Put Your Lights On

I was just finishing walking the dogs on what felt like the first real day of spring, we’d walked for miles, taken in a pub lunch and Cairo – the new dog, a rescue from Shrewsbury had been off-lead for the first time. It was glorious- then the phone rang.

It was Shirley’s care home and those calls always give me a sinking feeling and today was one of those days where things weren’t great.

The care home itself is lovely, it has views over Richmond and Shirley can see the castle from her window. The staff are amazing and there’s never been a moment when Shirley hasn’t been looked after. She broke her hip a while ago, but the team helped to get her back to normal amazingly quickly.

This call wasn’t about care though. It was about the lingering psychological damage Susan and her little crew have left Shirley with. See True Detective and all the subsequent posts for some grim reading.

This call was about the subject that I always dread. Shirley’s address book. It comes up every few months and – every few months, I have to tell Shirley that all her contacts and therefore relatives – are lost forever because some psycho cut her and Arthur off by design.

And so, I spent ten minutes or so going through the story with the lovely lady from the care home and giving her the script to play back to Shirley.

The address book is gone. It was probably gone as long ago as 2017. I searched the house after it went on the market and none of Arthur and Shirley’s possessions were there. Susan had effectively removed their existence.

We closed the call and I promised to get up there soon- not easy these days, a seven hour round trip, but..but.. there’s nobody else really.

And, by that time, I was home and did the automatic checking the phone for notifications thing.

There was a WordPress notification

Somebody claiming to be a relative of Shirley had reached out, they gave details that only somebody who knew Shirley could possibly know. And they gave an email address.

I mailed it and asked for a phone number.

And received one within minutes.

I called the number and it was a nephew – the son of Shirley’s sister.

He told me details that I’d never heard of and gave me information that will open the roadblock to getting Arthur’s pension to Shirley. He has two siblings and one lives an hour away from Shirley.

They’ve been looking for Shirley too and my blog was the first information that showed them that she was still alive. His wife has done some amazing detective work on this and so, within thirty minutes of an awful phone call, the best news that I’ve heard for years came along

The home now know their details and they’re on the official list to visit etc. (I have to agree visitors because…….)

Oh and that photo.

It’s Arthur and Shirley’s wedding day. I’ve never seen it before. It’s being sent along with others to Shirley.

A minor one to be sure. But a miracle nonetheless.

Keep fighting. Keep hoping. Sometimes it’s worth it.

6 thoughts on “Put Your Lights On

  1. I have followed this story from early-ish days, and since then have experienced (and attempted to deal with) family and associated criminal things which whilst not quite in tune with what you have had to deal with, do at least strongly rhyme.

    You, sir, are a moral paragon. I don’t think your writings represent a fraction of the emotional toll on you that I suspect has been incurred. And that’s because you are focused on doing what is needed for those who are in need, in the face of an expensive bureaucracy that would rather avoid the icky reality.

    It’s both depressing (them) and wildly uplifting (you).

    Salut.

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