The Meeting – a poem
I’m so not a poet. Writing a poem for me is one of those occasional, when the feeling takes me, kind of things. I first wrote of version of this one in 2014 but since then I’ve re-written it. I realise poems are not my usual style of blog, but after all, poems are just words with a different rhythm.
I dedicate this poem to every parent who has ever sat in a meeting with Social Services, or with the Local Authority or an NHS Trust, a Supported Living, Care or Residential Home or any other official body who pretended to be listening to them, but in reality, simply wasn’t hearing them at all. I’d also like to dedicate it to every highly experienced professional who already had their answers prepared long before the parents entered the room with their questions. To every professional who made life changing decisions about a young person they’d chosen not to meet. To every professional who put budget before well-being. To everyone who found the parent’s concerns tiresome, frankly would have preferred that they were not in the room, and then made it very obvious how they felt.
I’d also like to dedicate it to every family who like us, now has an empty place at the table. Not because you didn’t try hard enough – you strived with every fibre of your being to give your child the best, the happiest and the longest life possible.
If you’re a parent and you’re ever in a meeting like this. If you’ve ever considered, even for a moment, not making a fuss about something that’s worrying you – remember Nico. Listen to what the professionals have to say but remember, none of them has been a specialist on the subject of your child for as long as you have.
We asked to have a meeting
When the response was slow
To talk about the meeting
We’d had several months ago
They all came to the meeting
And bought fat files and letters
Some familiar and new faces
But all definitely our betters
They patronised us kindly
When we asked them to explain
Spoke in acronyms and jargon
To assure us they felt no blame
So quickly they agreed upon
Dates for the next meeting too
And insisted that they wanted
“To hear the parent’s point of view”
They left the table catching up
And chatting with each other
Of other meetings, another case
Another problem mother
And they hardly noticed
Our teary indecision
But we were clear and certain when
We spoke of our decision
Sighing, they patted us with parting words
Some dashed off to the loo
Some stayed to say in stronger terms
Oh Mum, why do you worry as you do?
Nico Reed (13.4.1989 – 22.8.2012)