Changing Trains

It’s been a long time now. If someone had told me how long it would be at the beginning I don’t think I would have believed them and I wouldn’t have wanted it to be true. But in some ways it also feels as if it’s been no time at all. If someone walked into my house right now and told me we were collecting Nico from school today and going off on holiday I’d probably cry with relief that this has all just been a bad dream that is now over, but strange to say, I wouldn’t be amazed. Because I still feel so close to when we were just a normal, happy family with Nico at the centre. This still feels so real I could almost touch it. It’s almost as if all the terrible experiences we’ve been through in the last two years run parallel to the real world and for some reason I’ve been forced to live in this parallel world. I know that makes no sense and I dread the day I accept that this is not a parallel world – this is going to be our now and forever new normal world.

But yesterday I changed trains. Today I realised that there’s a real possibility that in changing trains I may in time go forward to finding a place of peace and acceptance – a place where I can exist in this new world, this new normal. A place where I can love Nico and think of him with love, but there won’t be pain, bitterness and anger. Getting ready for the inquest and fighting through the inquest was drawn out over a period of almost 18 months from the first date we were given in June 2013 to the final day of the inquest in December 2014 and that has most definitely taken its toll. I only realised yesterday just what a toll it has been. Anyone who says that an inquest of our type is not combative, is not confrontational, has clearly never experienced it.   It is awful and draining and all consuming. You are riding on a run-away train and where it takes you to is quite terrifying, but you are equally terrified by the thought of getting off.

We were told at an early stage that the inquest was no more than a side-show, no matter now intense it would feel, and that the real work would only begin after the inquest was finished. A few weeks after the inquest ended we applied to NHS England for an investigation. Then we waited. It was rather like when your train stops and someone announces that you’ll be delayed but they don’t know how long it will be for? That was us. Sitting and waiting and waiting some more. Waiting for someone to tell us that the train would start again and where it would take us.

Then, a couple of weeks ago we heard. We were not to have a Serious Case Review but we were instead to have a full Independent Investigation. Partly because of the huge scope and complexity of Nico’s case a Serious Case Review would not have been able to look into everything we raised, it wouldn’t have had a sufficiently wide remit. But an Independent Investigation would cover a lot more and that is what we wanted and asked for.

I dreaded the first meeting with NHS England and the Clinical Commissioning Group. Yesterday I entered the room to meet with them with the same cold and horrid panic the inquest process had created in me. But when I left that room and those people I knew without doubt that I had changed trains. For someone like me, with what we have endured at the hands of Southern Health, their legal team and the coroner’s court, just simply to be met by people who plainly care. People who are as outraged as we are and just as determined to bring these people to book, was an epiphany. To be treated kindly, courteously, to be listened to and believed meant more to me than I can easily put here into words.

Within the next three weeks we will receive our first document which will detail the scope of the investigation. Within a few weeks after that we will be going through the candidates who wish to be considered as investigator on this investigation. We will choose who we prefer, we will choose together and we will choose who we all think will do the best possible job. Then we press go. Then the investigation begins and we have been told to expect it to last at least 6 months and possibly as long as a year. That doesn’t matter to me right now. What matters is that it’s a far reaching, thorough investigation.

I already think about the faces of those people who are going to receive letters letting them know that the investigator wants to interview them. I am already thinking about the papers that will be demanded and the explanations sought out with a certain degree of tough mindedness. Did they really think they had just got away with it all?

Yes, I have changed trains and the new train that I ride on is a different train. It is taking a different route and I feel very different to be riding on it.

This train only has one destination. It is bound for justice.


11 thoughts on “Changing Trains

    • Oh wisest of all the grannies, thank you so much for your lovely words. I was dashing this morning before going off to work, trying to remember EVERYONE I needed to alert to this post and then I went and forgot you! How could that have even been possible, so I’m glad that you saw it and yes – it was definitely waiting for you. X

  1. If its ok with you Rosi I will join you on this train journey. I will be serving you tea, coffee and cakes all made with as much love and support that I can give, and that you deserve.xx

  2. I have thought of you often over these past months, and wondered how you were. Thank you for sharing so eloquently. Justice for Nick, and justice for you. xx

  3. I dislike my tablet and predictive text so much. I know Nico is what I wrote – I am so so sorry. I need to edit it somehow.

  4. Predictive text is the curse of the modern world & has landed me in it on many occasions. I knew what you meant and it is fine. Believe me Caroline, after all I’ve been through Nico having his name altered by some silly computer chip is the least of my worries. What’s more important is that you’ve read the blog and you’ve written and that you send heartfelt support to us both. X

    • Thank you for your reply & your generosity of spirit Rosi. I will continue to read your blogs and am right behind you all the way. Whatever stations you stop at, you will have support from so many folk. Nico’s smiling face will never be forgotten x

      • Thank is SUCH a lovely thing to say. I plan to be writing a lot in the next couple of months so look out for lots more photos of Nico and his wonderful smile. X

  5. So pleased for you that you at last have the opportunity to have a proper investigation. Even more pleased that it sounds like you are starting the next part of your journey stronger than ever before.
    Hope you gain more strength knowing you have people who care about you standing right behind you. Xxx

    • The problem with an inquest is that it really only touches on a tiny part of what happened and the judgement is made at the end by a coroner with no previous experience or understanding of the world of social care and disability. Ironic that the inquest is so completely traumatic and the process so lengthy when it actually achieves little. The investigation, by contrast, with take almost a quarter of the time (even if it takes a year) and is able to investigate with a far wider scope, turning over some particularly murky rocks to poke about underneath! I’ll be blogging more about the investigation as it all unfolds. Thank you Joanne and WELCOME to Justice for Nico world!

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