That devastating scenario, described in my previous post, took place seventeen years ago. There have been many twists along the way, some good, some bad. My younger son is in law school, having been spared the development of a major mental illness. I haven’t been as fortunate. When I said I couldn’t cope with Sam’s diagnosis of schizophrenia, I was correct. Memories of how he was before his illness continue to prick at my skin, and I have to fight the daily dread of getting up in the morning to deal with the challenges. After his latest setback, my husband, Roy, repeated my own thoughts about never feeling happy again; now I’d settle for not miserable.
There is a story written by a woman (I think it’s in one of the Chicken Soup books) who has a child born with a disability. She loves her child but always wonders what it would have been like if he had been born “perfect.” The author uses a metaphor and writes of getting on a plane with the intention of flying to Rome, Italy but winds up in Amsterdam (or something like that). She makes the best of her trip, but always regrets missing out on her real destination. I’ve met some wonderful people on this unexpected journey—consumers, family members, advocates, professionals–but if I could have avoided it, I most definitely would have gone to Rome.