Challenges …

Challenges …

Calming friends, inside and out …

How wonderful it would be if I could say to our son ‘I have to go out each day to complete Jury services for a couple of weeks’ … It seems simple enough and clear enough. Ok, understanding what happens when you are a member of a Jury may need some explaining, but the essence of being involved in something for a couple of weeks is, one would think, straightforward.

Sadly this is not the case – even as I write this article, I have to break off and rush to his aid as he collapses with yet another seizure – strangely, it’s not the seizures that are the main worry. Over thirty years, we have learned that they happen and what to do to ensure his safety until he recovers again. That can take minutes or days, depending on the seizure. The Autism is our biggest concern when changes happen such as being called for Jury service.

Our son needs, strict routine and consistency in all aspects of his life. It was said to us that when his maternal grandmother and grandfather passed away, this sent him into a depression that he will unlikely come out of, as he can’t process death and understanding of it is way beyond him. We continue to try to explain and have many books and specialists who are guiding us on how to explain it, but sadly our son’s learning disabilities prevent him from understanding comparisons, which most guides and advice use. To this end, we try and expose him to as much and a varied an experience as we can, so we can recall in picture form to try and enable understanding.

No matter how much we plan and prepare for this time when I am on Jury service, we know he won’t easily handle it. I will telephone as frequent as I can, I will be home each night (at least I hope so) and it will only be a two week period (again, I hope so) but he will slip into a very quiet and dark place as all he will see, is that I am leaving, just like his grandparents, just like his cousin who now lives abroad and it will take a while at the end of it to bring him round.

We did speak to the courts and my plea to be excused was disregarded as they say, my wife is here and we have other family members who can come in to support her. For me, this is another example of where people just don’t understand the effect on the mental wellbeing of others. I know the civic duty I am obliged to deliver (now the second time) but,Β  I’ll get in, get it done and get out again and hopefully pick up the pieces at home quickly and smoothly.

To aid this, we have been creating various aspects and environments to help my wife and our son remain distracted from my absence, not least of all ‘Lady Bronte’ our Parson Terrier who has developed great affection for our son and our garden with its ever increasing wildlife to attract his attention. We have placed some pots on the decking outside the living room window where our son like to sit and the butterflies visit with great frequency and our son and Lady Bronte watch from the dry warmth of indoors as they flutter around.


12 thoughts on “Challenges …

    1. Your very kind Nora, it will be a bad couple of weeks, but hopefully we can help him recover speedily afterwards, we have no other options now πŸ™‚

  1. How sad and unenlightened of the authorities not to consider your plea with more (some) understanding.
    I do so hope that the trial is short and straightforward.
    If not…… how about going in to court with a wee piece of black cloth on your head, proclaim that the defendant is guilty as charged and will be sentenced immediately.
    You might be considered sufficiently unsuitable for jury service and be sent home. πŸ˜‰

  2. I was about to tell you to ask to be excused jury service. Only to my horror to find out that you did ask and were refused.
    Doesn’t anyone understand about handicaps and that you are actually *needed* at home, for goodness sake?
    I shall go off and rant elsewhere. Do hope Marc copes OK Paul and that the trail doesn’t go on for too long.

    1. Thank you Jane, I’ve ranted myself quietly and even offered my wife to take my place – that would work so much more easily, but the system apparently doesn’t work like that! I think, if the case goes on beyond the two weeks the Jury is given the option to decline, but even then it is up to the judge to accept the reasons …or not. The sad thing is, his mood is already changing and you can see him struggle to come to terms with what will happen!

  3. I find it strange that you can’t get an exemption, Paul! Here any caregiver is automatically excused from duty, notwithstanding that there may be substitute carers available. Having said that I hope that Marc copes well with the separation and that the recovery afterwards might be quick and easier. Thoughts and prayers will be with!

    1. I had hoped too David, but it seems that because I have a wife, it is assumed ‘care’ is covered adequately!! We will get through it, and hopefully I may be released early each day. Thank you so much.

  4. I wonder if some photo’s of where you will be would help Paul. Would that give Marc a constant connection with you during the day, knowing and seeing where you were.
    Can’t believe the authorities can’t understand your position.

    1. That’s a great idea Les, I’ll see what I can come up with. Sadly, I think since 2012 Paralympics, there is less understanding and awareness amongst authorities now than there was before, irrespective of legacies the games left and when it comes to trying to explain mental issues and learning disabilities, well! Thank you so much for your support Les.

  5. That is going to tough on you all; fingers crossed that preparations, distractions and phone calls do help and that things recover as quickly as they can once you are back home, Maybe the court will be more understanding, and let you finish early if at all possible.

    1. Thank you so much Jackie, on the positive side, it will likely only be for two weeks, though the consequences will last many weeks after, our plan is to keep things calm and not over compensate but target little break at the end, that he can look forward to and focus on. You can rest assured if there is an opportunity to leave early, I will. Thank you so much for your support!

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