Mother's book details the ups and downs of raising her son
February 27, 2014
Peterborough This Week
By Lance Armstrong
Paul Tiler has finally caught his bus. For almost four years, Mr. Tiller, 28, has been living an independently despite a serious genetic disorder that has rendered him intellectually challenged. Since his birth, his adoptive mother Lucinda Hage has been her son's voice, his advocate as she prepared him for the day to live on his own. That day finally came a few years ago which granted Ms Hage time to write a book about the life she built for her son and what it took to finally get him ready to leave her home. The book, entitled 'What time is the 9:20 bus?', is now available for purchase.
"It was part of the plan for Paul to be independent and live in his own place. We started thinking about that when he was in high school," says Ms Hage. "We needed a plan for the future."Ms Hage, and her husband Murray Leadbeater, received much support from the group Homes For Life. Families would gather regularly to talk about ways to help their children with disabilities live independent lives once they reached adulthood. Ms Hage says families recognize the importance of helping their children move from the home to give each of them a sense of self.It took a huge support circle to make the transition work. From employers to social workers, several people came together to give Mr. Tiller the confidence and tools he needed to finally move from the comforts of home. When they day finally came Ms Hage says she thought she was prepared. "But you can't spend 24 years of your life and then just flick a switch and let him go," she adds.
Ms Hage's book outlines, in chronological order, her son's life. It details the challenges she faced while raising Mr. Tiller as a single mother for part of his childhood. It explores Ms Hage's resilience and tenacity to eventually make a successful life not only for herself but for her son.Today, Mr. Tiller is coping just fine living on his own. He lives in a home where he receives support when he needs it. He works part-time, using the Peterborough transit system to get around. The title of the book is a quote from Mr. Tiller who for years would ask 'What time is the 9:20 bus?'"It was the bus that took him to his life. The 9:20 bus started his day and took him into the community to the things he liked to do," says Ms Hage.She says writing the book was a challenging experience. It evoked memories of a broken marriage following Mr. Tiller's adoption and the challenges that brought. "It was really hard to relive my life over three years," says Ms Hage. "It's hard to write honestly and from your heart. This is more than a book about a disability, but about someone's life. But it allowed me to make sense of my life."
Today, Mr. Tiller visits his mom and Mr. Leadbeater every Sunday. They go the church, have some lunch, usually do an outdoor activity then eat supper before Mr. Tiller goes home.Ms Hage says it's not an issue getting Mr. Tiller to leave."He wants to go back to his apartment now. That's his home," she adds.
Ms Hage is holding a book launch on March 6 at the McDonnell Street Activity Centre from 5 to 7 p.m.Her book will be for sale at the event. It can also be purchased at Community Living in Peterborough, the Shish-Kabob Hut, Happenstance Books and Yarns in Lakefield and Five Counties Children's Centre. It can also be purchased online at www.inclusionforlife.com
The book costs $20 with 15 per cent of the proceeds being donated to Community Living's A Home Of Our Own campaign.