Tuesday, March 30, 2010
What is schizophrenia and how and when does it attack. I've read quite a few articles on the illness so ask me if I understand a single medical word written - no! I have read enough, however, to explain in layman's words, the words of a sister trying to understand what really killed her brother, what it is. True, John took his own life, and in the worst way possible, but no one can convince me that it was his choice or that his sensitive nature would allow him to choose to leave this world with so many broken hearts left behind and so many questions to answers that will never come. I strongly believe it was the demons of his illness that took over and told him to "jump". And, unless you have walked in the same shoes as he, those demons are very powerful - you do what they tell you and don't stop to ask questions. Schizophrenia, basically, is the crossing of wires in the brain where you do not and cannot think like others. You wonder why, you ask questions, and don't understand what's happening to you, but you know something's not right. You hear voices coming from various outlets - the radio, the t.v., hear other voices in a group of three; your brain is sort of like a shortwave radio where you can hear all kinds of voices and sounds. And, you're the only who can hear these voices and noises. These voices and noises are loud, and then they become louder, and louder and more loud, until the person can no longer stand it and must act. Could you imagine that happening to you, in your normal state of mind - hell, most people cannot even stand the constant drip of a faucet let alone voices and noises from another world. And on top of that, the voices and noises do not make sense, not like a normal conversation between two people. I cannot even imagine. While the illness can attack in the ages of 30's & 40's, late teens and early 20's is when schizophrenia most often strikes. In John's case, it hit when he was barely in his 20's. There are some theories that a traumatic event can trigger the illness - for John, I believe this was the case. How do you think you'd react if, after nearly 6 years you were told your father was dead & that he killed himself. And imagine you thought your parents were merely divorced all those years - which is devastating in and of itself to a child - and that your father was living someplace in Cleveland, Ohio. And imagine this information coming to you from someone other than your mother, or any family member for that matter - a stranger. And imagine you're far from home when you get this information and that you're in a place where you cannot come and go freely, to just get on a plane or bus and go home to talk things over with................ someone, anyone. And, imagine you've just joined the Air Force and then you're given this devastating news. And this................. was the "traumatic event" that changed my brother's life..................forever. I have to go now 'cause I'm upset.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
for John came on a bitter cold January day in 1972, the 19th, when he committed suicide by jumping off the Triborough Bridge (now the Robert F. Kennedy) in New York City. Triborough is a collection of 3 bridges actually, connecting the burroughs of Manhattan, Queens & The Bronx through Randall's & Ward's Island - he was found washed ashore on Ward's Island. I've tried to figure just how high this bridge is but mathematics is not my strong suit............... I'm sure it is quite high. I cannot even imagine what kind of mental or emotional state a person must be in to think jumping off a bridge, or whatever form of suicide, is the answer. They (whoever "they" are) say that suicide is a selfish way to die, leaving behind loved ones with no answer to the question, "why?" I disagree completely. In my brother's case, he was diagnosed schizophrenic and I can only guess that he was in some type of psychotic moment, heard voices, couldn't stand the pain, and didn't see any other way out. One must consider the state of mind of the person and understand that someone in the throes of great depression, or whatever mental ailment consumes them, they are not thinking of anyone or anything, they're not even thinking of themselves, not really. Their main, and only, objective is to stop the emotional pain they are feeling; they see no other way and, in most instances, don't even realize that what they're about to do is permanent, irreversible, no coming back. Nope, there's no turning back, no "take 2" and no changing your mind. From the time of his death in1972 to November 2009, I thought (as did the entire family when they were still living) that John was murdered - the police told me as much in 1972 - "homicide". Well, apparently not, and you can imagine my surprise when I finally received documentation last year stating the contrary - "suicide". Either form of death, homicide or suicide, is awful but it breaks my heart even more to know he chose to take his own life - and in such a way, oh my god! His poor little body was battered and bruised, broken bones and fractured skull, to name just a few injuries. I can only guess he dove off that bridge because there were no lower body injuries, no broken bones, no fractures, nothing, and all injuries were to his upper body and face. Gruesome and graphic, yes, but this is death in the worst scenario and, for me, I simply must know all the details. He was wearing blue "dungarees", a yellow shirt, green socks, brown lace up shoes and brown "suit" jacket - poor thing, the outfit sounds horrid - and he was wearing his black horn-rimmed glasses, the kind "Clark Kent" wore. If only he was Superman and could have flown above & over that bridge.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
"Death is a tragic thing if you haven't lived". Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys" 2008. And therein lies the tragedy of John's death - he never got the chance to live. My heart breaks for him.................or is it my own lack of living I grieve? Another question for another time.
Friday, March 5, 2010
............I firmly believe must not and cannot be for naught. He did matter but all too late was he recognized, especially by his family. It's my mission to correct that major error in my own life. I was talking to a friend last night, telling her bits and pieces of our lives as brother & sister (which incidentally didn't really exist at all) and I realized just how raw a deal he was given. By no means is he exclusive- there are hundreds of thousands whose lives did not turn out right, who died way too young or, worse, died before they were even born, but those stats do not negate the fact that John had a uniqueness and that uniqueness was and is a loss to many, now that he is physically gone for good! I feel the loss of John much more now than I ever did, and I'm learning more about him as the days pass. Some good memories, some not-so-good, but ...............it's so true, we cannot know where we are going if we do not know from where we came. Tough road sometimes but, hey, gotta do it.