Friday, 11 December 2009

Hey ho this was meant to be about Chatsworth

Yesterday I went with my friend Kate to Chatsworth to see the astonishing Christmas decorations.

For anyone who doesn't know about Chatsworth, it is the stately home of the Duke of Devonshire. The film the Duchess, staring Keira Knightly was based on one of the current Dukes ancestors. The house is always been used in film sets. The most recent being Pride and Prejudice and Mr Darcy was supposed to live there.

For a lot of the year you can go around the house and in November and December some of the rooms are decorated out with wonderful decorations following a theme. This years theme was the stories of Hans Christian Anderson. Rooms are filled with 20 foot Christmas trees beautifully decorated. Corridors are filled with swathes of greenery and baubles, or twinkly lights. The whole thing is a visual delight.

Unfortunately I didn't realise till I'd done the tour that I could have taken photos! So the ones here are of the famous Emperor Fountain and a sculpture of some dogs just hanging around on an unexpected path.

It was a lovely day. We had lunch in what was once the stables and is now a lovely restaurant and gift shop, before we had the tour. On coming out the sunshine was glorious so a walk in the gardens seemed apt.

On returning home Kate dropped me off and I went into my house and all the lovely day fell away. I just felt lost and alone again.

It feels like I'm standing on a beach and the waves are lapping round my legs and every so often an unexpected big wave comes along and knocks me off my feet. I then have to get up from my soaking and carry on enjoying the little waves hoping there won't be another big one, but knowing there will be, I just don't know when.

In fact, there has just been a giant one hit me. I've been coping okay with the day and I've just had a phone call from the press, asking whether I want right of reply to the victims about my son's behaviour. This is way out of my comfort zone and I haven't a clue what to do, or say.

The victims think Al should be inside for longer, they think they should be paid compensation and they think that either Al or his family should apologise for what happened.

Now whilst I understand that what he did in causing criminal damage to their property, and common assault is absolutely horrid to deal with, I don't make the laws. I didn't decide to send him down and not issue a fine or decide the length of sentence.

I also know that for Alex to be able to move on in his future he has to accept responsibility for his actions. Whether that includes being strong enough to apologise is very much up to him. I really think it would be a hollow victory for them if I start apologising for him.

I do not like how my son has been in the last few years. And this year imparticular has been terribly difficult for me. But I haven't stopped loving him. Or having faith that he could turn things round. This he had started to do in the last three months. To the point that he was a joy to have around; chatty, affectionate and not much sign of his terrible bad temper.

I do empathise with the victims, I know I would be baying for blood if that had happened to anyone close to me. But I can't make it better for them. And I won't apologise for my son. I understand why he has been the way he has.

As far as I'm concerned the Judge has passed his verdict. I accept that Al was guilty and needed punishment as deemed fit by the law. But he is my son, and even though I accept what has been given to him I don't know what purpose it will serve,
as he had already turned himself around.Other than it being the law which I can't and don't want to argue with.

There are two choices ahead of him, walk away and learn from what he has done. Or blame others and become vindictive and start the life of a recidivist. And only he can decide which path to take.

Oh boy this was going to be a happy post about yesterday.... hey ho!
Any advice on dealing with the press will be gratefully received.


Sage said...

Mandy personally I wouldn't want to be drawn in on the situation by the press.. they will only exaggerate your answers. If you can make comment to the victims family via other means as you are right it is your son's problem and you cannot act on his behalf for the very reasons you stated and they should see that too {{hugs}}

Merry ME said...

I think you've said what you need to say. You don't have to be drawn into something over which you will not have any control over.

I also think you've said what you needed to say beautifully. With dignity and respect for all involved.

I'm so glad you got a day away.

Thinking of you with pride.

swallowtail said...

This is not what you planned to do... yet, as you write into it, you find youself in a sad, dignified place. You are wise in realizing that the apologising needs to come from your son for it to be meaningful, healing, and peaceful. Your wisdom leads you to forgiveness and to peace.The victims too, are on a path of forgiveness, and hopefully are busy with their own work.

My prayer will include peace for each of you, and knowing that the strength of love is always with you.

Blessings, Dear One.

lakeviewer said...

