfortable sensation of doing something I didn’t want to do. Then, I just stopped. I lay down on a sloping shelf of rock and refused to go any further. Others in the party, who had been holding back from the leaders, persuaded me that I could leave the narrow path and walk directly down the hillside. So I did, and discovered it was very easy: there was nothing to be scared of.
Within minutes, I came to a promontory overlooking an airy view of an open plain. There was a shop built on the overhang: it sold clothes made of a special kind of paper. They were beautiful: like smooth, silken garments to wear close to the skin. They were even the colours of skin and parchment. I felt slightly in awe: I knew this was a special place.
The owner of the shop was a woman of my age, very friendly, and she put me at my ease. We talked for a while about the clothes, and then she directed me down, into that airy landscape which became solid and earthy beneath my feet.
I came to a building that I was reluctant to enter. Inside, I found a set of miniature figures, bluish in colour. There was a baby, lying in a manger. When I picked it up, I saw that it wasn’t a conventional baby with rounded arms and legs. It was slender and long-limbed, just like our young disabled son Timmy.
I looked closer. Entwined with the baby was a mother, wearing long robes like the Virgin Mary. And then, also entwined, I saw a little angel.
Mother, son and angel.
I felt, somehow, that I needed to breathe life into them, help them to lose that bluish colour and become pink and healthy….
I woke up this morning from that dream feeling puzzled, sad, and optimistic. A sense of beauty, truth and purpose lingered with me for hours.
Then, this afternoon, an editor at a publishing company rang me. I was half-expecting her call because our mutual friend, Tessa, had walked with her in nearby Richmond Park and told her about Timmy, his dad Steven and me. Tessa has a knack of appearing in my life at opportune moments.
During our phone call, the editor was friendly, and keen to publish my account of Timmy’s birth and first three years.
“I’d like to call it The Miracle Child”, she said.
I wasn’t sure. Would Timmy mind when he was older? But then I remembered my dream. The editor reminded me strongly of the friendly owner of the shop on the promontory. And I thought about the skin-coloured, paper clothes in her shop: they were like truthful books reflecting accurately the person inside them.
I wanted to be the sort of person who wrote truthful books – even if it hurt.
In the dream the woman had directed me downwards towards something that I felt reluctant to examine. It wasn’t hard to work out why I wasn’t keen. The bluish colour of the miniature figures reminded me of the day that Timmy was born. Of the moment when he had stopped breathing and turned that exact bluish shade. Despite the sad memory, the dream had felt good. And then I realised something: it’s time to examine Timmy’s beginnings in more detail. Doing so might help me to understand what has happened to us. It might help others in similar situations.
On one level, last night’s dream seemed to be about following my own intuition and finding my own true path. In the beginning of the dream I had felt uncomfortable and eventually broke free from the prescribed route. In reality, Timmy’s dad and I have felt increasingly uncomfortable with much of the medical advice we’ve been given, and we have learned to follow our instincts.
Timmy has benefitted from our heart-felt decisions. He is healthier and more vibrant that I think he would otherwise have been. That has to be worth telling.
Angels to look after us
There was one other element in my dream: the angel. I’m not entirely sure what this meant, but I know it has everything to do with the spiritual dimension of life. This is the part that’s hardest to write about. I am not a religious person – spiritual, yes; religious, no. Nevertheless, I know that an awareness of what lies beyond the surface of life has been an influential factor in our story.
From time to time, it seems to me that I perceive another dimension, half-visible at certain moments, which seems to interface with our waking reality, and influence it benignly. This perception has not always been welcome to me. During my early career years, I managed pretty well to ignore it, and the many forms it took: quiet inner words of guidance; unusual incidents that seem to have a luminous quality; and half-glimpses of a translucent world that overlays our own. But parenting Timmy has made it impossible to ignore.
Stuff tends to happen around Timmy: things hard to explain, but clearly benevolent. So over time, I have moved from a state of fear, to one in which I tend to trust in the simple, invisible kindness of life.
I have also learned to listen to my dreams and they’ve rewarded me by becoming increasingly prophetic – like beautiful guidebooks to help me through hazardous patches that we’re about to encounter.
The equation I’ve learnt is a simple one: if I worry and try to fix things from a state of fear, I end up messing things up.
If, on the other hand, I listen to my feelings and my intuition; if I go with opportunities that come out of the blue and somehow feel good; if I trust that things will end up well… then they generally do.
About the author
Suzanne Askham is a writer, an editor and an author of several books. A former consumer magazine and national newspaper journalist, she is currently the editor of Spiritus, the membership magazine of The Healing Trust, where she is also a trustee. She runs her own holistic practice which focuses on healing and meditation. Suzanne is a mother of two, including a young man with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Suzanne graduated with a degree in English from Trinity College, Cambridge. She lives with her family in Wiltshire UK.
‘This One is Special’ by Suzanne Askham is published by O-Books and is available through Amazon.
Be sure to tune in to the interview Natalie had with Suzanne on April 8, 2020...............you will love it:
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