I had been struggling for a number of days on how to put this post together.
On July 16th 1996 I was blessed to witness the birth of my youngest child and 2nd son Darren Patrick Fitzgerald. In the coming years his short life was full of struggles of various kinds. Darren was born with microcephaly , a Neurological condition. In his short life he had a struggle with seizures on a daily basis, sometimes upwards of between 45 and 80 Peti-Mal Seizures.
But the biggest struggle was on the basis of rights. As a Child with Profound Special Needs, He was classified (in my view) as unworthy and thus not worth bothering with or investing in his Primary needs BY society and more so by Health and Governmental officials. Sadly it was a struggle for parents of Special need children, to have the adequate health Needs and More importantly Their Primary Educational needs.
This is purely on the basis that (a) Primary Education begins at the very moment a parent teaches their child to carry out the very basic tasks in life. and (b) Children with special Needs are in need of such Primary education just like any other child. It is just that their ability to learn basic skills will have to be broken down to the simplest steps for them to lean. And so it goes for any step in life. Our problems as parents was that there was No Readily available Programs set and prepared for Darren. We eventually had to seek ruling from The Irish High court to direct Educational and Health Boards to provide for our Child as it was set out in the Irish constitution. To Cut a long story a lot shorter, we eventually gained the ruling we needed for Darren in June of 2001.
On September 3rd of that same year he began his first day in a school environment where he was to learn the skills needed in life. Sadly all our dreams and plans were to come crashing to a halt on 20th September 2001, when our Sweet little gentle Son Darren became ill. He had contacted a rare form of Viral Meningitis and within 10 hours was on Life support fighting for his life. In the early hours we held our little boy in our arms as he took his last breath and passed away fro
This little child Taught us and more so , He taught me so much about Life and how fragile life could be. He taught me How gentle and innocent the love of a child was. He also thought me that ALL Children were worth spending time with and most of all we as adults owe it to the young to spend any moment we could with such children. Especially those with special needs. After all we do learn from them as you can.
So many years have passed and I still remember and recall my young gentle son with a broken heart and with deep love that can only be written in words that I rarely place out for others to see.. Some months after his death I penned the following poem in memory of my son and a boy who thought me more than a lifetime without could ever do.
Thus this is my tribute to my young son whose 24th Birthday would have been July 16th. I do hope that you enjoy this poem as it has not been looked upon or placed anywhere in so many years.
This poem was written in memory of my darling son Darren, whose short life touched the hearts of many. Though they called him handicapped, his life paved a path forever shared with love.
Darren Fitzgerald 16/7/1996 – 26/9/2001
Come sweet butterfly, come fly on by,
Where innocence reigns as a little child.
Your presence about will make me cry,
Leaving memories that appears so wild.
Though they said you were special needs,
withheld by hands that could not see,
A beauty within had laid the seeds,
An undying love, aged life could ne’er be.
Come sweet butterfly, come fly to me,
Come settle by my weary side.
And tell some tales, what makes you free?
Come sweet butterfly and here abide.
The summer’s sun, no longer seen
That warms your way to my door.
Come sweet butterfly for I am keen,
To hold you close, yet even more!
There came a day, detached from time.
Sweet butterfly, your loss a painful part.
A slice played sweet butterfly, that’s mine,
In the bewildered remains of a broken heart.
Always remembered, you’re always dear.
How freedom called you to soar above,
Go sweet butterfly you’ve found some cheer.
Forever dancing with the angles in love.
Copyright ©2002 Patrick Fitzgerald