The Foundation

So here’s the thing that is a basic fact. For something to be strong, it needs a solid, well constructed and well laid foundation. Whether it’s something physical, like a house, or something less tangible, such as a way of life or company. It all starts with the foundation. If the base is strong and secure then it will support whatever is piled on top of it.

About 6 or 7 years ago I hit a point in my life that I took a long hard look at my structural integrity and at what I had chosen to lay as my foundation and I realized that there were some serious issues going on that needed attending to. Nothing that was going to cause things to crumble but just that it wasn’t quite “right”. So I started to do what is needed.

Let’s use the analogy of a house, for ease of the written word meandering and the mind’s eye conjuring.

When you look and see cracks in the foundation or notice that it was built faulty, you fix it. Maybe the original plan for the structure of the house was good but over the years, the purpose of the house took a different angle than what it was originally built for… and the foundation isn’t quite right for what it’s meant to support. Maybe an extra load was built on top and now the foundation needs to be reinforced to bear the force that it’s being asked to carry. Maybe there have been some nasty storms and damage and the base has been hit hard by some quakes and it needs some rebuilding. All very much fixable and what you would do when you notice it needs doing. Simple.

So I did that. I saw the changes needed and I started. Chipping away here and there to work away the rot and angles that just weren’t right. Paying close attention to the areas that needed shoring up and some extra ground work done to make the base capable and substantial.Along the way, with every strength built I saw the stability and the confidence of the structure of me grow. It went that way for a couple of years. There were some storms in there that hit hard and knocked me back a bit, but the foundation was setting as it was laid. A work in progress, yes, but very much progressing.

Then something happened that not only halted the work, it pretty much blew the whole damn thing apart. Torn apart, the structure was gone in a split second. A blast of loss that hit hard enough to shatter the base as well. Never mind cracks,most of the foundation was just simply not there anymore.

Quite simply, the roots of me that had been struggling to find their grasp and dig in were gone. Feels like they are still gone. My confidence in my Self, my abilities, my capabilities, it’s broken. My belief in Me – fundamentally fractured. Damaged.

There was a time when I may have had the odd bout of issues with self confidence or doubting myself but on a base level – I knew my power. My strength. My will. I never had any doubt that I would be ok at the end of the day. I knew, without a doubt that I was solid and unmovable. I knew Me, who I was and what I was capable of – and it was something to be reckoned with.

Loss, and grief, took that. Still has it actually.

There was a time that I knew my skills and my abilities – knew them and felt how good I was at them. There was a time that I may have had nerves going on but they were never because I didn’t think I knew my stuff or that I had the right to be giving the presentation or facing the room. I knew the truth of my capabilities.

There was a time that I didn’t doubt whether my lover would find pleasure under my hands or with our time spent intimately together. Times that I didn’t doubt if I was worth someone’s time.

There was a time that I didn’t doubt whether I could pick up a new skill or technique. I knew I could. I knew that all I needed was to be shown and to learn and that I would get it. Without a doubt.

Now, after that blast three and a half years ago, still rebuilding, I do doubt. Deeply and profoundly. Deep enough to feel shaken and to question the very base structure of my Self. Every little bit of groundwork laid so tenuous and loosely balanced it feels like it can be blown off with a whisper – and it is, often and repeatedly. Only to be picked up again and laid back in place, trying to make it stick. Trying to rebuild.

Held accountable

Accountability has been on my mind lately. I’m not sure what has stirred up the issue again but it’s there. Front and center in my mind when it comes to grieving – again.

This isn’t a new issue for me when it comes to Willie’s care and his death. It’s something that I’ve pondered before here and it’s something that is back to nag at me again.

So the question I’m bouncing around is, is it time to finally let it go or is this something that I need to and want to deal with. I fought for months to get the records of my son’s care and treatment from his family doctor, the hospitals he was an in-patient with, the counselling providers that he saw and the government agency that he had care through as well. Months of frustration and paperwork and phone calls and ultimately meetings. Months that did, eventually, bring about chart records and treatment notes. Such as they were. Some of it redacted – government “cover your ass” in full swing. Most of it sadly incomplete and vague. Notes and records that barely touched on his issues and made sweeping generalizations and care plans that were formulaic and non-committal. Records and notes that left me more upset and frustrated than when I had started the process. So I put them away. I had spent a few weeks going through them and, to be honest, it wasn’t healthy for me then. It tore at me and ate me up inside. It hurt, it more than hurt. So I put them away. I organized them all and tucked them away along with his journals and his notes and the few mementos of his that I kept. I needed to not have that swirling about inside my mind and my heart anymore.

So now why, after over a year, is it back? I still haven’t taken them out of their hiding place. All quietly stored away, but starting to draw me. The nagging and wondering still there. The anger is back. Anger at the failure and the complacency of shrugging off responsibility that happened. Anger that startles me at times with how fast it comes up and how fierce it is. I don’t care that the family doctor has reportedly retired, I want him to be held to task for his actions in all this. I want to stand in front of him and tell him he fucked up. Yell at him that he was wrong – that he was a shitty doctor when he said and did what he did. I want him to feel his wrongness, I want him to feel accountable – because he is, in my opinion.

I want the therapists and counsellors and psychiatrists to see the course of their actions – and to see their role in the outcome.

I want the Ministry of Children and Family Development to see the disaster that is their organizational structure and how it executes the care that is needed – and not provided. I don’t want to hear anymore how they are fulfilling their mandate of care and treatment and how they ARE providing adequate services for everyone who needs it. I want the Ministry representative who sat with my son’s file in his hands – in the same room as me – and told me that he couldn’t let me see it to know that that isn’t right.

Is there legal recourse for any of this? Probably not. There’s no way to prove that a different course of action or treatment or diagnosis would have resulted in a different outcome. Mental illness is, in some ways, very different from physical illness. Yet in some ways, it’s so similar.

Would things have turned out differently if our family doctor had taken me seriously three years earlier when I first went to him? Maybe. Maybe not.

Would Willie still be alive had that family doctor not addressed his note to me – a note that plainly said he was scared and suicidal – with the comment that Willie was “bluffing and grandstanding – call him on it”. Maybe. Maybe not.

Would it have been different had the hospital psychiatrist looked at the journals I brought him instead of saying they were “private” (and keep in mind, at this point Willie was committed involuntarily under the Mental Health Act)? Maybe. Maybe not. I am certain it would not have been a generic diagnosis of depression and anxiety that was set on if they had seen the contents of those journals. Journals that clearly told of voices and fears of homicide and becoming a monster. Journals that openly referred to the only way out of his own head as being that of death. So maybe. Or maybe not.

We’ll never know, and that’s what’s tearing me apart. Again.