Simply, "no comments" should suffice. They'll insist, you repeat the mantra. After all, if you say anything, the press will want more and more. Then, they might misquote you and you have to dispell those words too.

Sorry to hear about Al's problems.

e said...

Hugs to you and I am very sorry to hear of this turn of events for you and your sons.

I would not say anything to the press, and do not let yourself be provoked into commenting to them.

Do as you can to take care of yourself during this time. I am glad your friends are supportive.

Pam said...

"I am sorry, I have been advised at this stage,not to comment.". Takes the pressure off you, and it's the truth - after all it seems that is the advice here! Much love to you Mandy, as always.Hope that may be a way out of the dilemma. You deserve some peace of mind. xxxxxx

Grammy said...

O am so glad you had a wonderful day. What fun it must have been to see such a place. It looks beautiful. With the press I would not speak to them.
Do you have caller Id where you know who is calling or an answering machine? That way they can print unavailable for comment. Rather than refused to comment.
This will pass. And they will go away. I an so sorry this has up set you so.
Big hug.

Paula said...

Honey, I agree with lakeviewer - "no comment" and NO MORE.
Besides of that it might notz be a very happy post in your eyes but for me it is a post with positive awareness and boundaries as well as love for your son and self care/LOVE.
That is plenty to hold on to and press and victims abay.
Hugs across the channel

Angela said...

I am proud of you, too, Mandy! You will do the right thing.
And Alex will, too!! I like you have stong faith in him. He is YOUR son, after all!
Thinking of you with great healing thoughts!!!

karen said...

Chatsworth sounds amazing, but of course the minute you are alone the Alex situation will be topmost in your mind.. At least you know that he has indeed started to change in a good way, which is the important thing for his future. I'm sure it'll never happen again, which is also a reassuring thought. I see you have lots of good advice on press handling, and wish you lots of luck, and a hug, as usual x

Paula said...

Mandy I forgot to tell you I am reading a book abput THE duchess of devonshire.

Mel said...

As the family of the offender, we don't get offered the opportunity to issue a statement to the victims. I had an opportunity to speak with more than one--they were people I knew. The boy chose to victimize people who were nothing but kind to him for years.

I was able to say some things to them that I needed to say for me. I know what it means to be violated, to feel unsafe in your own home, to suddenly find yourself distrustful of people you knew for years--or thought you knew....
But a statement in the press? No.
The conversation was to the victims, not publicized in some dramatic fashion....Lord knows there we'd had enough drama.

Part of my measure of where the boy truly was at surrounded his apology to his victims. I know how I raised him--I know he knows what's 'right'.
That apology is something he's not made--not yet....I still hope for this to happen for him. He cannot be at peace with himself until he's delivered it, given the nature of the incidents and the people involved. That shame (I can hope it's shame and not 'entitlement') he walks around with keeps him a prisoner years after the events he's 'served time' for.
He may be out of jail...but I do not believe he is 'free'.
It's his apology to make...however he chooses to make it.
Maybe he think he's making it now by staying clear of their lives and mine..I don't know.....

I do hold on to the hope that he'll find a way to be at peace with himself and with the choices he made.
I love the boy, with my whole heart.
And above all--I do wish him peace.....

Which is what I wish for you and your son.

(((((( the byrdie ))))))))

*Sending prayers and lighted candles....*

speck of dust said...

Also agree with "no comment". Papers just want to sell units. It will be yesterdays news soon enough. The 'victims' will do what they have to do vent their anger, hurt etc. Probably not in a very mature way. There's nothing you or your son can do about that. And he's very lucky you are there with your unconditional love because in my experience people have changed around me because of my unconditional love. What is the prison like? Do they lock them up all day or is there opportunity for them to grow with therapy, reading, workshops? You seem to blossom and thrive when you have something to care about. If the services in prison aren't all that great could you write to your MP or someone about it? I can chase away the blues by doing something proactive about ANYTHING. x x

Lady in red said...

Hi Mandy

I saw a program (the river) a few months ago where they visited Chasworth, it was very interesting how they moved the river and also how the fountain works.

I don't think you should make any comment to the press.

I am sorry to read the news about your son but pleased he had begun to turn himself around.

thinking of you both ((mandy))