Book Review: Losing Aaron
I keep thinking of the line in a Phil Ochs (google him:) ) song:
There but for fortune go you or I…
This book is a painful reminder of how fortunate we are to have gotten some extra time with Ben – and of how schizophrenia can happen to any family – rich, poor, educated or not, you name the adjectives. Schizophrenia does not discriminate.
Every family member with courage to share their story about mental illness in a loved one opens the door of understanding just a bit more – and that can help reduce stigma and spark action to help those with mental illness and their families. The author begins with the fact of Aaron’s suicide, so we know where this is headed and yet we still root for Aaron – and his Mom, Dad, sister and stepdad – to get the support, education, and understanding needed to change the outcome we know is inevitable.
Alas, that doesn’t happen – but Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes opens her heart to us as we share in her confusion, frustration and helplessness in the face of a devastating illness that seems to steal the soul of someone you love.
The pearl in the oyster here is the love the family has for Aaron, and how they do their best to support him in the only ways they know how, even though he consistently refuses the medication that might have changed his life.
I know that love well, as it is what keeps our family going too – and we know we are fortunate that my son Ben follows the “house rules” of taking his medication each day, under our supervision. Any day he could choose not to (as he, like Aaron, doesn’t think he needs it) – and we have seen too many times where that would lead us: straight to the hospital, and down the chute to square one again. This book renewed my gratitude for the extra days we have gotten with Ben – days that this author’s family was denied. Her pain and love, and her struggle to also live her own life as writer, wife and mother – are honestly told.
It also reminds us of the importance of education, support and acceptance – the earlier the better. Could Aaron have been saved? I don’t know. But I know I am so grateful (thank you, NAMI Family-to-Family) for education I got into Ben’s illness, which equipped our family to do more to help. It doesn’t always “work”, but education increases the odds of success.
1 thought on “Another Mom’s Story of Schizophrenia in Her Son – and Suicide”
There are two routes, forward, and backward. With drugs, one can move back to being close to the way one was beforehand. Without drugs, one can move forward such that the mind completely wraps around the problem itself, and thus the mind now takes full control.
Most people are just not strong enough to handle the latter.
What is it that is so huge that few can beat it. It will be a long long time from now before the masses will be mature enough to be told. That very fact is tied to schizophrenia, meaning that the very structure of the schizophrenia symptoms are as they are such that the truth spoken of schizophrenia seems to be of the words of no other than someone who is detached from reality. And it works perfectly.
Anyhow, those who beat it have to live with the fact that they will never be able to share the truth of it with others. It is sort of like being a trillionaire yet at the same time be in constant tears due to not being allowed to hand even a single penny to the needy poor.