Saturday, January 11, 2014

Empathy to the Deeds During First Holiday Without Gus

Our Condolences to the Deeds Family on the avoidable death of your son, 
Austin "Gus" Deeds

This was your first Christmas and New Year holiday season without Gus. I know it was difficult for you. I thought about you on Christmas morning. I prayed for all the families who suffer as we do - so unnecessarily. Many avoidable deaths of the mentally ill happened in 2013. Some were suicides, others were police killings, and some were caused by negligence. I think of the homeless, mentally ill people who likely died in the winter storm that just happened. 

I wrote a poem about the empty chairs at our holiday tables. It is shared below. As of 2013, the poem below is also your experience, Deeds family. You are in government, yet you were lied to about there being no bed space at nearby hospitals for Gus. Do not be surprised to find later, especially if you decide to sue, that a cover-up ensues.  I empathize with your pain.


There is an empty chair at our Christmas table
That was yours to fill
It’s been six long years since you left us
And we don’t know why – still

We’ve asked year after year
But no one will answer our query
Why was he arrested – why did he die
Please tell us what happened to Larry

"No explanation! No records! Stop asking!"
This is the official reply
From all the government offices
“He’s dead – let sleeping dogs lie"

But we’ll not give up, my brother
Until we know what is true
There’s an empty chair at our Christmas table
That should have been filled by you

We'll have dinner together again some day
At the Lamb’s great Wedding Feast
You’ll have a sound heart and clear mind
No longer last and least

Until then we’ll help those like you
Befuddled, confused, afraid
In jail for mental illness
May our commitment never fade!

by Mary Neal 
written 12/2006, published 12/2007 (all rights reserved)

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