…A Year On…

Ethan and Me
Ethan and Me

My eyes scan the screen. I read and re-read what they had typed. They are the ones who are paving the way for me and others like me. They never asked for that “job“. No one would ever ask for that “job.” Against a backdrop of heartbreak and isolation, they type.

I read about how they feel. I can relate.

I read about heartbreak. I can relate.

I read about the date—the day that everything stopped. I can relate.

They share their memories of the date.

The date that created a ‘before‘ and an ‘after‘.

The date flashes glimpses of the worst day of their lives and forces them to relive it.

Relive the shock.

Relive the devastation as their world spun out of control with little sense.

The date: the date their child passed away.

They talk about the ‘after‘; the broken version of themselves; the versions who can’t move one day, to the versions who appear to be doing ‘ok’-whatever ‘ok’ really means, eh?

I can relate to it all. I wish I couldn’t.

They talk about the ‘before‘, when the world was bright and when they were bright. 

It happened so suddenly. I had not expected it; no one had. 

September 23rd 2020 started as most mornings did when Ethan was in respite. I slept in. I slept in until 7.45 am. A phone call at 8am changed everything. Ethan was having trouble breathing and an ambulance had been called. We were not unfamiliar with these types of phone calls. Ethan had just started at a new center, and they had to be very cautious when dealing with young adults like Ethan. I thought they were over-reacting and that Ethan was doing what he had always done; keeping new people on their toes. This thought, however, didn’t stifle the familiar panic I felt every time we had a similar phone call about Ethan. 

It was only when I saw the ambulance and my beautiful little boy on a stretcher that I realised that this was not the new people overreacting. I think, looking back now, that was the first moment my heart broke that day. I knew without a doubt that my boy was in trouble. 

Ethan passed away ten hours later at 6.15pm. 

I’m at a loss for words to describe what happens to you as a parent when you’re told your son isn’t going to make it.

None of it seemed real. How could Ethan be leaving us? I would have seen if he was sick. He wasn’t sick. Which, in my mind, meant that they were wrong.

Ethan had given us plenty of scares over the years, but I knew that when his time came, I would see it coming.

I was wrong. 

…And almost a year later, it still doesn’t feel real…

Ethan’s first year away from us is approaching. I still have no explanation as to how I am still here, still typing and still getting up each morning. But I am here. 

I try to think about Ethan’s life, not his passing. That’s hard to do.

We will put an anniversary notice in the paper, we will have a mass said, and we will go to his resting place.

But on the day itself, the 23rd of September at 6.15pm, we will watch one of Ethan’s favourite movies (Shrek!) Eat his favourite food (toast), drink his favourite drink, ‘Binea’ (Ribena), and finish it off by having “Skips” and “Hice-Cream”.

My boy lived. He lived. 

*Remember Ethan with a smile and a big wet sloppy kiss on Thursday, September 23rd*

And if you want to call over to us, you know where we are ~ we blove hearing Ethie stories.

Ethan giving his aunty a lovely sloppy kiss!




Kevin Willetts
September 16, 2021 at 3:49 am

I like to give Rupert sloppy kisses too.so on 23rd September 6.15pm, I will think of Ethan and you all.

Sinead Maher
November 4, 2021 at 11:44 am

I am just heartbroken to read Ethans story. I remember being in your house with Lisa as a child and Ethan was only a baby. I remember your brother Liam well too. I slept at your house most Friday nights. I am so truly sorry to hear this awful news. You are making Ethan so proud the way you are handling things. Rest In Peace your beautiful son and your brother Liam

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