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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Chapter Nineteen - Notice of Intent

Happy Birthday, Charlie! This one's for you.

***

See, here's what happens: In Psych 202, I was taught that anger is part of the grieving process. This isn't academic so much as it is organic. Indeed, Theresa's grief counselor told her that picking fights and battles is a healthy outlet for emotional release. It is one of the many coping mechanisms that one's brain will deploy in order to keep itself from coming apart entirely.

To lose one's child in such an horrific manner, and to have failed at life-saving attempts, is enough to qualify a person as having suffered from "extreme mental trauma", according to my source at Kalamazoo County Mental Health. Compound that with an obviously erroneous black mark like a suicide determination, and you can't necessarily imagine the feelings she is going through.

My KCMH source (this is the beauty of having grown up in Kalamazoo - I know just about everyone) tells me, in fact, that there are really no qualified therapists who can help anyone deal with something of that magnitude. There's nothing anybody can do. But the brain will not accept that; it will work the problem incessantly, the way someone's tongue keeps exploring a broken tooth. That's why it gets turned into anger, intrinsically, almost the same way carbs get turned into fat.

So, anger... Some people just snap under the strain, you know. Often, they turn their rage inward, whether in an acute manner (like suicide) or a chronic one (like depression). Or they lose their ability to contain their pain and turn it loose on others. Nobody knows where anybody's breaking point is - the dude from "The Jenny Jones Show" blasted his fellow man to death with a shotgun for sandbagging him on TV with a gay crush. It's crazy.

However, those are rare reactions, the ones that go so far. Most people try to find outlets that are positive, so as to make some lasting memory out of the loss of their loved one. To honor her son Charlie, who would have just turned 13 years old, Theresa started a charity that gives bouquets of flowers to people who might need to have their spirits lifted. She has given away some 600 floral arrangements to date.

But that doesn't let the hurt out. Especially not when the hurt was made so much worse by a bunch of petty, arrogant bureaucrats who can't get over how offended they feel that some commoner would deign to question their decree (even though it is unlaughably phony on its every facet). They'll rarely even bother to yank the silver spoons out of their mouths long enough to reply anymore. They comprise a herd of offensive boorish prigs, and nothing more elegant than that.

And that, I must now disclaim to you, is not even remotely the thing that makes her feel the worst. The thing that makes her feel the worst is that WMed, after dissecting her son's prepubescent body, handed it off to a man who had served time in prison for raping a teenage boy he had stalked on the Internet. A pedophile. We'll get to that later... You can't make this stuff up.

All of it makes them an appropriate subject for the grieving process's anger phase. I raised Charlie as if he were my son for four and a half years, and I'm going through it, too, as you have read in this space for quite some time now.

I do things my way. Theresa does things hers, and that's why there are all these official complaints and grievances flying around the State of Michigan these days. She worked in government for a long enough time to know who to call (and, again, we grew up here). She's not going to stop until every last... Well, she's not going to stop.

In the process of her trying to have the State force Joyce deJong - who has a track record of doing shoddy work -  to change the death certificate, Theresa was told that only the County can handle such matters. They gave her the email address of a so-described County Administrator, Thom Canny. So she told him the whole story. That's a neat trick, the way these professionals take care of themselves. Mr. Canny, it turns out, is Kalamazoo County's Corporate Counsel.

(By the way, is there anybody there who isn't double-dipping? I mean, we've revealed that the Compliance Officer is also the Dean of Finance at WMed... Joyce deJong has more titles than the public library does, and charges good money just to talk to attorneys, pediatricians, etc... Even the Chairman of the Board of Directors at WMed, John Dunn, is also the President of Western Michigan University.)

This Canny fellow invited my sister, very politely, to a meeting with himself and deJong and the County Director of Health and Community Services. To address our questions and concerns. To look at anything she thinks might help explain said questions and concerns. Bring anyone you want along with you, he says. The purpose of this meeting, I suspect, is not to change the certificate's cause of death to accidental; if that was the case, they'd have just changed it and sent it to us.

The aforementioned County Director, by the way, is the stepmom of one of my best childhood buddies. (See how that keeps happening?) Her husband was one of my Dad's colleagues at WMU. I ate many meals and spent many nights at their home over the years.

He attended Charlie's funeral. I spoke with him there. I sent him a link to this blog a couple of weeks ago, and now his wife is mixed up in this? Why? To try and talk my sister down, convince her that WMed's blatant bullshit is somehow true? I would hope not... Very strange.

I guess I could just go over to the house and catch the man mowing his lawn. I could ask him what the Hell is going on here. And he might even tell me, since he's known me since before I was born.

But why should I? Why should any of us bother with these people anymore? Especially when the entity on the other end of the line is their corporate attorney? They've had ten months to rectify this situation. Ten agonizing months of foot-dragging, stonewalling, obfuscating and sweeping dirt under the rug.

Between the deliberate delays, the falsified pretenses and the back-channel planning, there is no question in my mind (and none in the mind of the lawyer who told me this) that Kalamazoo County has set itself up to be sued handily with an NIED claim. That's Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. Not familiar with that one? Heh.

Anyway, why should we settle for yet another meeting with some more of WMed's insiders, when I can instead attend (and speak at) the County Board of Supervisors meeting on the second Monday of every month? Or at some other time and place of our choosing; generally, a courthouse.

pH 5.29.16

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