Chapter Twelve ...Follies Bizarre
For some years Tom had had a friendly relationship with a single mother, who was shepherded by her father. Both men had a good rapport and the centre of their attention was Sylvia's daughter Angela. From a baby the girl had been adored and a little spoilt. As a consequence they saw quite a bit of each other. Sylvia's house was owned by her father and months before he died he Willed the property, not to his daughter, but to baby Angela. Tom who had many an hour in Grandad's company told Bruce that he did this to secure the little girls future. Sylvia was a compulsive gambler and the worry was that in time the house if left to her would become a means to feeding her addiction.
When Angela's grandad died, Sylvia leaned heavily on Tom. At 38, she was reasonably attractive and this made Tom feel great. He often took her out and much of what went on was a nod and a wink. Bruce Whiteside was sent down by Tom to paint the garage doors at Sylvia's and Tom paid him for it. To Whiteside she was 'just one of Tom's women friends'. Angela by now a cute little blond was the apple of Tom's eye . He was always buying her little things that kids adore.
When Tom had mentioned Saraid's name for the umpteenth time, he asked him what there was about her that caused him so much sorrow'
'She was like a daughter to me. There wasn't a thing that she would not do and most of all she was not like the others, she was not all the time wanting something'. He had no idea where she was living now and he was most upset that she never came near after her sudden non-appearance.
Bruce played a long shot because he was never sure whether Saraid worked for Blue Care or not, so he rang their administration and asked if they had an employee by that name and then left a message to 'ring Bruce on 356252'. After two days of waiting Saraid rang confused by the callers name.
'Does the name Tom Jowett mean anything to you', Bruce dropped in her lap before she could ask any further questions.
Immediately her voice had an urgency about it. "How is he? Is he alright. Who are you and can you pass a message on.
Bruce told her that Tom was upset by her sudden disappearance and was actually pining for her.
This upset Saraid and Bruce told her that before he would say anymore that it would be better to meet privately.
Saraid was very fragile at that stage, having been suspended from work after having received a sever electric shock from a steel door architrave in her home. She was tentative and deeply concerned for Tom. She was attracted to Tom, by a natural compassion for an old man to whom treated her accordingly ...although there was one aberration, when Tom chased her around the yard and threatened her. He has tried to kiss her and his intensity caused her to react and run outside. The episode blew over and Tom from that time on treated her impeccably.
What nobody suspected was the growing jealousy exhibited toward her by the Senior nurse, Carole Crozier. This built over a few months and Saraid had no indications as to why. If Crozier had any professional reasons to have her removed they did not manifest themselves. Saraid of all the attendees was by far the most satisfactory and Tom would never have countenanced her removal. The matter had been raised with Crozier by Belinda Murdoch, and when both reported to Blue Care about concerns that "Saraid was getting too close to Tom', they immediately removed her. Saraid was subsequently called into the office and asked to explain her side of events. The upshot of all this was that she was allowed to remain on the condition that she did not have any further contact with Mr Jowett and on no account was she to approach his house.
The injustice to this was that all these players were current recipients in Tom's Will and despite legally induced admission that Crozier was in full knowledge of this, Saraid's removal did not harm Carole's relationship with Tom.
In the days ahead Tom was remarkably cheerful, for Bruce had arranged for him to meet Saraid. Ironically though the liaison between Saraid and Bruce was never a relaxed one. Bruce did everything that was possible to facilitate the meetings of the two, but Saraid always gave him the impression that she was on tenterhooks. The renewal of friendship was a most poignant moment as Tom and Saraid embraced. For both the experience was a surprised one. Their affection for each other was not only genuine but in the proper context a deep one..
They were to meet many times in the next couple of years and those who worked to have her separated from Tom, were now powerless to stop the friendship.
For the dirt and injustices that were ahead for Bruce Whiteside, he never lost sight of this profound bond and he made sure that Saraid, was not only at his bedside the day Tom died, but contributed to his funeral service, by electing his favourite song.
In October 1996, Tom who now looked on his neighbour as a rock, asked him if he would look after the house for a fortnight. What followed staggered him.
'I am taking Sylvia away for a two week holiday'.
Whiteside was philosophical about this, whilst expressing the wisdom of such adventure. Never-the-less he undertook to look after the place for him. Before going Tom left the Stanhope motel and phone number in case of emergencies.
A week later Bruce was disturbed to hear noises at Toms home and went to investigate. He was surprised to find Tom in the kitchen and extremely agitated.
'You're home early, what the matter'.
'The bitch, the bloody bitch, took all my money', he was almost rampant.
'Slow down Tom and tell me what happened'
'I am a bloody old fool. I was sucked in and it is that, that gets to me. The bitch. I'll disinherit her, that's what I will do'.
Never had Bruce seen Tom in such a state of anger.
He went up to Tom placed his hands on his shoulders and confronted him, Tom, you keep this up and you'll end up having a heart attack. Now sit down and we'll go through this slowly. Now tell me what took place to bring you home.
'She took $800 from me. She had been on the pokies and lost money and wanted more. I sad no'.
'What happened then?.
'I went home to bed, tried to sleep. The following day, she headed out of the motel. I decided to call it quits and head home as all she was interested in was gambling. When I went to refuel I found my wallet empty. I went to the casino found her and bawled her out. She denied any knowledge of the money. I told her then that she had better pack up as I was going home. She then said she was staying on.'
'So you did that?'
'I feel as though I have got a load off my mind, Bruce. They say there is no fool like an old one and I am that'.
In 1996 Tom was agile enough to cope with the physical side of this escapade, but what cut him to the chase was the fact that he had always been good to her and she repaid him with an addicts cunning. Unfortunately three years later he was taken in by her sweet talk, only to cause great stress and anguish to his then Enduring Power of Attorney. She was also scheming enough to collude with his then Solicitor Andrew Smyth. The following day she cast him out on the street, to do as he pleased.
Looking back one wonders when all concerned were scrambling for favourable reports that Blue Care were unaware of these unusual episodes of a patient in their care. Was there an aura of non-accountability, because Tom was alone, with no family and nobody else to talk to? What was the In Charge nurse doing to address these matters. Either she was completely unaware of them or she was acting mum. If she was unaware then she was not doing her job properly. Yet this nurse was not in charge because she was incompetent, so why the neglect. Was there a reason for this neglect?
Did anyone know about this except Bruce Whiteside. Yes they did. Tom discussed it with his lawyer. Saraid also knew. Saraid shortly after Bruce had brought her and Tom together was told of this in 1999.
'She owns Tom a lot of money Bruce'.
'When you say that what would you think that would be?'
"Into five figures at the least'. she said quietly.
'You mean over $10,000'?
'At the very least'.
Bruce found this unbelievable.
'Tom might have given her that'.
She laughed, 'Yes, he probably did. She used to sleep with him', she said matter of factually as though it was common knowledge.
'She what!!', was he hearing right.
'Oh, yes. She would strip in front of him and strut around the room, tormenting him. She would bring him on and get into bed with him'.
'How do you know this Saraid', Bruce queried, not believing what he was hearing.
'I saw it or I would not have believed it. I used to make his bed and there were frequently two pillows that had been slept in'.
'Did you report this unusual behaviour'.
'No. It would have created to much stress for Tom'.
'So the trip away would not have been a one off affair'.
'I don't think so. No, Sylvia used to be a big part of his life'.
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