This sunny photo of me, my dog, the garden and my beloved Aunt Cary obscures the reality that she struggled with what was then called manic-depression, though I didn’t know it. I loved her high energy, her warm love and and kind spirit. By the time I went to college in 1965, Cary was hospitalized in Chicago for a while. There was no treatment for bipolar disorder at the time, and she experienced manic highs and desperate lows. In November of 1969, she jumped off a ledge of a Manhattan hotel room.
This week we learned of the hospitalization of another dear family member, now 39, who has endured the ravages of schizophrenia since she was 18. Medicine contains it somewhat, though the medicine has discouraging side effects. Still, she was suicidal and was again taken into care.
On November 19th our church holds an annual Mass for the families of those who have taken their own lives. We light candles, hear their names read, and weep together for those who lost the struggle to live.
May we be kind to one another. May we recognize the daily struggles around us of people just trying to make it through another challenging day.