A battle waged
A young man lost
Three families mourn
The tragic cost
We lost our fight for Rhys. Last Wednesday I contacted a heartbroken A to ask about the meeting. He was so beside himself with anger and grief that he dared not say too much in case he were to take it out on me.
He tried his best; his daughter backed him as much as she could (and she is a little fireball when it comes to defending her family – and to her that extends to Rhys, as it should). They even pressed the fact that I wanted them to have Rhys back. That I was behind them one hundred percent. That I wanted Rhys to leave hospital when the time was right and be returned home – to them. Back to the one house that has ever truly been his home.
I mention that three families are affected by this decision; don’t forget that, from my marriage to D, Rhys has two new cousins, two aunties and two uncles, alongside step grandparents and their respective spouses. All any of them have seen of Rhys are photographs. In spite of this, they all ask about him – and “Granny Jack” asked for the address of the psych unit so that she could send him a birthday gift.
It would have been four families, but Rhys’ paternal unit couldn’t care less.
Because Rhys’ sectioning is indefinite, funding has been withdrawn from his foster family and will not be returned – which leaves A and the kids grieving not only for C, but for the loss of the young man that they looked upon as a much-loved son and brother.
To make matters worse, when I contacted the unit, I was informed that I could expect for Rhys to remain with them for another year. I can’t begin to explain how the idea of his spending his eighteenth birthday on a psychiatric ward makes everybody feel.
Fortunately for Rhys his family – on all sides – are utterly dedicated to him and his well-being; therefore, D and myself have come up with a Plan B to ensure that Rhys gets everything he needs whilst maintaining contact with A.
I suggested to A that, once Rhys is allowed to leave hospital, I have him moved to a residential unit here in Essex so that I have more access to him (when he’s eighteen all parental responsibility falls back to me; Social Services will still be involved in his welfare, of course, but they get to dance to my tune and can’t exactly broach an argument with me) – and that A and his family remain an active part of Rhys’ life with full access to him whenever they would like or can manage.
Do it, he said. Do whatever it takes to help Rhys and keep my family in the loop.
And so help me Thor, I shall. Rhys’ current social worker is so drippy that she could be wrung out – also unreliable and next to useless – and I shall be using that to my full advantage. When I spoke to her on the phone and she said “So you’re asking me to suggest to my manager that Rhys be moved to Essex?” my response was: “I think you misunderstood. Rhys moving to Essex was not a request”.
It will happen. I will make it happen. Waiting perhaps another year kills me but – in some ways – perhaps it’s for the best.
As for A and his family, there was never any question in my mind as to whether or not they should remain a part of Rhys’ life.
With all of this said, please excuse me if I don’t care about the Royal Baby. It may be a happy event and all, but my baby is suffering and that is all that matters to me.
Don’t you worry, Rhys; Mummy is good at being an Avenging Angel. I am coming and – for you – I will fight to the death if that’s what it takes.