Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine to my father -- in fond remembrance

There is a misconception when it comes to mental illness that a person who seems to function normally in a physical fashion is - normal. Aside from a few minor quirks of fashion or possibly hygiene, they blend.

And that is how so many can slip through the cracks to become lost in the shuffle. My father was one of those who could appear very coherent when needed -- and then slip through the cracks -- to escape the safe confines of a system that offered basic support but felt - to him - like a giant butterfly net: restraining.

Diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenic -- he avoided medication at every opportunity. Too much time with my father was a means to certain explosion. Short term relationships and encounters provided safety and allowed him to be on his best behavior. Strangers were his salvation.

Long ago, I released my worst memories of him and replaced them with my best. I do know through that experience, sharing space or life with someone who is mentally ill has unique challenges (and requires assistance when one is a child in the care of such an individual). I also know mental illness has nothing to do with intelligence. We learn a lot from those who are given complex and complicated life journeys.

Daniel Johnston walks a not so fine line between genius and sanity...(manic-depressive). This little anime piece was inspired by one of the songs Daniel sings. Art inspired. We have no idea the depth of our impact but there is an impact...and life goes on.

Today, as I searched for my father's obit, I found the obit for my step-mother. In it, she requested that a Valentine be sent to a person who is seriously ill. Quantum connections --everywhere.

A valentine for wandering lovers.

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