I met Marty a number of years ago when his Dad asked if he could join the Special Olympics swim club I had just set up at the time. It was great to have a new member and one that could swim and a nice little style he had too.
At the time the swim club was at the baby steps stage, and it was wonderful to meet all these super lads and ladies well able to swim a length or two.
Thankfully the area we live in, there are a few Special Olympics clubs to choose from. There’s a bowling club and a sports club offering three sports and Marty was part of those clubs too.
So, from relay teams in the swim club to bowling teams and athletics Marty and Geoff my sons' paths met regularly.
As with all sports, Special Olympics is no different, World Games runs in four-year cycles.
Geoff and Marty were on the athletics team. They got through to Regional Games and I chaperoned them while in residence for the weekend competitions at UCD.
It was a very exciting experience. An opening ceremony and back to the accommodation where they shared with other athletes, with their chaperones. They were collected each morning by bus and brought to the sports venue. Lunch was delivered to the venue and then a nice dinner when we got back to the accommodation. The last evening was the best of all because it was disco time. Marty loved the music and the disco along with the other athletes, we had to nearly prize them off the floor so that we could all have a night's sleep!
The first night we were all just settled in bed when the fire alarm went off. My guy is terrified of alarms and was out of bed like a shot. We could hear voices outside telling us to evacuate and gather at the meeting point outside.
I went in to call Marty and he said he wasn’t getting up he was too tired! I pleaded with him and eventually, he got up. We were back in bed for ten minutes when it went off again! So, we all decided in the building, we were not getting up this time we were going to do a ‘Marty’!
We often talk about that, it was so funny, the way our guys just do what everyone else is thinking about!
Marty was great at voice messages and would send them regularly from his smartphone!
But at this time, we are marking his month's mind. He passed away on the 22nd of April after an illness and will be sadly missed by all who knew him, especially my Geoff.
The little joy makers that come into our lives, to bring our families together, to show us there are different ways to do things, and most of all to live mindfully, are the most precious of all.
I so enjoyed minding Marty he was one beautiful little person.