Sunday, October 19, 2014

Soldier, Stutterer, Somalian War

I knew a soldier who happened to stutter,
He struggled with the demons he had from war
Drug affliction, his drugs of choice alcohol and heroin

He couldn't find his place at home
His balance thrown off by what he had known
Cats, the vultures on human carcasses

He tried so many times to rediscover the man inside
But his pain was strong
And it was not long that he wandered from the path

The VA was not there in his pain and despair
He was found alone in the apartment he had
No proper military farewell

His last ride was with a friend on Harley through the Ville
His remains in an urn
Strapped to the bike

Laid to rest at a half way house
The urn discreetly placed
The Soldier, Stutter of the Somalian War

He could not utter the cry kept inside,
But for the few who knew his story
And dared to offer a glance and Salute the Man!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Homelessness comes to my door

In 2011, my world slowly crashed before my eyes.  I was foreclosed upon and my 18 year old son had to learn how to be a man.  Mental health services on a national level are the silent disgrace of the United States of America.  I was facing homelessness and for the first time in my life, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.  I was working as a substitute teacher assistant and interning at a radio station.

Livingston County Community Mental Health made no provisions for my situation knowing full well I would be homeless.  Certainly they would not take me seriously when I suggested I could live at a park. I was told point blank I could live at the park and meet with them at the Howell coffee shop for updates.  Common sense says a park is not a solution. Then the kindness of gentle soul I knew stepped up and indicated that he had a spare bedroom.  I sublet the apartment and for five months I tried to make a go of it.  Sadly, this fella had issues.  He suffered a seizure one day, and I called for medical assistance.  Authorities took him to the local hospital who indicated there was no evidence of  a seizure.  Yeah right.  I worked with special needs students, I knew the identifiers including the shaking body and drooling at the mouth.  My objective was to clear the area so he would not be hurt and to call for immediate assistance. Two weeks later, this man dropped dead in his own bed in the early morning hours.  He was only 38 years old.  He practically owned a pharmacy with the amount of medications he was prescribed including narcotics, which were not being properly monitored.

I know I am not alone in observing the dereliction of duty running rampant in the mental health system.  Reforms need to happen at a state level and hopefully, the State of Michigan could serve as the model for what the system should look like at national level.

If you have ideas for reform, please feel free to email me at grhmadeleine@aol.com.

Thank you.