“Why, pa, why me? ” Shiva cried out as he held a picture of his mother In his hand while his father tried to comfort him. “It’s okay. Son, everything is going to be fine,” his father said with a little sniffle. “No, how she could dead Just so? Dye say she was getting better! ” Shiva shouted. Shiva and his father, Angus, had Just come from the funeral of his mother, Janice, who had died after being treated for months for an aggressive tumor on her leg.
He was the second of her two sons and, because he was a Downs Syndrome child, she devoted herself to his care and she had the sources to educate him because she was a trained teacher.
It took him 2 years to walk and, even at 14, his speech was not clear. He had actually said his first words at 6 after much coaching. He was a hyperactive child, noisy, clumsy and restless but his mother was determined that he should develop every ounce of his potential.
In this she was greatly helped by the special school he attended. He attended Lady Hooky Special School from the age of six months in the Early Intervention Programmer where his mother, a physiotherapist and volunteers did exercises to stimulate his brain.
Then, as he grew, he was trained with speech therapy, occupational therapy, functional academics, social skills and basic life skills. Shiva had settled down nicely and was beginning to learn the lessons he was being taught when the tragedy struck.
He was 14 and alone with his father who had played very little part in his life up to then and his brother who was about to leave for university. He was comfortable at Lady Hooky School where everybody knew him and he would have been happy to remain there but his father had other ideas. I’m withdrawing Shiva from this school”, he told the astonished principal who pointed out that Shiva still had a lot to learn. “But Sir that’s not the best idea because Shiva still has a lot more he can learn here. He should stay in school,” said the principal trying to convince Kevin. “No. Shiva is no longer attending this school,” Kevin said while handing her the forms to confirm It. There was no way to convince him because, what he did not reveal, was that he was unwilling to transport the child back and forth to Lady Hooky when his own school where he was the principal was on the other side of town.
His plan which he immediately put into effect was to put Shiva to work in his school as a janitor. That way there was no transportation problem, Shiva would learn a skill and make some money. That Is exactly what happened. Angus got him a Job at Central Park School, assigned a worker to train him and Shiva before long mastered the simple, repetitive tasks involved in keeping a school clean. He took great pride in keeping the school spotless and would often pop into his father’s office to ask “Pa, how you find I doing? ” His father would smile and say, “Son, you doing great.
I reel proud of you. ” During the Christmas vacation there was no work of any sort for Silva to do. So his father looked into getting him a Christmas job which was not an easy task as Shiva had a slight disadvantage. Then Kevin remembered that he was good friends with Keith Khan, owner of Keith Khan’s Bookstore, as they went to the same school, Queens Royal College and they talked occasionally. So he gave hell a call. “Eye Keith my boy, was d scene? ” Said Kevin. “I good boy. What going on? ” Replied Keith. Could come and work in the shop? ” Said Kevin. “Yea of course he can come!
Replied Keith happily. “Tanks boy tanks a lot. ” Said Kevin gratefully. Shiva’s Job was to unpack the books onto the shelves and his weekly salary was pretty good which had him buoyant and his father was very proud of him. He kept that Job until school started back when he returned to his other Job. Angus and Shiva grew quite close. They went everywhere together. They went to cricket fete matches, running in the park, to the beach and even to the bar. Shiva began to imitate his father’s mannerisms – as his father drank a beer, Just so he drank a coke asking for it o be ‘beastly cold’!
By imitation and training, he was learning to be a man. Then Angus retired from his Job so Shiva retired also but while Angus was 60, Shiva was only 22 and needed to continue working. So Angus took Shiva’s savings and started a business which they called “Shiva’s Cleaners”. They bought a pick-up truck and a power washer and mops and brooms and Angus used his contacts to get Jobs. Now and he and Shiva were in business. Shiva loved working in and with water, he was good at what he did and he made an honest living. Disability is clearly not inability.