In July this year I wrote my first poem for at least 38 years, if not longer. The solicitor representing us at Nico’s inquest was ringing me that morning to discuss the forthcoming Pre-Inquest Review meeting and I waited nervously for the call.
The call never came because she had been called into court about another case unexpectedly, so for several hours that morning I found myself sitting in front of the computer trying to write something for the blog so I felt I was filling my time usefully.
I couldn’t get started so I decided to start writing see what happened. To my great surprise this poem was what happened! What was even more surprising (amazing) to me at the time was that other people seemed to enjoy reading it. This is the second version I’ve published on the blog as I felt the first version needed “tidying up”. So I’ve deleted the original and here’s the new one.
I’d like to dedicate this poem to every parent who has ever sat in a meeting with Social Services, the Local Authority or any other official body who listened to them without hearing them and then gave them the answers they had planned to give long before anyone had entered the room. We know we’re a nuisance to these people because they make it very obvious that we are, but next time you’re in a meeting like this and you even consider for a moment not making a fuss about something that’s worrying you – remember us, remember Nico and remember what can happen if you start to believe for a moment that the professionals who surround your life might know better than you do.
And so we had a meeting
A meeting about the meeting
We’d had about the meeting
Several months before
They all came to the meeting
They bought fat files and letters
Familiar and new faces mixed
All definitely our betters
They patronised us kindly
When we asked them to explain
Spoke in acronyms and jargon
To show there was no blame
They happily agreed upon
Dates for our next meetings too
And wanted us to be there
“To hear the parent’s point of view”
They left the table catching up
And chatting with each other
Of other meetings, another case
Another problem mother
And they hardly noticed
Our teary indecision
But in reaching for the tissues
We spoke of our decision
So they patted us with parting words,
Some dashed off to the loo
Some stayed to tell us in strong terms
Oh Mrs Reed why do you worry as you do?
Nico Reed (13.4.1989 – 22.8.2012)