It’s coming up to 2 years since I will have sadly lost my brother to a preventable suicide in Mental Health Supported Transitional Housing after been allowed to fall through the cracks an not put on any care Pathway by the Mental Health Trust he was under and passed between them and Adult Social Care. I’ve tried fighting for answers challenging the system and asking why, How could they ignore the signs, ignore his pleas were was his Duty of Care. I’ve been dipping in an out of NHS Englands Learning From Deaths work and the team leading they are trying but just like us Families I think they’re up against it too. How do you change an archaic driven system,. Today I was invited to a 1 hour meeting with the department of health and was speaking on 4 areas that need addressing and helping push the guidance through that families put their blood sweat an tears into, my mum an I we too put ours. Today I was focusing on the legal power imbalances families face in fight for answers and the hurdles we have accessing our loved ones records an when u get its only a half story an leaves you with even more questions and thing today I let some of the frustrations feel come out an do normally try hold it together thing seeing my loved ones and loved ones of fellow families made me want demand answers as to us after that meeting we don’t go home forget about, put to bed let something reprioritise it because we have the stark reminder someone is missing, for many it’s their child and they’re robbed of seeing them grow, get married, achieve their dreams an them one day get married an families of own, With Tim I’ve been robbed of my best friend we was like two peas in a pod he was the one who guided me though some of my darkest moments an their at my proudest looking at his photo in that meeting hit me wanted scream you all murdered my brother your systems, processes and pathways are harming not helping in our fight one thing we hear regularly is “failure in breakdowns in communication ” a gp can’t see Paris and record on it the NHS can’t see the gps system one and record and that and the grey area duty of candour is not assisting an a hinderance is the grey area of confidentiality an record sharing or in Tims case not record sharing and when you add local council record keeping an the supported living recording system it’s no wonder tim, us as a family an his navigator was hitting brick walls. Failure in communication is not an acceptable answer to why someone is driven too take their own live, before the meeting I was chatting with my sister on how we feel about Tims death an we want to be angry with him but we understand he wasn’t ok an today I needed let some of that anger an frustration how dare they say computer said no surely that should be something can change. Telling Tims story an where we are at with the inquest process is frustrating we’re gridlocked an at a standstill because we’re going through a judicial review because sadly the coroner is listening to two sides an not the side that matters us that matters the family. If my brother’s death had been in hospital we’d have been granted a Article 2 enquiry automatically if was a NHS run supported living would have done but because Social Care the coroner’s using the grey area death in community. I told them today if we lose the review we lose all legal representation and aid and have to fight for answers alone and that many families met recently had represent themselves an that any requests had were denied and so outcomes didn’t go in their favour they didn’t get their answers and left now fighting that bit more yet the evidence was clear for all to see, I told them I should be grieving my brother but I don’t I’m my families advocate I review, critique try put the jigsaw puzzle together and find the solutions to the failings an that’s not fair it’s left me physically an mentally battered and been offered no support by those who failed him apart from a token book coping with death of a loved one to suicide I don’t want to cope with his death I want him in my life I want to know no other family will feel my pain and it’s hard to gage did they listen, take note will things be done and implemented an changed the people in room today can’t expect us to be patient in our quests, can’t expect us be fobbed off to us they’res too much at stake, we just want openness, truth an accountability we need to grieve to mourn, to try lead lives without those we love as hard as it is it’s not fair be gridlocked no we’re further nor nearer to those answers an solutions because whilst we’re gridlocked we add to the growing number of historical cases my family we’re only short way in and we’ve one long road tred but if today taught me anything the fight will get harder, will break me that bit more but it’s not a fight will walk away from Tim deserved so much more and so did the family’s lost loved ones because I’m not going away harmed patients an families too won’t go away because we broke the day our loved ones died you can’t break us anymore so you might as well help us piece ourselves back together let me grieve an mourn let me free my brother’s memory free not keep having air his broken story give us the truth it’s time he had dignity in death let me dream he’s know free with my daughter in heaven I want to let him go and let him be free my family need free ourselves to off our pain an anger. X x
I’m laid in the dark feeling nervous, anxious sick to my stomach my baby sleeping next to me, my baby been my 4 year old son. Either at Midnight or sometime tomorrow my baby will get his email confirming his school place. At first I was only anxious would we get our first choice, then it was anxious would he adjust going full time Monday to Friday, then when nursery started introducing homework as part of getting school ready that anxiety hit is Myles school ready then I had the excitement ooh I’ll have all this extra time can look at having my life an identity back try have a career but then hit with the stark sadness an anxiety crap am going to have all this time an how am I gonna fit in Myles have so many different expereiences us doing stuff together time will be drastically confined to weekends an soon the school holidays. Myles has grown to quick times gone too fast the Milestones are forced stages of transition, times forcing me to face up to he’s no longer a baby, nor infant nor toddler I’m not ready for the next stages I want to keep him as my baby for longer. Stomachs knotting, twisting heart beating ten to dozen, palms sweating, fear, panic, kicking in one email changes everything, one email don’t think actually want to open, one email don’t want to be one that forces the realisation Myles school is which equals Myles is a baby no more don’t want fell that sadness, that feeling of loss that comes with the next stage an Milestone. That emails also the stark reminder of a moment a milestone never had with Marybeth it’s a stark reminder of a moment missed out on with her. I wonder what would happen if I didn’t open, didn’t acknowledge would it go away could I keep Myles as an infant, baby, toddler a little longer, I wonder if Myles is aware an understands the process of been ready for school it would make the anxieties easier manage if he was able say Mum I’m ready it’s time but he’s only 4 an that’s a big ask of a 4 year old say Mum I’m ready for my next Milestone, next chapter in my journey, I’m ready mum for school, I’m picturing though me wanting shout but Mummy’s not ready just yet can we not just keep you are just a little longer an us choose when ready for Myles next Milestone because how do I cope, how do I let my little boy grow up x x
Your home is Your Castle, Your Sanctuary the place you grow, make memories in it’s your dwelling, your abode, your place of safety and refuge, my hope it’s old it’s worn needs some tender loving care I moan about it my sons picked up I call it a shanties ramshackle house when I’m having a rant day so he now calls it old house wants a new house. At the same time though am lucky because this ramshackle house is my home. My brother Tim he sadly died not knowing or having that he obsessed got into vicious cycle fearing he’d be made homeless again when he died he was at a place called Cottingley Court, it was Transitional Housing for vulnerable adults affected by homelessness, addiction, and mental health he’d stayed their at crisis then he moved in to one of their flats to be assessed to determine what support he needed he was to be their at least a minimum of 6 months could have stayed up to 2 years and if warranted longer or moved to somewhere that could have offered permanent support. Tim in his mind didn’t feel safe, didn’t feel settled couldn’t make roots or settle because it wasn’t made clear he wasn’t to be made homeless wasn’t no plan no where definitive said this is your home. He once posted on his Facebook shortly after moving to cottingley court “I’m allowed Visitors” that dosent really say he saw as his home it says he saw as been in more of a inpatient or Care home, “I’m allowed visitors ” reading back is heartbreaking read I try putting myself in his shoes imagine the confusion he felt an tears run down my cheek all he wanted was one thing I moan about a place to call home, a home where he made rules a home that he opened up to his friends an family not somewhere dictated by guidelines to follow I.e no visitors after certain times cottingley court they advised offered crisis support but they didn’t an if we knew Tim was desperately struggling we’d have offered to stay with him help him make feel like his home we’d have him making the bacon butties with a brew he used make a decent buttie. He shouldn’t have resorted to drastic action he took when reaching out for help an reassurance he died broken, lost, isolated and desolate in a place that was supposed to be his home. 2 days before he died he spoke his fears with his GP, his GP just listened an made him tea an biscuits, tea an biscuits is what us his family should have been having at his house when visiting or should I say a coffee as where all coffee drinkers in our family we don’t offer visitors coffee we ask them make us a coffee, help themselves to whatever open our homes up sad ain’t it my brother’s gp could only help by make a cup of tea an biscuits an for a brief moment tim will have felt the sensation , feeling like home, Why couldn’t cottingley court give him that sensation help him realise was home , reassure him wasn’t to be homeless , give him the support an care he needed an why moved their in first place, why didn’t they keep him safe, protect him they were supposed to why did he not feel safe, why did he die feeling like didn’t have a place called home it’s not much ask is it have a place that’s yours an call home.
This last week I’ve heard you say the words ” I can’t ” an a thought bubble in my head pops up ” no such word as can’t “, I never say verbally I coax you , I guide you , I help you with what your struggling with an I tell you how proud ” I am ” learning to count, dress yourself an put your coat on by yourself are big things to do when your 4 and something we have work on as I know in September when you go into full time school be expected to do an I don’t want you feel scared or under pressure or even laughed at if can’t do because sadly children don’t mean be cruel but can be but I’ll do whatever I can make it a smooth transition for you because mummy can’t come school an fight your corner like I do now,
As you’ll get older and grow you’ll be compared to others based on how u look, your weight, the clothes you were, your in status an even on your sexuality but at 4 that’s not something thing off right now but all you need know is that I your mum will always be proud, I will always thing your perfect , I will always thing your amazing.
I’ve noticed that people already have started comparing you to others picture you as a naughty child one who needs boundaries because you are loud, have ants in your pants and don’t sit still and have to be a mini tornado, to me I don’t curb that I don’t tell you be silent because I see it’s a gift your excited about the world, the people an places we see your growing your identity an building up your confidence an who am I too halt that my jobs to nurture you, build you up , I see your loudness to as a positive one of things I love about you.
From a young age through the bereavements we’ve faced you from a young age had an understanding for pain, for sadness a natural gift for compassion something as adults an life’s pressures we forget how to be compassionate you understood and knew Mummy was sad in your own way I think you was trying ask for help for me when you told people mummy was sad and I did feel guilty you sensed that because as your mum I want protect you from all lives heartaches but sadly I’ve to accept I can’t.
Last week you faced your first experience of heartache and able share your best friend was not your best friend he wanted to play with someone else an sadly the someone else was the girl in your class who you class as your girlfriend the little girl who’s hand you hold on the bus and who u like to share your sweets an walk into school with I’d like thing I handled the situation ok told you it’s ok they’re still your friends they’re giving u a chance make more new friends as at 4 I don’t want you to understand the pain of exclusion or to see so I hope I handled well and made u feel ok.
This sadly is the first of many relationships an break ups you’lll experience but was secretly relieved when we bumped into your best friend at the shops an he rushed to you to say hello and couldn’t wait to see you at school so you could both play as he’d put a smile back on your face.
I’m waffling now so I’ll stop I just wanted to write this blog an dedicate this blog for you for children’s mental health week to let you know I love you, I will nurture an support you an whenever u need am always here an don’t ever thing am not because whatever u face u can always count on me to be their and can come to me with anything x x
Depression is horrible it’s a debilitating disease that squeases the life out of you keeps you trapped in the darkest places of your mind, takes the spirit an life out of everyday moments, in extreme cases murders those you love forces an pushes them into doing something stupid wreckless as they fight try find away out, Depression is like a prison sentence when things not too bad you get time out from like good behaviour but then smack something happens your hurled back into that darkened cell in the back of your head trapped , surrounded engulfed by misery, pain, desperation, inability cope, intense anger as you struggle and fight through. Depression isn’t just an invisible one but it’s a lonely one too people can’t see depression nor do people want or try see. People don’t spot when friends or family disappear become distant and you drop of the radar don’t stop by and ask are you ok, People don’t see past the charade the pretence that everything’s ok , people don’t see the bags under your eyes , don’t see the pain an fatique of the weight of the world crushing down on you theirs no hand of support their to help you up, no one their to lighten the load, Depression is a tormentor abuser it plays with your mind construes your thoughts makes you paranoid throws you into a spin cycle of thoughts that take over an drain you and drench’s you. Depression people don’t see nor understand people don’t get depressed your expected snap out of, move on so you pretend , you act you paint a fake picture alls ok still whilst slowly fading away into the distance life stopping for you but continually moves forwards for others you stumble n trip and sink trying keep up and I understand now why some give up because it’s tough it can get too much to keep on battling, keep on fighting, keep on trying for me I have no choice try battle an fight through because depression to is a curse it dosent disappear when you go you wherever maybe, maybe free but those you leave behind they struggle see, understand carry the weight off and depression sneakily sneaks in whilst their vulnerable and off guard it’s how it’s snuck in for me this time round pain and grief and anger at losing a loved one to a preventable suicide shrouded and engulfed me and has me trapped and I wouldn’t want pass that curse on so I’ll battle an fight with it I’ve beat it once I’ll try beat it once more the child snoozing next to me oblivious am awake at daft o’clock in the morning needs me to he’s to young to understand and see but to a point knows his Mummy’s been sad and when she’s upset thinks is his fault an asks Mummy are you my friend, the guilt of having depression then engulfs you don’t want your child seeing or sensing or feeling that so when they can’t see you try process an unravel the pain your feeling and untangle the mess inside your head be good have a pause button take a rest an break from but it’s depression it dosent make life easy. I can choose to live in hope though and hope I find away fight through and that I break through the prison of can get a hold off an my life back on track, can try find solutions, plans break through the core that’s keeping me trapped only you that is trapped by depression can break free from because people don’t see those chains wrapped round you an can’t pass you the key to release you from to all those that are battling with though we see and hopefully by speaking about people will start to see an start to help remove the chains that have kept us held and dragged back but until then know you are not alone we all at some point or time wrestle with an battle with an so you are not alone in your fight with x x x x x
We’re now in December the time of year people get in too the spirit of been festive an giving an Christmas cheer, children get excited about what they wish for on their lists comes true because Santa sees an grants their wishes. People are getting out the advent calendars, planning to watch all the xmas movies in the build up too, theirs elves on shelves, tress been put up lights an all the trimmings, trips to xmas markets, festive light switch ons, and for kids santa too.
As a parent you have to do theses things for your child, I’ve to currently do them for mine but when you’ve had an emotional and rough year an a half suffered bereavement after bereavement, been hit with major changes an disruptions to your home life an only just try navigate get back on track is hard to feel festive get in to that Christmas spirit because we’re was the magic when you needed it, At Christmas we talk about the gifts of Joy, Hope an Peace these are gifts you need all year round, everyday especially to get through what live throws at you.
For most this time of year will be filled with fun an cheer but spare a thought for those it’s probably not, in 2009 I had what was one of the xmas I’d say was a bad one I spent it detained under the Mental Health Act Under Section 3, I didn’t open presents under the tree but on a hospital bed, I didn’t have the full xmas dinner with my family but strangers instead their was no tree, no lights no decorations no festive cheer their was no Christmas magic that year so at xmas I do reflect on that thing of all who maybe going through that.
In 2013 I’d say I had what was my best Christmas I’d just had my son my very own Christmas miracle after losing a child born stillborn in March 2002 I thought I’d never have a child of my own an as time went on I gave up op on having one and so even though I’ve now got Myles I do to spare a thought for parents facing harsh reality of knowing the pain what it’s like to lose a child especially getting through that 1st xmas every xmas I still imagine how it’d be if had Marybeth an do more so now I’ve Myles to celebrate with, I also spare a thought for those who desperstley wanted a child an pain not having one and seeing friends an families having families of their own even though your happy you still feel like you’ve had your heart tugged out.
Last xmas I was not excited for nor looking forward too because it was to be the first xmas without my brother Tim, I remember using my son , my niece n nephews as my driving force to get through because they’re just kids they don’t need face the harsh realities of live, I knew also for my mum had try an do something to ease her through xmas as knew would be difficult her go through and knew xmas would heighten pain she felt.
So I brought the magic of Christmas to my house I threw my son an his twin cousins a Christmas themed birthday party, invited Santa Claus round the children’s excitement an faces an look of joy injected that little bit of hope an magic get through, I still got Tim a card an present as Wasn’t ready to not too even took part in arranging a toy collection for George’s Crypt for Children who face some of the most bleakest things in life an did in memory of Tim kinda wished did again this year but sadly life got in way an other stuff get through so maybe next year I’ll do.
