The first time i stayed in a pyschiatric hospital, my aunt and uncle visited me. my uncle was a paranoid schizophrenic with bipolar. He suffered greatly, but at the same time he was well medicated and was a positive, driving force in my life. Whenever i was down, anxious, not coping, i would pick up the phone and call him, night and day. He was always there for me.
They brought me flowers and a card, and told me to read the card after they had left. It was a beautiful card, with roses on the front, and the caption "I love you." I opened it, fully expecting to see my aunt and uncles names, however there was just one word in my uncle's handwriting: "Jesus". It still brings me to tears, seeing it.
My precious uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer @ age 50, in 2006. March the 1st, to be exact. They were hesitant in telling me about it, fearing i would collapse emotionally, knowing the bond we shared. Our whole family was devastated, he was my dad's baby brother and he was a source of support, strength and encouragement for me.
So on March 1st, 2006 we were told he had 6-9 months to live. He died April 1st 2006. yes: we had exactly 4 weeks with him. and he died on april fools day- a bitter irony. he accepted his fate with dignity and courage. he showed no fear, but peace. he told us not to cry. he wanted his funeral to be a celebration of his life, full of music (he was a professional guitarist) and love and laughter.
My dad didnt feel he could give a eulogy- so i did. in the lead up to the funeral i was anxious, nervous, scared that my knees would literally give way in front of 450 mourners, i panicked the entire week- i panicked when i saw the pallbearers (my dad, his son, his son-in-law, his best man etc) carry his coffin in and place it directly infront of where i was sitting. i lost it momentarily- the coffin looked too small to fit him. but i did it. i spoke on behalf of my father, and said my own goodbyes, to a man that fought the social stigma of mental illness his entire adult life. i was calm, collected and felt a genuine sense of peace mingled with my grief. instead of flowers, we asked that donations be made to both Schizophrenia Australia and the Cancer Council. people were very receptive to this.
He left behind a wife and 2 amazing kids, but he also left a gaping hole in my heart, because through all the adversity, he taught me to never be ashamed of having a mental illness. he taught me to face it head on and never apologise for who i am.
Those 4 weeks with him will remain forever with me, as i watched his face, serene as he slipped into a coma- he was calm, at peace with the world. not an angry word, no "why me?", no regrets.
If i can be half as strong as he was, i will have done him proud.
'He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.' (Psalm 147:3)
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, TMJ disorder, Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovaries, Chronic ear/nose/throat infections, Panic Disorder, Reactive Arthritis, Agoraphobia, Migraines, GERD, Anaemia, Sinusitis, Chronically perforated eardrums, Pinched Nerves, IBS, Tachycardia, Allergies, Insomnia, Trichotilomania, Glandular Fever, Bursitis, Encapsulitis, Seasonal Mood Disorder, Mild OCD.
Meds: Zoloft 150mg. Xanax 4mg. Nexium. Celebrex. Mobic. Panadeine Forte. Digesic.
Multiple surgeries- I bear the scars of my poor physical health.
Age:28. First diagnosed at 14. Proud Aussie. XX.
Post Edited (Mazfire) : 11/4/2008 2:46:33 PM (GMT-7)