Friday, November 30, 2007

Visits with Frankie

The letter from Frankie obviously raises the question of visits.

What will happen is complicated, or maybe it is very simple. I would like to visit Frankie. The rest of the family does not (yet). It would be wrong to confuse Frankie about the possibility of him coming back here.

Simple, huh?

It is feels very complicated because I don't know what Frankie understands or how he will process any information I give him. Remember, Frankie was saying that he wanted to go. He liked us, would miss us, but he was unsatisfied with his education (and at one point with the fact that he kept losing things) and so he needed to go. During the last few days he was here, Frankie felt like he was in control of the process. He was getting what he wanted because he wanted it.

In those days I was trying to keep him calm and feeling agitated that there wasn't a bed for him at the adolescent psych unit. If Frankie believed that he was in control and that helped him feel calm, I was not going to argue with him. I didn't like deceiving him, or playing into his delusion, but I decided the need to keep him safe trumped everything else.

When he left I made a point of telling him that I had known where he was going, even though I had said that I didn't. I told him that I thought he needed to be at the residential center because I couldn't keep him safe. I wanted him to know that I had been lying to him, not because I wanted to hurt him but because if he was willing to have any sort of relationship with me I wanted him to know who I was.

At the very least I did not want him imagining me as the nice lady who would have kept him if he decided to stay and who had been lied to just like he had. No. I was the woman who agreed that he needed to be somewhere he didn't want to go, lied to him for three days, and then told him at the last minute that she did it because she thought she had to for him to be safe. He had every right to know that, and to be angry at me for lying to him and for patronizing him. I hoped that he would come to forgive me for lying to him and be willing to see me, but I wanted any future contact to be based upon honesty.

And I am not going to lie to him again.

So I am going to call Diane (the agency worker) and have her talk to his state worker and the wonderful counselor he still gets to see. I'm going to ask her to make sure they both know that Frankie cannot come back and then take their advice on what sort and how much contact to have with him.

I will continue to write letters to him indefinitely. I will drive up to the center and take him out to lunch a couple times a month if they think it would be good for him. I will meet him in The City before his appointment with his counselor and take him to the science museum or to the pool. If the workers and counselors are agreed that it would be good for him I will persuade or bully my family into letting him come here for a weekend.

What matters is what is best for him, what helps him to feel cared about and connected without being confused about what is possible. And I don't know right now what that will look like.

1 comment:

  1. That's a tough situation to manage. I wish you luck with it.


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