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.  

THE MEETING

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)

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