Thursday, November 19, 2009

Give Thanks

I approach this Thanksgiving holiday with a heavy heart.

A year ago, I witnessed a miracle with JSB in church on Christmas Eve.  I'm choosing to hold the miracle close to my heart, but am prepared to deal with the heart-wrenching reality that is the lot of a mother of a child with schizophrenia.

By the way, I speak it......and am not ashamed....

Last year, in August, we had JSB committed for psychiatric care, and for a brief and shining period, life was good.  He came to Christmas Eve service with us, covered his tattoos, cleaned himself up, and stayed with us in the standing-room-only-church.  If you know people who struggle with schizophrenia, you know that is difficult.  All of the stimulation is more than they can take, and JSB was itching to leave and smoke a cigarette.

But, he listened to the service and heard what the Priest was saying.  It was an inclusive, radical love message, and JSB appreciated that, and told me, "I like this church."  We were jammed in the back pew, and JSB had given his seat up to a woman.  I pulled a kneeler down and he sat on it, facing me.  The music was beautiful, and he looked up at me and said, "I love you, Mom."  I hugged him and told him that I loved him as well. 

That was the last moment of sanity that I witnessed in my child.

Today, his delusions have taken hold, and lead him to despise his family.  He especially despises me.  If his delusions were reality, he would have good reason. 

So, despite my best efforts, I can't force my child to treat his illness.  This year, he will likely spend Thanksgiving and Christmas without his family.  Without anyone.  That breaks my heart.

So, I'm trying to think of what I can do to make Thanksgiving and Christmas meaningful for my child whose illness causes him to seclude himself.

Any ideas?


  1. I'm grieving with you my friend. You have just expressed my own deepest fears, which to this point have not been realized thanks be to God. I wish I had the magic words to say to make it right or a brilliant idea to make this joyful season meaningful for him. But I don't. On the other hand, I believe in the power of prayer and the grace of our Lord, and I am praying for you and your family. And find joy as you can in the holiday season. Much love, Sharon

  2. Thanks, Sharon. I, too, believe in the power of prayer and our Lord's grace. Your prayers and friendship mean a great deal to me. I'm still not going to give up on joy :)

  3. I think that sometimes those with troubled minds and souls actually feel God more deeply than the rest of us so-called normal folks - that the outward and disturbing manifestations are representative of an interior dialogue and struggle that we cannot imagine. Whatever the externals are, there is something deep at the core of him that remembers how he is loved (by God and by you) and that provides the most infinitesimal anchor while the delusions swirl around him. Jesus knew that beyond the demons in the minds of the mentally disturbed, there was still the possibility of recognition and of grace...and he worked to confront the demons and embrace the beloved spirit. We pray for the growth of that anchor, for the realization of that love, and for the courage to reach past the voices in his head toward you, and toward a life of peace.

    Much love, my friend.


  4. Mary, your words and prayer are sweet music to my heart and soul!

    You are one of many heralds in my life these days helping to clarify the nature of my call. I can't wait to talk to you!

    Much love back to you, anam cara!


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