On The 8th Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me – Eight Maids A-Milking

In Loving Memory of Paul Flannery

By: Ilene Flannery Wells, Paul’s Twin Sister

Tall Paul, Pure of Heart
Was born on Christmas Day
The 8th child born to John and Mary Kay
The 9th child came just
15 minutes later!
Oh, what a Blessed day!

His bright Blue eyes
And winning smile
Made it easy for all
To love Tall Paul
Including his two
younger sisters

For his first 16 years
He graced our presence
With laughter and fun
And gregarious charm
Paul skated through life
Always pushing the edge
Until his Brain took a hit
From his gene pool and drugs

Schizophrenia they said
One doctor after another
He’ll never recover
You must think of the others
So off Paul went
To Rockland State Hospital
And then Wingdale where
Tall Paul, Pure of Heart

James Bond
Clint Eastwood
Dick Butkus
A King Fu Movie Star…
From Korea
Who made millions of dollars
Paul wrote to his mother
In a Mother’s Day card

A camera was Imbedded
In his head
Which had been shot off
By Dickie and Homer
And maybe there were others
I couldn’t keep track
The Last of the Mohegans also
Invaded his thoughts but
Perhaps that was due to the fact
Paul was scalped at 16

When Wingdale closed
Paul watched a different train
Go by each day and
Dreamed of hopping on
He took a few rides in his time
But that was on the Harlem line
These were chugging by
The shorelines of the Hudson River

For 20 years…
Paul walked and paced the halls
Of crumbling Psychiatric wards
Not for lack of trying Paul was
No better and no worse
Than the day he became
A different Paul than the
Twin I Knew from birth

His life was so rough
But that was just the beginning
Upon his release
They said he was competent enough
To make his own decisions
Mary Kay and John
Were now years gone
So we siblings
Stepped In

For 9 more years
Paul struggled as did we
Our love wasn’t enough
We were one step behind
One bad decision after another
Made not by Paul or
His brothers and sisters

These decisions which inflicted Trauma
Were made by what is called
The Community Mental Health System
The numbers in prison, let alone homeless
Are so astoundingly large
That the prisons are now
Our new Asylums

A million sad souls getting
Kicked while they’re down
No treatment for you
Since you don’t know
You’re even around

Tall Paul, Pure of Heart
Didn’t know he was sick
But he was a lucky one
He never was homeless
Never even arrested
That’s now the norm but
Don’t get me wrong
There were no bed of roses

Group Homes
Adult Homes
Assisted Living Apartments
What Assistance? Are you kidding?
Foot fungus, lack of food
While the case workers looked on
Paul needed to learn
To live on his own

Paul “menaced” the public
And was picked up by police
Well, they were trying
To steal his kidneys and would give him no peace
His lack of insight continued
It never abated
Even when lung cancer came
And took him away

That last year in the nursing home
So caring so warm
Was like a dream come true
Even though we knew
It wouldn’t last long
He was a person, the Governor,
A nickname he earned
A friend, and a brother again
Why did it take cancer to receive
The care he so richly deserved?

It’s been 8 years now and
The “system” is worse, not better
It is just so absurd
That the sickest among us
Get no treatment at all!

So on the 8th day of Christmas
Think of Tall Paul, Pure of Heart
The 8th child of Mary Kay and John
And remembered by his
Sisters and Brothers of
Perpetual Determination
Ilene and

About the Author: Ilene has been advocating on behalf of the Pauls of Today, as she calls them since Paul’s death in 2008.

Ilene is published in Psychiatric services, and she has been a gueat speaker at National Alliance on Mental illness conferences to share Paul’s story and speak about the Medicaid Mental Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion.
Families for Treatment for Serious Mental Illness
Matthew 5:3-10
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
By: Katherine Dering, Pauls’ Sister……..
The twins – Ilene and Paul – eighth and ninth in our clan, were born on Christmas Day. How auspicious! Little did we know back in 1966 when the five youngest kids posed for this picture – Charlotte, Monica, Paul, Ilene, and Julia – how it would all turnout. Our beautiful baby Paul grew into a handsome teenager, full of promise, and then..

Christmas Past & Present 1966 – Katherine Dering’s Blog
I was second of the ten children, Paul eighth, and I was twelve years older than he was. So I didn’t spend a lot of time with him when he was little: I was in high school then. I had already left home and given birth to my first child when Paul suffered his first psychotic break at age 16. I visited him from time to time over the years, as did most of the siblings, and we saw him on holidays, but my Mother bore the burden of his care until she passed away. When we siblings stepped up and began to try to help Paul, I came to realize the depths of his illness, and the stupidity of a mental “health” system that took him out of a hospital, where he was cared for, and forced him to try to live on his own.

1974 Yearbook Picture – Ilene & Paul, Twins

L-R, standing Patrick, Katherine, Sheila, John, Grace
In the middle: Paul
L-R, sitting Charlotte Monica Julia Ilene

Summer 1967
L-R back row Monica, Pat, Sheila, John, Paul
L-R couch Julia, Katherine, Charlotte, Grace, Ilene

In Loving Memory of Paul Gregory Flannery, 1959 – 2008

Shot in The Head, A Sister’s Memoir, A Brother – Katherine Dering
This book is about the year in which my family and I struggle to support our brother Paul deal with his dual torments of mental illness and lung cancer, with a look back to the years leading up to this crucial period. As I become reacquainted with Paul during his difficult last months, I reflect on the state of care for people with serious mental illness in America today. And I meditate on faith, death, and what it means to be a human being, ultimately finding the caregiver’s journey to be redemptive.
Book – http://www.shotintheheadbook.com/
Videos – http://www.shotintheheadbook.com/videos.html
Photos – http://www.shotintheheadbook.com/slide-show.html
Katherine Dering’s Facebook Page

Eight Maids A-Milking
The Eight Beatitudes:
1) Blessed are the poor in spirit,
2) those who mourn,
3) the meek,
4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
5) the merciful,
6) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
7) the peacemakers,
8) the pure in heart.
Matthew 5:3-10
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In Luke, the sermon on the mount follows immediately after what we might call the official choosing of the 12.
For that one reason, one scholar called it, “The ordination address to the 12”
Its like the Sermon on the mount is the core and essence of Jesus Teaching, the distillation of the DNA of the teachings of Christ’s ministry to the inner circle of the chosen.
This is talking about the norms of the Kingdom of God
– the culture
The word “blessed” means, “spiritual joy & satisfaction that LASTS regardless of conditions—
…That carries one through pain, sorrow, loss, and grief.