Wednesday morning to Thursday, November (my mistake: not October) 2013.
We dithered in the carpark.
Please could we take Serena and Christian home?
Wait. Diversion via Kennington would be slower than tube.
Too tired to function, all of us.
Dropped them off at a station somewhere.
Went home. Fell into bed.
Should have been in Washington DC by now.
Thursday 21st November, 2013 10:47
[Bending over into somersaults to be tactful and kind and keep him on board whilst trying to explain what was at stake.]
Thank you for your friendship towards Bink and all you do for her.
It was very good of you indeed to be there for her in the hospital. You looked drained and utterly exhausted, and we are inevitably concerned for you. We have experienced all this before with Bink, many times, long before she knew you: yesterday morning was a re-run of the morning of 10th December, 1997. We owe it to you to spell out that it can (and probably will) get very much worse, and that an open and indefinite invitation to Bink to make her home with you, unconditionally, would currently mean being available around the clock to ensure her safety and oversee her medical care. This would inevitably compromise your care of your own daughter and is not right or appropriate.
Jay, we all realise you realise what I am about to write. I want to spelt it out partly to liberate you: Bink needs to be at home.
She needs daily medical care. Michelle [the psychiatric nurse] indicated that home is a better place to set this up.
She currently needs someone in the house with her continuously: there are several people here to share being available for her. Someone may need to sacrifice earning a living to be her carer.
Your first responsibility is to your own daughter (and son). You cannot and must not put Bink before your own children. It is not helpful for your daughter to witness a dangerous suicide threat being used as a means of getting help. (This is not a criticism of Bink: she didn’t know how else to ask. Your daughter needs to learn from safer models.)
She has issues with us which are “freezing” her. Living at a distance, she can postpone these indefinitely. It has taken a close friend of mine into his sixties to resolve similar issues (if indeed he ever has) and they have wrecked his happiness and his relationships. If Bink takes twenty years, she will lose having a family of her own.
If Bink kills herself, it will be a tragic loss of a very dear friend to you. To us her family, it will redefine who we are. We must take responsibility for it.
I suspect we are all in agreement about most of this.
The challenge, of course, is getting her here. You have made a promise that your home is always available to her; and you believe she must make this choice herself. You may have better solutions. My suggestions are:
Circumstances change promises. She is currently at risk and you are not in a position to ensure her safety: no one person has the resources to do this, and you certainly have not as she demonstrated by accusing you of not meeting her needs. You have a daughter who is vulnerable at the moment, whose needs eclipse Bink’s. Moreover Bink is asking for, and needs, more than your promise. You promised a corner of your house: you did not promise full-time care [little did I know that in fact he had] nor to compromise your daughter’s welfare [that too, in effect: he had told his own children that Bink was now a member of their family] nor presumably to meet demands that are beyond you [and again… as was to become amply demonstrated].
By closing off a less-good option, you make the safer choice more possible for her. (Yes, she could choose something worse. If she does she will know what she is doing. The responsibility to remove an option that is not the best does not include eliminating all those that are worse.)
I am including the family (except Rosie: she has had enough) in this email because I am (I believe) representing the family's views rather than my own. I am including [another mutual friend] because Bink wanted [this friend] involved in the decision as to where she should live.
We are very, very grateful to you both. You are both extraordinary friends, and Bink is very fortunate indeed to have you.
On a different subject, Ben feels strongly that Bink would be better protected if you would renegotiate – or rather, not negotiate at all, but tell her – what confidentiality means, and that you will always tell her parents when she is at risk, or in hospital, or missing. (It would have been helpful, for instance, to know she had been in Fulbourn Hospital last week.) She told Ben yesterday that she wanted to “tell [her siblings] stuff,” but thought it might, “get passed on”. Ben assured her that she could speak to him in confidence, but explained that confidence is never absolute and he may occasionally have to pass things on if there are issues of safety – as anyone responsible would do. Bink seemed to accept this clear rule without difficulty. It could be helpful for you to ask Ben why he believes this so passionately, and has for some time.
In the small hours of yesterday morning Rosie dreamt of Bink's body floating in a dark river. We are all working together to avert that future.
Thank you again.