In Western mythology, Sirens were beings who lured humans to fatal folly by their seductive singing.
Last year in Believing Lies, I wrote of a relative, “Riley,” who had fallen prey to modern Sirens promising affection and gold. At that time I was taking legal action to obtain guardianship and conservatorship of “Riley.” I spent the majority of that post talking about how people come to believe obvious lies.
Six months ago in On Dementia and Traitors, I wrote of how Riley had traveled from the east to a western state. I spent the rest of that post talking about how perceptions of dementia and traitorous acts affect people.
My hope in my battle to protect Riley had been to get Riley evaluated by an expert who could provide unimpeachable guidance on what Riley needed. When Riley took themself to the west, they were put under emergency and then temporary guardianship and it was stipulated that Riley would undergo a capacity assessment by an expert. The expert specified was Dr. Lichtenberg of Wayne State University, Director of both the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute and the Founding Director of the Wayne State University Lifespan Alliance. Dr. Lichtenberg is a national expert on financial capacity of elderly persons, having completed thousands of evaluations generally and nearly 200 capacity evaluations.
Dr. Lichtenberg spent five hours with Riley, split between discussion and testing. The finding was that Riley’s intelligence was at the 99.9% level, so that even less extensive expert analysis would fail to uncover Riley’s functional deficits. Friends and colleagues could remain completely unaware of Riley’s impairments. But Riley’s various deficits combined with their need for affection and status in a manner that was perilous. Riley had sent international criminals $1.3M, foregoing payment of insurance, property taxes and mortgages and borrowing money from family and friends. Riley had attempted to meet with their “contacts” carrying large sums of cash, folly that could have cost Riley their life.
Riley’s counsel has stipulated to the need for some form of guardianship and conservatorship. So now the court only needs to determine the limits, if any, on that guardianship and conservatorship.
Over Thanksgiving we who have fought to protect Riley had the chance to listen to the recording of Riley’s 8 hour evidentiary hearing. Those of us who testified had been excluded from court so our testimony would not be contaminated by knowledge of things others had said.
Testifying for the petitioners were Dr. Lichtenberg and six of Riley’s children. Testifying for Riley were acquaintances and colleagues, many of whom even mentioned concern about the scams while talking about Riley’s desire to return to Virginia (where Riley thinks they would be “free” of effective protection).
I was prompted to compare this experience to my view of what will occur at Final Judgment, when we all stand before the bar of God. At that day I believe there will be no subterfuge that can hide our reality. The evidence of all we have done and experienced will come forth. Though we may rail against that evidence, it will remain. In the face of this evidence, God will appoint to us the future that will best serve us and those around us, in light of Christ’s grace.
For some, we will be free to participate in all things, because our lives have shown that doing good is the deepest desire of our hearts.
For others, we will be subjected to protections that will keep us and those around us safe from the harm it is clear we are wont to inflict.
In the case of Riley’s mortal trial, there has been a period of two years when correction and “repentance” could have occurred. But now the day of judgment is come and the time of repentance is past. Riley’s protections will be whatever the court feels sufficient to prevent harm while leaving Riley with all privileges that are deemed safe.
May we live in such a manner that the Sirens are unable to draw us towards doom. And if we are ensnared by Sirens, may we be “afflicted” by those with love and patience enough to protect us from the worst consequences of our desires.