Frontline Initiative: DSPs Using the NADSP Code of Ethics
I Miss My Brother
I support Dominic Bettez, a man who has given me permission to share his story. Two unexpected tragedies happened to Dominic. His father passed, and then his brother, whom he was very close to, died by suicide. He was generally a happy, sociable, wanting-to-be-everywhere-at-once kind of person, but after these deaths, there were times when he shut down or got emotional.
I noticed some staff were uncomfortable because he would start with, “I miss my brother.”
As we were looking for the spot where he wanted to fish, Dominic revealed it was where he went with his dad.
Alicia Babcock Reposo out fishing with Dominic.
I did not work with him often, but I wanted to help. One shift when I was working, he wanted to go fishing. I let him know I would be useless in fishing, but was up for the challenge. As we were looking for the spot where he wanted to fish, Dominic revealed it was where he went with his dad. While we fished, I let him share his stories. When he started saying, “I wish that...” or “I don't understand why...,” I told him what happened was not about him. I let him know that I saw how these deaths affected him. I asked if he understood the difference when I said that the deaths were not about him. We talked more about his feelings and when he asked, I told him there was nothing wrong with crying or being upset. I added there will be good and bad days, but remembering the good times, like the fishing spot, will help the bad not last so long.
When I took Dominic home and was heading out the door, I heard him say to his mom, “We talked about Dad today and it was good.”
I followed the Code of Ethics tenet of Confidentiality. I supported and respected his privacy by following his excitement in wanting to go fishing and listening to him process his feelings. Fishing was not my favorite activity, and I had no idea what to do or expect but it provided a space for him to remember his father. I hoped that by letting him know his feelings mattered even during sad or upsetting moments, he would look forward to each day. I hoped that he would feel like he could talk with his DSPs or his supervisors when he felt comfortable to do so.