Although it’s a sad subject, I cant let this date go by, without paying some kind of homage to my late son Nick. He died 14 years ago tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe it’s been that long, when he committed suicide at the age of 19. He had suffered from bi-polar disease all his life. I had first noticed it when he was 18 months old, standing in front of me in a yellow bunny suit/sleeper with feet. It was totally obvious by the time he was 4. Undeniable at 7, and finally, finally diagnosed at 15, and medicated at 16. In those days, psychiatrists refused to diagnose bi-polar until people were in their twenties, and wouldn’t medicate it until then. Getting him medication for it, and a diagnosis, at 15 and 16 was practically a miracle then. Today, children are diagnosed at 4 and 5 and medicated for it immediately. Thank God, times have changed. And maybe my voice has helped a little. I wrote a book about his life, and illness, called “His Bright Light”, it came out a year after he died.
There is no denying that Nick’s brief 19 years were a rocky road. Anyone who lives with someone who is mentally ill can tell you it’s not easy. But to be fair, it’s not unlivable every day. Like any other illness, it goes in fits and spurts. There are good days and bad days, good periods and bad ones, moments that rip your heart out, or you want to tear your hair out, and other times when things are calm. There were a lot of great, great moments with Nick, and aside from the illness, he was an extraordinary person, had a brilliant mind, a huge writing and musical talent, and a sense of humor that could knock you flat on your ass laughing. And during his good times, he was one of the most loving people I have ever known. He was a singer, musician, composer, lyricist, song writer, and he played in a band (Link 80) that was just starting to become successful shortly before he died. (And started another band called ‘Knowledge” right before he died. The CD’s of both those bands he played with are still around). He packed a lot into his 19 years, and led a full and rewarding life. He got more in than some people who live to be 90. And I am grateful for every moment we had with him.
September 20th is the anniversary of the day he died. it was an unforgettably awful day, and a day I have a hard time with every year. Anniversaries of the day we lose people are hard for everyone. Some years are worse than others. And however brief, his life was a bright shining light, a beacon to all those who knew him, and even those who read about him now. He didn’t survive his illness, but he put up a hell of a good fight, and I cant blame him for giving up. He just couldn’t stand the pain anymore. Suicide is never the right solution, it is always the wrong way out. But it is the one he chose, and those of us who loved him have to live with it. It will be a quiet day of reflection for me, of missing him as I always do, and a little more on that day, as I inevitably remember what an awful day that was. But in counterpoint to that, there were so many wonderful days with him, so many happy times, so many joys, so many gifts of having him in our lives. I am grateful for every moment that we shared with him. And somewhere out there in the Heavens, there is the brightest star, the boy who was my son Nick…..thank you for sharing the memories with me. I know you would have loved him, and had a great time with him, we all did. He was such a special boy, and always will be to me…..my bright shining Nick…..I hope he is happy where he is.