It is the final part of The Story behind The Story and this time we are taking a look at Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes.
You know the score over to Gina…
This is an extract from Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes, the third in the Constable Mavis Upton series. Mavis has been assigned a ‘Concern for Welfare’ incident, the address and young female are previously known to her. She is just 19 years old.
I hold her hand. I stroke her cheek. I want to hold her, cuddle her as a mum would, tell her everything is going to be okay, that we’ll sort it, that nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
But I can’t.
She has already gone.
I won’t cry until I get home. I will be professional. I will be caring, I will offer her dignity in her passing, I will stay with her so she will not be alone.
I slowly push the letter she has left into a clear evidence bag. The words, in childish handwriting, just simply say;
I don’t have to guess or make up reasons.
I pop the plastic bottle and top into another evidence bag, the foil tablet strips in another. Two empty cheap vodka bottles receive the same treatment. Initialled, signed, timed and dated.
The sparse bedsit offers little comfort, just a mattress on the floor where she lies, two black bin bags containing clothes, a cracked plastic chair and a broken mirror propped against the wall. Torn curtains hang limply at the weather stained window, a shaft of sunlight struggles to penetrate the room, hitting the threadbare carpet.
I know that once upon a time she was a happy baby. I know that once upon a time she was a mischievous toddler who had a pink pram, a Tiny Tears doll and a cute smile. I know that once upon a time she was a pretty, wilful, intelligent teenager with hopes, dreams and aspirations. I know that once upon a time she was a troubled, sad young woman with
demons that couldn’t be chased away.
But now she is none of these.
So now I wait.
I wait for her to begin the next part of her journey, and until they come for her, I will sit with her, I will hold her hand, I will let her know she is not alone, until she too is taken, initialled, signed, timed and dated.
I will speak to her family.
I will tell them she is not coming home.
And then I will go home to my family. I will count my blessings, I will kiss my son and daughter and I will allow myself to cry for a beautiful life that has been so tragically cut short, and for my own demons…
I am a police officer.
This is what we do.
Heartbreakingly, this short chapter is true. It is a memory I carried with me for my whole career, and to this day it still haunts me. I often wonder what she would be doing now, how she would have lived her life if she had not cut it so tragically short. Would she have enjoyed a fulfilling career, travelled the world, had a family of her own… her future could have
been full of endless possibilities. Mental health, drugs and alcohol have such an enormous impact on someone’s ability to see promise, to see anything beyond the blackness.
I have dealt with many similar incidents over the years, so many people, young and old, who live with despair and emotional fragility, but I think my previous relationship with her made it all the more poignant. It was such a terrible and tragic waste of a beautiful life. Sadly, she could not see that beauty.
The most difficult part is holding it together, being professional and fulfilling your role to the best of your ability. You have to be strong for others, those that look to you for guidance and answers.
Sometimes, there just aren’t any.
I remember reading this in the book and I just broke down and cried. It was so heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this story with us, I can’t imagine it was easy but I hope it was a bit catharic for you!
Until next time xxx