Our healthy son disappeared 16 years before he died: three months before his 34th birthday: He was struck down by paranoid schizophrenia. On the wettest night that winter, our son gave up hope of ever finding the peace of mind that eluded him, someone to love, and a fulfilling job. So, he went to what I can only hope is a place of peace, fit for the surfer he’d been. It was January 18, 1996. My heart ached. I had no more tears to shed as they had become icicles frozen inside of me. So many tears shed over those 16 years. I felt as if I had died too.
On that dull, winter’s day, I saw the earth in a mound ready to be thrown into our son’s grave. I spoke to him, saw his boyish smile superimposed on the painful image of his anguished, tortured face. I looked up and saw birds … a thousand birds singing their songs of life.
The people who loved David came to say farewell. They were able to handle death. Death is something that people understand. All those people who had not understood schizophrenia, filled the cemetery.
In the twilight between my dreams and my nightmares, I relive the thirty-four years that were his life. I remember the love, the joy, the shocks, the changes and the fear. Each time I go back to the beginning, hoping to find a different ending. Of course there could be no other ending. As for me, my recovery only began when I gave my son an unconditional pardon and told him that I loved him despite the fact that he took my son away from me.
I would like to believe that David has found the peace of mind he so desperately sought, which eluded him during his long, painful illness.
I love you, David. Rest.