Weekend of Bink’s birthday, 1st March 2014
We put permission in place to enable Bink to visit over her birthday weekend. Not her birthday itself, Saturday 1st March, because the girls’ choir already had an activity for the day.
But the next day, Sunday, provided:
Gatsby had absolutely no contact with Rose, or even the school.
Bink and Rosie stayed on site, supervised, and didn’t leave the premises.
Bink was able to call in the services of another adult, known to us and authorised by the school, to take responsibility for Rosie off-site.
It was the custom that whichever choir, boys’ or girls’, was not on Matins duty would attend the cathedral Sunday School. They could be excused to go out with parents; but we didn’t want Rosie to miss this.
So Bink attended Sunday School with her, and did the activities alongside her.
Then had school lunch with her. Then they spent the afternoon in school together.
(Gatsby presumably drove Bink up for the weekend. And drove her back down again afterwards. But this was none of our business. He was not seen at the school.)
The house mother reported afterwards what a lovely day the sisters had had together. Bink was charming to everybody, spent time talking to the head and “put a smile on Rosie’s face”.
So far, so good.
Two weeks later she turned up at the school again. Unannounced. Unexpected. Without permission.
To spend the weekend with Rose again.
How much of my life has been spent agonising? Ringing friends for advice. Unable to find any professionals who can tell you what to do...
An eleven year old child.
A sister in her late twenties. Out of communication with the parents. And out of her mind.
Who love each other.
It was a Saturday. Bink there already. Having travelled two hundred and twenty miles. Alone. To see her.
I rang a GP friend.
And a vicar friend.
Both wise, kind women. With personal, family experience of mental illness.
What do we do?
Drafted as careful and loving a letter as I could. Explaining. It was understandable, the misunderstanding.
But she needed permission from us each time. She couldn’t turn up and see Rose without, just because it had been arranged once.
We would give permission now, of course, because she was there. But another time...
A member of staff gave Bink the letter.
And later that day spoke to us. It’s not that I’m on her side, the teacher said.
Oh, my life.
Side?! Shaun said in exasperation. There aren’t any sides.
(There is only sadness.)
They have to stay professional.
I knew exactly what had happened. On receiving my letter – which she never read, not a word of – Bink burst into tears of such distress, such torment, such panic...
It has happened before.
You can’t help but want to help, when confronted by Bink’s raw suffering. I can’t, anyway. Why should anyone else?
How evil and manipulative we must appear. To someone who had no idea.
I’ve even suffered members of my own family telling me I don’t seem to realise Bink is ill.