I have written a great deal about living with schizophrenia and here are a few things I learned along the way. Listening and loving while schizophrenia is ever present, are skills that are not easily learned but they are oh so important to a person who is ill. As I wished to live a full life, and help my son who was suffering so much, I wanted him to see my concern, so I was constantly looking for ways to encourage him and help with his unspoken needs. He needed unconditional love during critical times. I opened my eyes to what was possible and believed that I could help him. I do know that my listening, looking and loving calmed his troubled mind at times. I loved my son a whole lot; even more so when I learned how to separate the healthy son I’d known and loved, from the son who was drowning in his terrible illness, schizophrenia.
What I am trying to do now is to stress that there should be no stigma associated with mental illness, in particular, with schizophrenia, as it is a physical illness in the brain, an illness like all others. And, I am still waiting for a miracle cure to be found for all the ill people out there who are suffering.
Unfortunately, my son is no longer here with us. It is now 18 years since his tragic death and yesterday my immediate family visited his grave and while staring at what was written on my son’s tombstone, I relived the good parts of his life; and there were many. I whispered my goodbyes once again. SO much left unsaid while I ached to see him on his surfboard one more time. He didn’t say goodbye.
I love you, David. The family will never forget you and we hope that you have found the peace of mind that eluded you for so many years.
Rest, my son.
1962 – 1996