I finished watching “The Street” on BritBox the other night.

Past Life:

One of the episodes, “Past Life”, was about an alcoholic named Shay who finds out he has a teenage son.


An old flame named Madeleine turns up out of the blue and tells him that he has a 16 year old son named Otto.

He asked Madeleine why she didn’t tell him about his son. She said it was because she wanted nothing more to do with him. But his son had asked to meet him.

In other words, his drunken behavior had driven her away long ago.


Then the day comes when Madeleine brings Otto to his house. Shay watches out the window as they get out of the car. He has began to look forward to meeting this son he knew nothing about.

Until he sees that Otto has Down’s Syndrome.

What Is Normal Anyway?

Madeleine knocks on the door but Shay is too cowardly to answer it. He cannot find it within himself to accept a son with “limitations.”

Selfish Denial:

He thinks to himself: She must have slept with someone else. That can’t be my son.

But that is not the end to it.

Sometimes Shay comes home to find Otto waiting for him. Shay chases him away as though he’s a stray animal.

He cannot see past Down’s Syndrome. Shay cannot see Otto as a son.

Shay Makes An Effort:

Shay eventually decides to get to know Otto. But the first time Madeleine allows Shay to have Otto stay overnight, Shay passes out drunk.

Otto comes down from the upstairs bedroom looking for something to drink. He sees a beverage in the refrigerator and drinks it. It is vodka.

Shay awakes to Otto having a seizure on the floor. He rushes him to the hospital. And of course when Madeleine arrives the doctor tells her what Shay cannot bring himself to tell her. That alcohol caused it.

Madeleine immediately cuts off ties between Shay and Otto. She has given him several chances and he has failed Otto too many times to be trusted.


If Shay was to have a son, he wanted a normal son. At least that’s what he told himself. But he finds that he misses Otto. He had given his life new meaning.

Shay goes on a real bender. He loses everything and eventually is sleeping on the street.

A neighbor finds him, sees that Shay has finally hit bottom, and helps him to sober up.

Shay Finally Sobers Up:

Shay goes to Alcoholics Anonymous and stays clean. He passes the six month mark.

But Madeleine will not relent. Shay had hurt his son first by rejecting him because he had Down’s Syndrome. Then he had nearly killed him by choosing to drink instead of being a proper parent.

Sometimes, unfortunately, you don’t know what you have until you no longer have it. As was the case with Shay.

If he had looked past “different” earlier he might have gotten the chance to really know his son. And his son might have enriched his empty life.

Learning Acceptance:

We all have so much to learn about acceptance. About looking beyond someone’s color or intellectual challenges.

Different does not mean bad. It doesn’t mean “less than.”

It just means “not quite the same as, but equal to.”

Similar Posts


  1. That is a show I haven’t watched yet.
    We were looking for something light-hearted (for a change) and chanced upon Kim’s Convenience. We had a lot of chuckles over the show. xo Diana

  2. I saw that episode, very well done. I found that later episodes were too much for me, racial prejudice, violence, etc. I turned off local tv over two years ago because I couldn’t deal with the stress of the politics and the manipulation. As I watched that episode, I said to myself, “you have turned off tv to avoid this prejudice and violence and here you are, watching it again. My life doesn’t include these actions or these thoughts.” I stopped the episode. I vote and otherwise have no control over a lot of everything else going on in the world. I refuse to buy into this horrid behavior even by watching it. It doesn’t support my values and opinions. It’s exactly why I stopped the local tv and the “talking heads”. My life is much calmer now. I did enjoy some of the earlier episodes. Pick and choose what enters your life,,,,,pick and choose.

  3. I have seen that name of show on Britbox but I didn’t think it would be that good. Now I may watch some of it. We have a severely retarded daughter and we luckily found a part of the country that accepts handicapped people better than others. The kids here played with my sons and accepted their sister. Some of these kids were just fabulous even at about 3 years or 5 years old. The prejudice apparently has to be learned. One teenage friend of one son always came in the house and said to her “Hello, how you doing?” She loved that guy. So did I.

  4. Different does not mean bad. It doesn’t mean “less than.”

    It just means “not quite the same as, but equal to.”

    Love these words Brenda!

  5. Very moving.
    Those of us that feel different for whatever reason, I’m sure are touch by your words today.
    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *