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Yearly Archives: 2019

Hair strand test

The Social Services make the rules up as they go along. Firsts it’s this, then it’s that, also they control the situation as they have made their minds up about the outcome they want. It’s wrong.

Out of the blue the new social worker decides they both have to be completely drug free within six weeks. Now this is after they have declared cannabis is not the problem and if they were to insist that all their cases had to be cannabis free they would not be able to get anywhere.

The law compared to social attitudes is in a constant state of flux where very mixed messages are being given out from government and actions by the police vary at the personal desires of anyone who has a view.

Other social workers have all agreed that the circumstances of this case dictates that due to the nature of each person involved that rehabilitation is a long term exercise: so why the change – to set them up to fail.

Our sons partner had another hair strand test that still showed drugs. The time was not six months after the previous test, so we are not sure of the outcome.

Good news time … but at the cost of tears

The long awaited panel day arrived and we were as prepared as we could be. Not 100% sure what the format or style would be but we knew it was an eight person board plus three social services and two scribes.

Arrived on time and duly shown into the Board Room and formal introductions done. There followed a rundown of the agenda.

It became apparent within moments of the chairlady starting to give a precise of the good points of the report that the wrong report was being referred to. Been here before – there are still errors on all the other documents that have been produced!

I did make a comment to this effect when I had the opportunity and could hear the constant typing of the note taker, so assume my comments were recorded.

On that note all the errors must be corrected as they will only reflect the wrong facts of the case in the future which are automatically considered to be true when read in later years.

The questions asked were cross checking our attitudes to what had happened, what preparation we were doing and how we would deal with things in the future. It was traumatic for my better half.

Questions flowed from people around the table and where necessary we expanded the answers so a wider understanding was available. My partner needed a tissue when emotions got the better of here.

The pleasant aspect of the meeting was we knew we know our fate quite quickly. We left the room and waited.

The waiting room is the staff restroom so not private. My partner released her tears quietly but uncontrollably. I could only offer comfort by holding her hands. The chap who had been responsible for the creation of the report came in with a smile. Hmm! He has always been straight with us so I read good into it.

My partner entered first and the chairlady started to talk nearly straightaway. All I heard was … pleased … unanimously … and saw smiles throughout the room. The release of tension was immediate. It was explained that this is a difficult stage to get through. We both had a hard time holding back our emotions, neither of us sat down, we needed to be together to take it in.

We had passed the Fostering Board.

The facts are straightforward …

Yesterday was traumatic. We were expecting that. We are not hiding what has happened and understand, in a limited way, the implications for the future but really struggle to accept the generalisations quoted as thought they are facts and very likely to happen.

I had left the court grounds and was 15 miles away. Ten minutes after the court case had started I answered my mobile. It was from a number I did not recognise, and counter to my instinct to ignore I answered. A chap introduced him self as the manager of the two social workers involved with the safeguarding of our grandson. Both were unable to attend the court case and he was standing in. He continued to ask if I knew what was happening today – had we been told? No. We only knew what was happening as we had been shown a letter from a solicitor. A slight pause at his end and a slow statement – I need to ask a few questions.

Do you know if the proposed outcome happens today payment stops. Well … we were surprised any payments were made in the first place, but payments were never an issue, it is the wellbeing of our grandson that is critical, nothing else. That I think was enough. He said he would call later and keep me updated.

Now the killer. When the family met later we were told questions had been asked in court about why we were not present. I hit the roof. Later my wife hit the roof. We had been told by the key social worker for our grandson our presence was not required.

As it happens the cafcas social worker for our grandson had gone to the wrong family court 25 miles away so he did not have representation. Not sure where that could have been deployed as the 14 days pre-trial meeting did not happen as the letter only arrived two working days before the court case.

Our son and partner said a new social worker had being allocated to them and apologised for not being there.

The outcome is: a Supervision Order is now in place with conditions. It was stated that the next court visit , provided they keep to the plan, could be the end of the matter.

We sat in silence for the journey

Court day! Having thought it was several months away, a surprise letter drew the court case to today.

The journey time was about 40 minutes, an easy journey. We normally chat about anything really, but today nothing was uttered from the start of the journey until we parked up.

I felt tears welling while I drove. I cannot comprehend a life without my grandson. It still upsets me the moment I think he will be gone.

We all needed a comfort break and found somewhere nearby. Sitting to partly drink coffee and partly to pass the time we chatted and it soon turned to my grandson, their child, and his antics of yesterday in the garden – filling the paddling pool with the hose while our dog ran a-mock chasing the shower of water droplets. It was fun, he is fun.

I became sad as when we left I thought our relationship while talking was really a wake!

My heart is slowly slipping into deep upset, and resentment.

This place (WordPress and my iPad) is my sacred place, I have no problems with bearing all to all. The ‘all’ is just anyone who stumbles here. I don’t really mind if no one reads it, it’s my world, it’s my history, and I hope those that do have empathy, not created from traumatic circumstances, look after their loved ones and cherish every moment.

It is like dieing slowly. It like all-sorts of people, so many not known, are all making decisions about my son, his partner and our grandson that are slowing killing us.

I do not remember ever being in a state of perpetual tearfulness as I am now. Even with my parents dieing, even with other deaths we have encountered I coped with out a personal drama. We are slowly loosing him to the system and see a beautiful, polite, happy young boy become apart of behemoth service. His innocence of our plight is magical to me.

My state of mind says, at my age, I might never see him again. He will be 18 (15 years hence) before he can decide whether to make contact. Have I got 15 years? That is the first time I have thought about my mortality.

Less than honest

During the time I have been involved with the Special Guardianship process with the social services I am of the opinion that we have not been told the whole truth about what is happening, and have felt uncomfortable with this.

I appreciate confidentiality is critical and I am not questioning that. Where I have problems is: different aspects of the case, strategy say, are done behind close doors. This is okay as it is described in the information that is online and in the public domain. Where the problem lies is they all do not have the same information to base their decisions on. We get slightly different views from people who may be using different sets of data.

I am not convinced a wholly accurate picture is being delivered to the court for them to base their opinion and judgement on.

Cometh the day – round one

Next week our son and partner have their day in court. I understand the social services concerns but do think they are using a very heavy sledge hammer to crack a nut. Somewhere there must be away of working proactively together to solve this problem. After all a significant part of the problem was aggravated by the very same social services letting them down after the first occurrence of problems.

They are both weary with the stress and worry of loosing their child. We are worried that we are not seen as fit and proper people to be Special Guardians of our grandson.

Sometimes I think the outcome will be positive in the direction of the family and at other times it is doom and gloom. The experience of the process is breathtakingly difficult due to the consistent pressure to be interviewed and fill in forms.

We have gone through the process as though we will be fosterers, and have been told Special Guardianship is less onerous, but few confessions have been made.

Our son and partner thought the court case was several months away as it had been intimated it was not a serious case, and adjusted their mindset to accommodate that. But an unexpected letter arrived giving them less than three week notice. So for someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and other related issues it is difficult to cope. From a person making good process to one where every problem that was had returns with vengeance was an easy response to predict.

Our son is in intermittent pain, two or three times an hour, and often can only move around by shuffling on his backside life seems difficult. Three weeks off work and another three weeks wait until a third scan can be done is problematic.

There are times he is ‘normal’ where he is good and mobile but he knows only too well pain is just lurking to get him. His pain relief tablets do not touch the pain and his doctor has tried to get him seen sooner but a months delay is the best they can do.

Harbour Cafe

In a disheveled cafe I have sat and worked. Unflustered staff work servicing a slow trade of students and shoppers. It’s atmosphere is under appreciated and as of today no more.

I like it here. I have seen the same people slaving over their laptops working, I have seen attached couples looking and talking, planning and plotting. Seen individuals waiting expectantly for friends, partners and lovers to arrive.

Several weeks ago their sandwich bar was empty at the start of the lunchtime period. Only a few pieces of cake were to be found. The chap said the delivery had not arrived, but I suspected differently. Since then the shelves have always been under stocked.

It was not a surprise to hear they were closing. What did surprise and please me was the straightforward message giving to their customers on the front window. … had a good time here … time to move on … thank you. That, to me shows how they did value their customers.

So, thank you in return for providing me a small haven of piece and quite in a busy city centre. I wish you all the best in the future.

Last week I sat here and cried

How a week changes your life thoughts. I sat in this very cafe and cried to my self. I rested my forehead in my hands in an attempt not to be seen but really wanted someone, yes a stranger, to tap me on my shoulder and ask.

I am sitting here on a baking day, (waiting for the predicted heatwave) amongst people who appear to have no problems. There are eight of them, seven women and one chap. Could be work friends and are chatting about everything under the sun: Gentlemen Jack, it’s forth coming replacement – demanding no one gives out any spoilers.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

A women, who I suspect is a cross dresser, is ordering her meal. Her covered head could reveal more, but it matters not to me.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

The staff here are a collection of mature people all of whom have a strong purpose of service. They are busy busy people who serve their customers with dignity and pride. I don’t see this type of service in any of the chain coffee places.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

I hope they are, as I now know my shell is soft and bruises easily and I am always on guard for a glancing blow to my feelings.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

Thinking back over the last month

It’s only been five days since I was told I did not have cancer and the more I think about life now the more I appreciate how that threat had an impact on my life and was a burden.

I don’t want to sound dramatic and over state my view when I write this, as I feel I must remember the 4 in 10 men who have been through the same range of feelings as I have but with a different outcome. Although I have not got cancer I am now one of the 1 in 10 who may still be diagnosed with prostrate cancer in the future.

At the end of the three month or so process, from initial concern to conclusion my work for my employer slowly ground to a trickle where the easiest of task were enormous. I could not focus or pay attention and had lost the biting interest in work that I have always had. I worked on small snippets of work at home and did the same when there.

My thoughts consistently revolved around the other significant problems I have. The priority was my family problems then University work. The family problems are well documented here, but had to be serviced (and still doing so) the whole time. The Uni work had to be a real low priority where I did things but did not worry about the quality, in fact it was used as a diversion away from everyday affairs.

I appreciate all the people around me at work more than I can thank them form: for how they still included me as team member when I was there. It relieved the silly pressure of me being embarrassed around them as I knew I was underperforming.

My line manager was always kind, always had time for me and never worried me with the concerns he had due to being short staffed. I owe him a dept of gratitude that over time I will repay.

My family have been good and we have just got on with everything as it comes. My better half has worked her socks off supporting all the family with everything that is needed and one day normality will resume.

For anyone who is involved with prostrate cancer please think board and keep a check on reality. I was lucky and I would be writing differently if my news had been negative.

… and again … for the fourth time

I think we are not believed. For the fourth time we are being questioned as to what we knew about our son and partners drug use.

We have explained our position, understanding and knowledge of drugs – not a lot, but I think we are not believed.

We have requested training on drug awareness to help us in the future and said we would not tolerate anything if we suspected drug use and would act immediately if we suspected anything what so ever.

The full compliment

In the process of becoming Special Guardians a process has to be followed inside a framework of guidance and to a 26 week time table. It culminates with a three week period where people (the panel) read all the paperwork and prepare for a panel sitting; where we are formally interviewed to support the application to have our grandson live with us as we will be his Guardians.

It is something that cannot be fully appreciated before the start, but the time and effort is draining, both mentally and physically, particularly when you feel you have lost the plot or can’t see why they need to know a remote piece of information. But the goal has to be kept in sight all the time – Safe Guarding.

We, the family that is, have meet or been involved with:

  • 1 Social work – child and parents
  • 1 Social workers boss
  • 1 Social worker – grandparents
  • 1 therapist – mother
  • 1 day nursery manager – child
  • 3 general practitioners – mother, father and both grandparents
  • 1 Fire safety inspection (Fire Engine and crew)
  • 1 Health and safety inspection
  • 10 to 12 sets of forms to complete – 40 hours
  • 2 full medicals – grand parents
  • 1 child developmental medical
  • 2 change grow live courses – parents
  • 1 narcotic anonymous session – farther
  • 35 hours of interview for grandparents
  • 10 hours of joint interviews of grand parents
  • 4 case meetings in social services offices
  • 2 case meetings in our home
  • 10 hours of parent interviews

There is still time needed to complete the process.

The more we talk to all the people involved the greater the understanding of what safe guarding is expected to deliver at the real sharp end.

It is still a difficult time.

Results …

After a wait I have the results of the biopsy …

27 samples taken – none cancerous.

The relief is instant.

It the small things in life …

Not a big earth shattering thing but …

I have just got home and heard my wife laugh for the first time in months.

Breaking a trust can never be undone

I have been questioned why I did not intervene if I had concerns about drug taking when we visited our son and his partner while collecting and delivering our grandson.

It’s simple, lack of evidence. If anyone makes an accusation and in effect calls someone a liar without corroborated evidence then the ramifications are immense. Forget slander; it’s the end of a relationship. In our case it would have broken our family apart. Sorry’s will not cut it. Trust has gone forever. It may look fine and dandy three or four years later but the latent defect in the relationship is still there.

Please don’t think I am saying we were not concerned, but the only drug I can identify is cannabis due to its smell. We were told cannabis was not their concern. Any other drug and I am lost. It was other drugs!

When we visited, the house was often tidy, often untidy. Being untidy, particularly with an active child is not a crime. An early riser is our 3 year old grandson and a partner who has sleeping tablets means she has to go to bed early, which places addition pressure on family routine and duties.

Our son works hard and we often recognised sleep deprivation. Our sons partner often was tired and again sleep deprivation was not an unacceptable diagnoses.

Getting my point across to the social services was difficult. I pointed out that when they act without evidence, using their instinct, they walk away with impunity, and don’t have to pick up the pieces of a false allegation. We have not got their instinct!

Caution and evidence is required.

It occurs to me honesty is a fickle concept

Over the last four months my life has been dominated by a two major activities. Concentrating on the Special Guardian process for this particular blog reveals that each of the social services branches I and my family are involved with do not always understand what they have agreed with each other.

My concern is: we now find out that the process we are going through is to be used as evidence in the decision about whether our son and partner are fit and proper people to raise their son. It had been explained it was a separate process and was a backstop in case it was needed; i.e. if returning the child to home was not done.

This is not denying this has to be asked or what the outcome is to be, but how the social services are concentrating on the negative aspects of the situation in away that seems to be sacrificing two people who are desperately doing everything asked of them under the guise of child comes first.

I feel that if they had joined-up thinking and actually looked deeper than their individual responsibilities and worked collaboratively to solve the underlying issues the parents the BIG problem would be solved on route.

It appears to me they are positioning themselves on the self righteous side of life and going for a split up as it is safe. It will destroy five people in a stroke. There will be no return. Five peoples lives gone,

Yes, I hear and read all the documentation produced, which I have previously criticised for being incorrect and inaccurate, but it is when I stitch together what they say and do when presenting their own position to us, I see a trend away from there declared aim of keeping the family together.

Trust is being diminished.

Reality check – needed regularly

Over the last few weeks, possible five, my posts have ranged over associated subjects that read in isolation do not directly appear to relate to the mental health of my family and I. This is the dichotomy: mental health cannot be divorced from individuals, or families in the same way other medical conditions can – let me explain.

A broken bone can be plastered, a skin cut dressed, elective surgery has predictive objectives and outcome; all can be traumatic. Relevant to me; cancer can be cured (please don’t flame me). Those around you observe your recover as plaster is removed, dressings removed, recover takes place; crass I know; I am still alive.

For mental health sufferers only those who know your problems are in a position to detect change. It’s all hidden behind cloths and bravado. So the great public in the street, shops, busses etc. can’t detect your anguish that preoccupies your daily life. They just witness your current manner, posture, body language and facial expressions.

In my minds eye, many conditions may cause temporary depression, which in an otherwise healthy person will fade with time, the love and support of people around them.

In my opinion mental health suffers retain this load and it becomes accumulative and creates another layer of ‘hurt’ that has to be assimilated into their very isolated perspective and takes effort to manage and longer to shed.

In my situation, father, I worry deeply about my families health, physical and mental health at the moment.

This is the third cafe I have sat in today typing frantically to express my self. Absolutely no one knows what I feel and the load I carrying. Not even my family who I know unreservedly support me. I am their rock that I hope they have anchored their feelings to. I am their unquestionable support that is there for them 24/7. I am the provider of moral encouragement. I unpick and unpack what they can’t understand or comprehend and return it in bite-size portions of understanding.

Please, I am not saying I can’t cope, I have to, but I have my own mental health issues to resolve as well.

So, this is getting around to say: if you see an individual person in a busy cafe, or sitting on their own in a busy park, don’t panic. They may well be just passing the time while waiting to meet someone, but they could also be wanting to be amongst people and not sharing anything. They may be wishing someone is going to acknowledge they exist. They may be grieving for someone, (death is not the only thing people grieve for.). They could be wanting to see a change in someone in their life. They may understand exactly what they feel they need, but is out of reach. They may not be getting the level of support they have been promised.

How strange – a chap just sat opposite me and acknowledge my existence – that is a good feeling, I need no more.

Take a introspective interest in them: that’s not befriending them for the sake of it, just be compassionate in your thoughts; they could have a perfect life with no concerns, (great) but yet again they could be suffering in silence on the inside.

Getting back to my wayward blogs: all events in life register somewhere in the brain and wriggle around there to make connections.  Some remain unconnected and unresolved and create problems like PTSD – for me earlier in my life.  Those that are connected are either good, bad or indifferent and affect every connection there is – this is not scientific, just my feeling, including your mental health.

Concluded the same as the general advice

No matter what he did it was never appreciated, and always not enough. A conclusion was arrived at independently, but we agreed

Summarising our sons expressed feeling: If I can do no good and always suffer repercussions then do less and be in the same position. This removes the constant harassment and pressure to perform.

So, skilfully he is going to cut his ties with his ex-partner and maintain his relationship with his children. This will not be without trauma and tantrums from her. (Gaslighting and Boarder Line Personality Disorder.)

My forward thinking concern is future relationships for them both. The sooner she identifies there is a break in their relationship and she can no long dictate life for our son the sooner she will accept their only ‘life connection’ is their children the better.

It harsh to say this, but their children need to grow up in a safe and unbiased environment where partners are not being challenged or defending their actions morning, noon and night. A toxic life style is not even appropriate for just adult families.

This is not ideal but looking at the underlying causes and environment is necessary.

It just keeps coming

Our son has been urinating blood for over two months and not done anything about it.

He had been to the doctors in the last week and had been given a hospital appointment. During the last week he was sent home from work as he could not walk. Another visit to the doctors as the pain was unbearable and pain relief was prescribed.

A short car journey to the seaside for a visit was made on Friday. I usually park on the outskirts of the city and bus in. He could not get out of the car to make the short bus journey. He tried three separate times and could only cry in pain.

Accident and Emergency hospital was my solution. I had to get a wheelchair to transport him from the car park and still in pain we arrived.

Kidney stones were mentioned!

Inaccuracy of meeting notes

A report is being prepared on our suitability to be Special Guardians of our grandson. Information is therefore being gathered over time and we get to see a record of the meeting notes etc. I am surprised at the quality of wording and the inaccuracy of the text in the meeting notes.

The meeting notes should be unbiased and reflect the truth spoken about the facts presented by all those who have commented. They are, in effect, minutes of a meeting: which can be used as formal evidence at a future time.

I spent an evening going through the last set of minutes and annotated them with comments and questions as I felt that in many places they did not reflect the fact as they exist.

I raised this with the chairman of the meeting, who it transpires was the author of the minutes, and he was surprised about my concerns and asked me to write them down.

A bigger concern is the quality of the final report that is going to filed with the family court and used to make life changing decisions in private about all of family.

Special Guardianship

The need for our grandson to be safe and secure is what is driving us both. His needs must be met for him to flourish.

The process of becoming a Special Guardian is very detailed and stressful. It has a time constraint so a timetable is critically important. Paperwork and paperwork and just just in case you missed it, more paperwork. We have now each had 20 hours of interviews. In which we have visited our childhood through school, into work. Our relationship with our parents, family and friends. Our relationship in our marriage, our parenting skills and motivation for doing this, our financial stability and health. Hmmm! Ah! References taken up, and CRB checked done

Our grandson is not immune in this process, he has had a health and development medicals, and been assessed by the play-school and health visitors and has had work done with him by social services.

This process is based upon fostering, and is supposed to be less onerous, but rigorous all the same.

I have been surprised at how much I have done, and we have done together; and with just a few more forms and interviews left will be relieved shortly. We have about a month to wait.

Pot calling

At Christmas time a little coercive force was applied to ensure our son was always in contact with the mother of their children while they were with him and away for a break with us. Nothing wrong with that. The preliminary incommunicado was due to the constant abuse he was receiving from his partner and his phone was turned off.

Last weekend the mother went away with her father from Friday until Sunday, which became Monday. An accident happened with one of the children and immediate contact was necessary. Her phone was uncontactable. (Could be off, could be no power.)

It took contact, via FB, to get a message delivered to her. A friend collected the elder child from the hospital to allow our son to concentrate on the younger child.

Her mum managed visit on Monday and another on Tuesday just as the child was being formally discharged in the afternoon.

Strange, but motherhood means different things to different people! Yes, pots calling black comes to my Mind?

Not surprised, but pleased in a way that my suspicions, while founded, were slightly wrong

Recently, based on observations and a little research, I thought a family member had the traits of someone Gaslighting someone. It was the narcissistic traits and the relentless nature of her behaviour (two, three years) that caused, and still do cause, that underlying feeling of uneasiness about her motives and her desires for the future.

Now a diagnoses of Boarder Line Personality Disorder has been given it now becomes a reality that can formally be addressed. This will, like all the other mental health things going on in our family, take time. Whether any relationships can be salvaged is unlikely.

Mentally paralysed – all paths blocked!

I have reached a point where I am mentally num and dysfunctional. The situation of my life has six distinct activity areas. At the moment they all need to be fed, watered and tendered, but I cannot move, I cannot focus on anyone thing.

Work, University, Cancer, Special Guardianship, my son, his partner are the broad headings. Their order shifts all day long. But there is always one that is more dominant. I have great difficulty in choosing a priority for any length of time.

Yet again I am in a cafe convincing myself I am working on my final piece of work for Uni as that is the priority, but a thought crept passed my study eyes and BAM it’s gone. What is my priority?: I know, I’ll introduce a plausible diversion and still convince myself I am working. Yes it worked – I am typing this – bugger.

In thought now and I realise I have not a real moment for my own personal thoughts, and this (typing gibberish) is my only release but it’s still about the load I have with me. It’s not a true escape!

I only read this yesterday and don’t know who to give credit to, but: it’s like being on a route on a map and being halfway there only to be told you are on the wrong map.

Yes …. I am emotionally lost …. I have not even got the energy to beat my self up.

It’s fantastic it happens at all!

I expect you might already subconsciously manage your own thoughts about the world in an orderly way. I do. But I now appreciate my mood is a big controlling factor. If I am happy, my blog reflects that; if sad, melancholy; if cross I want revenge.

I now also appreciate that my feelings at the time also fall within a particular stereotypical role model(s) that I transition through all day long. I am a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, an engineer, a photographer, a confidant. Ah, I almost forgot, I am in individual, me – divorced from all role models!

Add to this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I feel there are three level of consideration in any activity I witness and then after a passage of time want to write about. It is perhaps this passage of time that allows organisation and reconciliation of thoughts to take place to balance the contamination and introduce perspective, which then brings in life’s baggage.

So now there are five interactive processes involved in any memory activity before I start to write, which is then dependent on the command of the written language of English I have and the effort I want to expend. It’s a wonder how all this happens: not only for me but anyone.

D-Day: Operation Neptune

The day of my operation is a strange day. I sit here knowing and watching the day happen around me. My day is detached from the hospital world and the greater world outside.

The television news is reporting on the anniversary of the D-Day Landings and there is family chatter happening in patches around me, along with purposeful people organising everyone.

People who are not patients are ushered out of the waiting area while old news footage of the D-Day Landings are shown on the news reports.

I am not comparing the situation I am in with those people 75 years ago today, in fact contrasting their situation.

I am safe. I have good prospects, even considering the prospects of Cancer. The future has a plan and on the whole I have a good level of control over my life without anyone trying to kill me.

Those chaps who were boarding the landing crafts were in an inherently unsafe place, the odds of survival were low. While there was a plan, I expect they only knew from the last command they were barked at as to what to do next. Lastly they had no control over anything, apart from putting one foot in front of the other while putting themselves in harms way FOR ME.

Hindsight comes with 20/20 vision of history and is a biased view of outcomes that are designed to placate the negative feelings of what you/me or the country has done on our behalf.

Again this is speculation but I suspect the thoughts and emotions of those chaps were based upon the same level of headline details I have about current affairs and those chaps thoughts were tempered with the fact the war had been going for an appreciable time, so the spectre of the outcomes of defeat outweighed the fears. Duty to friends, family, society in general and the country was the driver.

Not many veterans are left to make the historic journey but each one did more than they can be thanked for.

Told the good folk at work

I could not justify not telling them about both situations … my performance is poor.

I have only told my line manager, a project specific manager and two very good young chaps who report to me about my plight.

As my exploratory operation is on Wednesday, and it could be good or bad I felt they should know.

My involvement with the project has dwindled and in effect I have withered on the vine. I should have challenged a lot more events that have happened, but knew I could not resolve them in a timely manner to keep things on side. Starting a challenge needs to be managed or the vacuum it leaves is more disastrous than not challenging: others feel they have succeeded over you.

Neurological tests

As it was not clear what type of neurological problem I might have so I was referred to my GP for tests. The results were a big surprise.

Full blood tests were done and I was expecting a magic arrow to hit a neurological marker. It did not! But it found an unsuspecting high PSA Level – an indicator of activity in the Prostrate glad.

Six weeks later and another PSA test revealed it was even higher result, which was a cause for concern.

So a digital inspection was done looking for problems with the Prostrate glad. Problems identified! It was swollen.

Following this was a high intensity MRI scan was done. This revealed three swollen areas. All graded at a value of two but there existence could not be understood. One area would be at grade two would not have been a problem, but three needs to be further investigated.

Two weeks, or there about, it was a biopsy operation to confirm or deny the existence of Prostrate Cancer.

Now waiting for the results.

The original cause for concern was shelved as recent scans would have revealed any significant problems. That could be for another day!

Today just got worse!

Today has been the saddest day of my life. Not for the reason of waiting for it to be confirmed that I have Prostrate Cancer, but due to the fact that our route to becoming our grandson’s Special Guardian may well blocked due to the condition I am nearly in.

My partner and I have attended a good number of meetings with the social services, completed forms, organised people to provide references, had informal chats and official interviews that have spanned several months. These are ongoing and we both have more formal interviews.

We fully accept the process and have fitted in everything around looking after our grandson, being with his parents on a daily basis and working.

Today it was confirmed that the social worker had recommended that a court case was the solution to deciding whether they could have their son back and what next must be done.

I put it that way as the ‘next’ was to be us becoming special guardians but since starting the process I have blood tests that showed the possibility of having Prostrate Cancer. I have had internal inspections, MRI scan revealing three shadows on the gland and yesterday at a pre-operation assessment given next Monday (three days time) as the date for the biopsy.

Yes, it could be fine if cancer is not present, but the fear of loosing our grandson looms heavily as it is a very heavy a price to pay for something we are not responsible for.

In bed at past midnight and crying aloud brought me to think, write it down. Set the perspective.

I cannot see an enjoyable life without our grandson in it. If he leaves this family we have lost him until he is 18 years old. 15 Birthdays, 15 Christmases, first day at school, first crush, the list goes on.

That is not considering his attitude to his parents or us for not being with him during those precious growing years. He may not want to make contact.

His parents are remorseful about the situation and have done great things to redress the situation and at present are both in shock, both tearful and both cannot comprehend life with no child.

I cannot see the logic of separating him from his family, where he is truly loved, where the situation can be repaired with effort and time. We are his second line of defence and having Cancer is not a threat to him or any relationship he has with us. Being blunt, I think having someone (me) in his life for say two years is better than living with foster parents or new parents.

Happiness quotient exceeded!

The only time I am really happy is when I am with him playing.  Other than that I want to withdraw from life.

I have a lot on my mind at the moment is an understatement. Slowly I am having to open up to a wide audience and explain the situation I am in and I am getting more supportive feelings from friends than I thought.

It is not necessarily from the words but from their hidden understanding they seem to exude: their eyes, their body posture, the fact they don’t know what to say and therefore don’t blurt things out just for the sake of it. Family feel obliged to say things.

I don’t want to be told it’s alright, it will not turnout that bad, or Mr Smith had that and he is ok. I don’t care; what is common between us I have no idea.

I am borrowed time!

My Cancer may or may not be a major problem. Loosing my grandson is more life changing to me, from which there is no recovery.

I want to go back to February 2019 and put things right. Even that is not really early enough, but … I now want to be alone in a crowd and not bothered by anyone.

There comes a time when reality hurts

He is so special that it hurts me to think I can do nothing more than I am …. the system is taking over. I should not have to protect him that’s what parents do, obviously I have screwed up as a father, and my son has failed, albeit in adulthood.

I am sitting in Costas in Portsmouth crying and crying I see no solution to our grandson being fostered or adopted. He will be gone from our life forever.

My son and his partner have apparently been unable to care for him and someone has contacted social services. It’s right and proper to protect him but it hurts and hurts – every time I stop thinking the pain returns and twists me over.

Last Friday my partner was collecting him for a stay over, very normal, could be one night, could be two nights, it matters not. The police either arrived or where there questioning his mum and dad. Social services had been informed by someone that they were not good parents. There may have been cause for concern that our son had fallen backwards down the stairs after our grandson was being cross with being taken out of the bath.

He is bright and very active and he keeps us busy. He is inquisitive, he is able to draw pieces of information together to check things with question, in much the same way he builds towers with tubes. He is able to reuse things he has been told. He understands and recognises sadness and knows he can help to make people feel better. What else is there for a boy of a month away from three years of age?

Drugs were searched for and found. Our sons partner kicked off big time and had to be restrained.

One of the policemen recognised my partner as being one of two (me the other) that collected our grandson when a similar event occurred. I imagined he checked and she and our grandson were allowed to leave.

Well, it’s like this

In a case of the tales of mystery and suspense it caught me by surprise. Sitting happily, pins and needles started in my right foot, travelled up my right leg, through my body, up to my shoulder and into my mouth where my tongue tingled and it felt like an anaesthetic and would not work.

As quick as it started it stopped. I was left wondering whether I had dreamt it or not.

I went home and at about midnight it started again. While not alone I was the only one awake. I called 111 and after a time and three telephone calls an ambulance was on its way as it was thought I could be having a heart attack.

After tests by the paramedics, no heart attack was detected, but good reasons for a trip to the hospital were the thoughts.

5:30am discharged with no diagnosis just a watch and see programme was advised and a trip to the GP.

A friend, a chat

On this occasion time was not pressing so we just I talked and talked. He did know I had been treated for PTSD and I talked about the process of EMDR and without any warning I found my self fighting back tears and not really able to continue the conversation.

I had revisited my past and those memories of the train accident returned at full blast, just full unabated blast. That shocked me greatly. I did not know where it came from and I said that I had thought I had a learnt to manage those feelings and was able to revisit the accident and walk calmly through the scene and accept I could do no more – but how wrong I was.

It was several week ago now and I think of that event with mixed emotions. I was shocked that the memory was still so vividly and emotional for me. Then, how innocent the trigger was.

Reflecting on that, I was pleased that my fear of forgetting the event had not taken place as I felt I would be disrespectful to those who were hurt in the train crash.

Blocked her number

Everything was in place for the post Christmas visit to us so an animated telephone call saying the visit would not happen if our son would not unblock her phone was a surprise.

She was insistent that no phone contact means she will not allow the visit to take place. Being able to contact him while he had the children is not unreasonable.

We made several telephone calls to both parties and agreed that he would unblock her calls for the duration of the visit and the children were with him.

It transpires that she had called him about 15 times on the trot and was abusive in all of them. Don’t know what about but not worried.

She mentioned that our son had not seen his children for 10 days. Which is wrong by the information we have.

During the call to us she declared that she knows she had pushed him to far and was very sorry and felt it was wrong.

Our son said he was really not prepared to take any more abuse and it was not his intention to permanently block her as there are valid reasons to stay accessible.

The next day the visit did not start well, but we don’t know why.

What I feel

 

It’s strange … I have written a lot describing the circumstances and plight of the two families in my daily life and not really considered my feelings and attitudes to what is happening. Well, now is the time to unload …

It does effect me. It is not a position I thought I would ever be in. I thought I would be Mr Average and match the statistics: married, 2.4 children, a pet. Blah blah blah.

I do match that description but the problems we have encountered with children are beyond my expectations. I say that as if I had considered the process and made a conscious decision and accepted the risk. No. I had no idea and I don’t think there were any real pointers out there for me to see that would have informed my decisions.

I now appreciate the significance of the saying ‘Children don’t come with a manual’: Not even a go warily. Even looking at those people around me in the formative years of parenthood did not signify real problems. Yes as time progressed sleepless nights, house smelling of nappy contents and the rooms littered with hiding Lego blocks just waiting for nightfall and bear feet did not alert me.

On the humorous side there are Lady Bird books for mum’s and dad’s now. But all in lovely drawn sweet colours and to be taken with a humorous pinch of salt.

My vision of were I am now is simple: In the wrong place! No complaints. I am not disappointed as my mantra has always been ‘don’t look back at unfulfilled wishes’

Looking at the age range the early school years were fun. Seeing growth and personality traits was interesting.

Independence and free spirited youth and the teenagers years were littered with trials and errors made by them. We have supported them all the time. We have never said ‘told you so…’ and we have never cast judgement but let them know our thoughts.

Perhaps the biggest problem is the open and unimpeded accesses to people’s unknown. Starting to loose influence here!

Young adults does mean treating them respect and certainly not creating mini-mes’.

We have had many exploratory conversation so they have understood where we stand on things and have witnessed many learning events they took themselves but never battered them at what they inwardly knew and accept were wrong decisions.

I have only stopped one lad from doing two things and both while in his 20’s. Using his mobile while in the bath while having it plugged into the mains to charge, and overloading his estate car with fence panels etc. to deliver them to me before starting a 200 mile car journey after. His car is his livelihood and I considered the benefit to me was outweighed by keeping him on the road.

All in all I am not where I though I would be, but I am also not sure where that is either.

Who should know?

I am a stickler for recording things, call it obsessional!

I mentioned to our son that he should write the facts down as he remembers them now, as they fade and get contaminated by other memories

If the children arrive at play school with bruises or cuts questions will be asked.

We know exactly how his ex-partner portrays events and will tell miss-truths to anyone who she needs to tell, and I feel he would be named as the culprit for hurting his children to shift the blame.

I am not sure whether I have written this before but in my opinion she could get an innocent man hung.

Christmas – when someone can screw you over

The decorations are up, the food brought and cats asleep. Arrangements have been made to visit the old family home and start Christmas Day in an amicable way – children, presents, mince pies. 🙂

Christmas Eve our son was told that his ex-partners’ father was coming around on Christmas morning and she did not want to rush him away so he could not come around.

So Christmas Day was cancelled at short notice so my son did Not see his children as her father had preferential claim to see them.

We were told that our son had cancelled the day because he wanted to spend Christmas Day with his new partner.

So, Christmas Day for our son and his children was morphed into Boxing Day.

A little later the duration of his absence was used against him to berate him for not coming around over Christmas to see his children.

In my opinion that’s what we are dealing with: Vindictive actions dished up with sweetness and mistruth.

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