I’m going to start with a disclaimer! This was a blog post constructed on a train, the image was sketched on a train, my thoughts are sketchy – I’m not sure if this stands up but am putting it out there, a half way constructed post, for discussion, debate and musing over. Please do share your thoughts, experiences and opinions in the comments.
2012 was a major year of loss for me. My Grandfather had a fall at the start of the year, breaking his hip, recovering, then falling again later in the year and being admitted to hospital. He switched hospitals but never returned home, dying in July. In his 90s, having lived a full and productive life, his death was a big loss for our family but it was also a release in a way. I still miss him frequently, but for me it’s not painful any more.
My Dad died in November 2012. He had found out he had cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) five years previously, days after his 60th birthday in Nov 2007. He lived with a terminal diagnosis for his last two years and in many ways cancer was a positive experience, Dad worked hard to find the positives. In some way I think I started grieving for Dad as soon as we knew his condition was terminal, there were periods where he was very poorly and they acted like preparation for loss. I found it painful to watch Dad’s health deteriorate and watching him stoically soldier on was almost more painful than his death in a way. We received amazing support from our local hospice and after a period as an inpatient, Dad returned home and died at home a number of weeks later.
When it came to grieving for Dad, my pain was almost as strong for him when Grandad died, as it was for Grandad. There was something about the injustice of it all. It was also painful (for me) in the weeks immediately before Dad’s death, which when it came, almost provided relief. I’ve tried to plot this on the following graph, where Grandad’s death is the orange and Dad’s the blue:
This week Sara Ryan yet again shared the trajectory of loss that she has faced. Since her son, LB, died unexpectedly in an NHS treatment facility. LB was a young man in rude health, just 18 years old, having has epilepsy for a number of years, he drowned in the bath. Horrendous enough as that is for any family to deal with, the trust ‘responsible’ for his care have made mistake after mistake after mistake, in how they are treating the family. Sara’s tweets explain it all here.
Now I’ve not asked Sara about this, but from where I sit the behaviour of Southern Health is tantamount to emotional torture, the constant promises and let downs, agreeing things then changing their minds, always moving the goalposts. I don’t know what possesses them, and I don’t want to discuss that here, I just want to consider what damage their behaviour is likely to do. Thinking of the trajectories of grief I shared, I’ve overlaid how I think it must feel to suddenly, out the blue to hear that your fit and healthy son has died…if that’s not enough to break you, there is no let up to allow grief, pain and loss to subside because the people responaible are toying with you, constantly screwing your emotions. I guess it might look something like:
The stars indicate when the people died, the trajectory for Sara and her family and friends must be beyond painful. Someone has to step in and make this stop, surely. They need to be able to grieve and let go of the pain, not be constantly poked and prodded and let down. Someone please make it stop.