Again this year I will try steer my family through highs an lows of the festive period and be hopeful in new year we’ll get the answers we’re looking for surrounding my brother’s death , I’ll hold both Myles nanna, great nanna and his grandma in my heart an pray they find a way get through this time of year as they go through their first xmases without John and without Alan in the winter night sky and when the stars twinkle I’ll whisper to Myles that’s his sister, uncle an great grandads watching over coming down to say Merry Xmas an that in spirit we’re still here just not near but have not completely gone and will always be with him in spirit an heart,
As I’ve wrote this blog I’ve wondered why write I suppose it’s my way of saying that I will fake my way through xmas for Myles starting by next week taking him to the magical world of Thomas land for his early bday treat , I’ll put up a tree lights an decorations when we get back, I’ll try do something nice with mum whilst we’re down at Westminster helping NHS England around their Learning From Deaths work as we remain hopeful an optomistic can make a difference for families in the future who may face similar experiences to ours but they be supported with compassion an empathy unlike us. When come back do the mad xmas shop, present buying an wrapping for my loved ones get excited at thought watching them feel gift of joy when they get the gifts they’ve wished for an I’ve realised in one way I’m acknowledging Christmas can be a difficult kind of year but also as I’ve reflected on I’m slowly injecing into me ways I’ll find Christmas gift of hope too have the joy an spirit too want to celebrate be festive an try to find the missing magic an hope too others who’s missing that too I pray that you may find ways to find x x x
Yesterday me and my Mum met with our Solicitor regarding Tim’s Inquest was that the Coroner did not overturn his decision on Article 2 and disclosure was because my brother’s death was classed as been in the community regardless of the fact of him living in Mental Health Supported Housing, apparently Tims Death is a grey area in eyes of Law because he’d not been sectioned or detained he was not classed as immediate risk, he went for help on Monday was seen at A n E but because didn’t come out an Say “I’m Suicidal, I’m going to harm myself, End my life was reason why did not get admitted, I in the past have felt torn one hand want fight my demons on other want give up I also no at times felt want give up wouldn’t tell anyone what my intentions were, fact he’d taken a minor OD suggested he was at some element of risk , the fact 2 days prior reached out again saw his GP and his GP only offering Tea an Biscuits should have again highlighted needed help, highlighted again was a risk but because in the community the grey area he had capacity make choice did, if admitted to hospital till his key worker who became dependant on may have kept him alive, kept him hate say safe because he’d have been took away from what his stressor obsessing about his housing, finances,benefits,low self worth due been unemployed and his death would have been prevented if detained because not detained he stayed been at immediate risk, regardless been in the community, been in hospital the fact remains he was not mentally ok an that meant he was at immediate risk, I’m saddened the coroner didn’t grant because he has all the evidence their say was immediate risk but because 12 months outdated and not reviewed by those who were supposed to coroner has assumption then not an immediate risk, he at that period was , he was for the last 2 1/2 years of his life was an immediate risk an never stopped been adequate an a up to date review would have proved that but wasn’t and why arguing failed in his care it saddens me that powers that are responsible and their actions are now impacting on the legality’s and imposing further on our fight for answers why, we only want answers why to mourn, to heal, so lessons can be learned other families don’t feel our pain, people like Tim be saved, it saddens me more that if wasn’t for Legal Aid funding we wouldn’t have got this far, we’ve to hope now we can get continued funding to take to Judicial review and potentially try bring about new case law and get Article 2 be granted and it’s a fight we want to fight for , the services that were responsible , the ones with all the answers, one who not engaging with us as the family the state has an unlimited money pot for their legal army, talk about them having the unlimited power an control, we as a family should not be saddened, worrying about now the If and If get funding all families who’ve lost a loved an have go through the inquest process should automatically be funded more so when is the state going up against an for us that’s the NHS an local council we’re does anyone get the money to take them on to get the answers, the justice for lessons be learned and I can only pray, hope, wish funding continues if not I don’t know what we’ll do next I only no we won’t be throwing towel in, well come out fighting that bit more.
After what was a shit morning we did however still remain optimistic, plodded on with our day still continued with wanting support NHS England with their Learning From Deaths work and headed down to Quarry house in Leeds to feed into preparations for attending an event in WestMinister to continue an drive the work forward I must admit I took my tension from the morning out on the taxi driver so was composed when went in, sorry to the roadrunners taxi driver, were still optimistic as a family we can try ensure families not treated in same we’ve been , we’re still optimistic we can make something good to come from something terrible, we’re hopeful to that at the event we can be matched with the trust that failed Tim so we can demonstrate that families can work together with them an hope that they see after the event is important to meet with us as a family start the process again work with us to understand the why’s the if’s and importantly us work together on what could have been done differently an would have potentially prevented Tim’s death an hopefully us work with them to prevent deaths like Tims so deaths like his don’t become grey areas and so can only hope too as we continue fight for an Article 2 Inquest that in meantime we can work with the trust and lessons from his death be learned,
As a family we’ve tried be compassionate, empathetic an understanding with the Trust tried listen to potential excuses why failings, funding, staff shortages, difficulty getting access to certain services an continually try engage with them so why’s it hard for them do that as fundamentally they should do that, it’s not them that’s facing pain an heartache we are an should be us not them had choice hide behind closed doors because not ready face but we’ve no choice we have to face to fight and so Tim for you we will continue to do so.