At a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) convention, I listened to the tragic story of a mother whose son committed a murder while delusional. As a result, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. A similar story on the website of the Treatment Advocacy Center portrays a man with paranoid schizophrenia who murdered a policeman. His mother tells how her son was called a “monster” during the trial. She says “so I guess that makes me the ‘monster’s mother.’ ”
Those two words go beyond heartbreaking. The emotional toll must be unbearable, since it carries the knowledge that your “baby” did this to another human being.
When children are born, we have such hope that their futures will be happy, fulfilling, and that they will do something to make like better for others; in other words, that our beautiful, precious gifts will grow up to be the blessings we feel certain they are.
Then comes that dreadful moment when an evil force rips away that cherished promise. Of course, there was no promise to begin with since life comes with no guarantees; we just never realized it until the unthinkable happens.
But these two men and the “Jared Loughners” of the world are not monsters. Rather they are cursed to be born with severe mental illnesses, and the poor mothers and fathers who struggle to get help from a broken-down mental health system are left saying–like the woman in that article–“I simply don’t have any more tears left ” [to cry].