Mom writes book after the loss of her son, age 14
Lisa Lottimore lost her only child in 2006.
Devastated, she started writing about her 14-year journey with Edwone. In a wheelchair for most of his life due to spina bifida and spinal meningitis, what most amazed her was the positive impact he had on other people.
“He affected people here as well as abroad,” said Ms Lottimore. “I got a lot of good reports about Edwone and how he touched so many people’s lives. Teachers, doctors, ministers – everybody loved Edwone. Even the students at the schools he went to, everybody loved him.
“He could tell you a story. He was a God-fearing child; he would talk about the Bible. People listened. He was someone to uplift them when they were down. People used to come and visit him at the hospital and he would uplift them.”
With the help of her “ace girl” Crystal Holdipp, she completed and published A Special Little Boy: The Story of Edwone Smith-Lottimore last March, just as the island was preparing to shelter in place.
It is now available on Amazon.com and in stores in the US. The first-time author also carries a handful of books around to sell on the spot and will sign copies on Wednesday at the Bermuda National Library. Her hope is that it serves as “encouragement for mothers who have children with exceptionalities, supporters of children with special needs, and anyone who has faced adversity and loss of any kind”.
“I wrote the book for any parent that has lost a child, or even an adult,” she said. “It’s to teach them, to say if I could go through this [they can too]. It’s encouragement for those who even have children: to love them, care for them, to be there for them.”
Doctors had not warned Ms Lottimore while she was pregnant that she was carrying a child who would have “special needs”.
“I carried [him] for nine months, everything was fine. They never said anything was wrong with my son.
“The good thing about it is, once I learned his condition I learned to accept it. When my child was born I had a choice to make: life or death. Because of my faith in God I had him. I feel that God doesn’t give us these children just to give them to us. Any child is a gift from God. We just have to love them and care for them and hopefully give them a good life.”
Edwone was sent abroad for hospital care soon after he was born. Ms Lottimore then had the chance to follow so she could “learn how to care for him”.
Back in Bermuda it was all on her.
“Anybody who knew me knew my son,” she said, highlighting the amount of time they spent together.
With no other option Edwone “went to all the regular schools in Bermuda” until Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy opened in 2003.
“He was one of the first students that went there. He blossomed. He got to travel with the [Bermuda Physically] Handicapped Association and he was involved in everything: wheelchair basketball, he was also doing sailing, he rode horses. He had a great life.”
She would not disclose the cause of Edwone’s death on September 23, 2006 but said she was happy that his organs were able to save the lives of four strangers.
“It took a toll on me,” said Ms Lottimore who, having worked in the laundry department of the Fairmont Southampton until the hotel made staff redundant and closed for renovations last year, is now unemployed. “Everything was my son. I was going through counselling. I didn’t even want to go back to work.
“And then about a year after his passing I said, ‘Let me put his story together.’”
She also began praying for another child.
“He was my life,” Ms Lottimore said. “I wanted to become a mom again because I used to see my friends and they had their children and I had nobody.
“I prayed and asked the Lord, before I turn 40 to bless me with a son again and he did that. At the age of 40 I became a mother. He answered my prayers and he gave me a son again, Jahroy. And my son that I have today does everything my firstborn never did. I got the chance to see him walk, he is active.”
With her second pregnancy Ms Lottimore achieved another first.
“I ended up being blessed to go to Bermuda College,” she said. “I never went to Bermuda College after I graduated from high school and that was one of my desires. God blessed me where I was able to take a course in childcare and I got my certificate in childcare while I was carrying my second child.”
She felt a strong desire to get her book completed last March.
“Something told me to do it just when the [pandemic] hit. I was just feeling the urge to get it down, to get it published. It was a healing for me. I said I wrote it, I might as well see if other people would be interested in reading it.
“He was here for a time and I just had to tell his story. Everything just came together and in March 2020 my book was printed in Bermuda.”
Look for A Special Little Boy: The Story of Edwone Smith-Lottimore on Amazon.com or contact Lisa Lottimore on 703-5327. The author is hosting at book signing on Wednesday at the Bermuda National Library from 6pm to 7.30pm. Copies of the book are $15. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve seating