Within two weeks, Edward’s speech had started to improve, but his co-ordination had deteriorated. We did not know if this was a further manifestation of the brain damage, or if perhaps it were mimicry. He was in a school where ‘normal’ behaviours were the exception. The more dysfunctional he became, the more attention he received. I believed he was bored and putting on an act, but with clinical evidence of brain damage, there was little to support my theory. Michael refused to discuss the situation and I felt very far from home.
Edward was on prayer lists in England and South Africa, but the only thing that did improve was his speech.
Meanwhile the emotional gap between Michael and I grew wider and I look back on that year with shame. Divorce was imminent, but instead of facing up to the confrontations and hurt, I ran away. As always, my refuge lay in England. One afternoon I picked the children up from school and drove straight to the airport, leaving a trail of devastation behind me. In my haste to leave, I omitted to pack common sense and loyalty, instead taking a suitcase full of irresponsibility. This time my parents weren’t so thrilled to see me.
However, Nigel’s first wife, Sarah squashed everyone up together and made room for us all in their tiny cottage. She listened to me long into the night and encouraged me wisely. Nigel was away most of the time, perhaps it coincided with the time he was flying aid into Africa for the Save the Children Fund.
I enrolled the children at the village school, but because Edward had been at a special school, he was not immediately accepted. He was subjected to another run of the same tests, which I felt were quite unnecessary as we knew what the results would be.
But we were wrong. This brain scan showed absolutely no evidence of damage. The doctor we saw told me that there was nothing wrong with Edward, except low self-esteem. There were children in conventional schools who had worse speech problems than him, and he could be seen by the peripatetic speech therapist. Our prayers had been answered after all. The two brain scans could have been from two different children. But they weren’t. Our little boy had been healed and we had witnessed a miracle.