Juggling Balls: When I got the call from Danny yesterday that he was safely transferred, I could not believe the joy in his voice. My son is a sweet, joyful person but it has been a long time since I heard such a tone of jubilation from him. It was the tone of freedom. Freedom does indeed ring.
From the time I left court on Thursday until 9:30 a.m. yesterday, I was holding my breath that everything would fall into place and the court order would be followed. There were so many balls being juggled by so many people in so many counties. If one dropped, Danny would have been stuck in a solitary cell for months waiting for #ABedInstead.
The agreement had been in negotiation for weeks. So many people were trying to reach a settlement and get Danny to a therapeutic environment. The Public Defender was tenacious in her defense that Danny was not likely ever going to be restored to competency. The DA wasn't ready to concede that because the statute allows for more competency training. But, he had developed compassion and was no longer seeing things in black and white or prison orange. But, bureaucracy and rules kept getting in the way of logic and compassion and balls kept dropping. And, Danny sat in solitary waiting for a lucky break or the system to figure it out. He was suicidal. He was losing hope.
Last Monday, I received notice that there was a bed in place for Danny and it would be held until Thursday. We weren't due in court until Thursday morning. I asked if court could be moved up. It couldn't. But, everyone started juggling balls to make sure that this bed didn't slip away. There were heroics at play and a lot of luck. That has been our story for 15 years. My son's life has depended on a system of luck and heroics instead of a system of care.
This is the bed dance that gets played all across our country while the human log jam waits. If one ball drops or if one system refuses to twist a rule or find another way, then human beings sit in solitary losing hope. Who can blame them for giving up?
Danny was awoken yesterday in a solitary cell in the Napa County and transported to his new home in Merced County. A Sheriff Deputy from Napa County agreed to come in on his day off to transport Danny. Had he not agreed to do that, my son would have been behind bars by himself, waiting. And, he would have given up hope. Instead he is happy and experiencing joy.
This nightmare started in November of 2011. Danny was hospitalized on Thanksgiving Eve. As we approach Thanksgiving 2016, my son is thankful for all who refused to settle and who never gave up on him. I am too. Our family needed this to go right and we are so thankful for all who supported us and our son.
At times, we must all break the rules, question the rules and refuse to settle for the status quo. We need to get personal, get real, speak up and tell our stories. We have to become ball jugglers and partners with all who are fighting the good fight with us. If a ball drops, pick it up and keep going and never, ever give up. Our humanity depends on it.