Scenario 1: A Time In The Past
“I feel so sorry for those kids.”
The police officer looks at the young pair, his face etched with concern and pity. “Their Mum’s been sent to the psych ward again? It’s so sad… ”
He’s right. These kids have had a tough go of it. Mum has a mental illness and has obviously been using drugs again – that’s her pattern. She’s been sent off to the city once more for treatment.
The kids are waiting for someone to come and collect them.
Mum’s current boyfriend is in prison.
There are no relatives so it’s the Grandma of one of Mum’s ex-boyfriends who will make the trip down to collect them and care for them until Mum is deemed well enough to take responsibility for them again.
In the meantime they sit, busy with their homework, the older sister capably assisting her younger brother with his spelling list.
They are composed, matter-of-fact.
I know these two. They are polite, co-operative, yet guarded and protective of their Mum.
They call me only when they are in serious trouble. The rest of the time I am invisible to them – barely acknowledged.
They know I will not fuss or ask questions.
I know how much it costs them to have to ask for help – they have a fierce pride and sense of dignity.
I have enormous respect for them.
Our conversation is polite yet we avoid anything personal or emotional. Sympathy embarrasses them. They do not want pity. The girl sends me a grateful look of relief when I tell the police officer that I will wait with them until the carer arrives.
After all, we have done this all before… Continue reading