18 July 12
There was a man who had a beautiful family — the wife of his youth, four lovely daughters and a beloved baby boy. He cherished his family so much that he gave up his work and devoted himself to caring for them, educating his children through travel. He was passionate about modelling how to be a better person by tackling the ugliness within himself first.
One evening, the man drove off with his baby son in the car. He was taking his boy for a drive to soothe him and put him to sleep. It was the man’s habit to take his son and calm him in the evenings, and this was greatly appreciated by the man’s wife.
Tragically, as the man was driving his car, he suffered a brain aneurysm and lost control of the vehicle, driving straight into a tree. The impact killed his son almost instantaneously, and the man suffered extreme injuries. When emergency staff arrived, they took him to a hospital where he has to recover not only from his physical injuries but also from his emotional ones.
The man’s friends and family are constantly at his side in the hospital, comforting him, encouraging his rehabilitation and willing him to heal from all his injuries. Everyone wants nothing more than to see the man fully restored and reunited with his family.
David is in a mental health facility. Although his brain injury on the night of Elijah’s death was chemical rather than physical, our society recognises that people suffering a mental illness are not to be punished for their actions but rather treated and rehabilitated to a well state. A judicial procedure will determine if David’s case is a health issue or a legal one, but those who know David already know the truth.
Like so many others, I have remained ignorant about mental health issues until it screamed at me in the face. Now I am learning compassion and understanding, and this has got to be a good thing.
As I have said before, this path is undeniably set before me, and although it is so painful, I know I do not walk it alone. I also know that I am walking it so that others do not need to — for tragedy happens to other people, which — in this case — just happens to be me.
If I can share with my girls what I am learning, if I can continue to find joy in the moment, if I can look back at my life and say, “yes, this has been a good life!”, then surely I will have learned that the journey should not be judged by the bumps in the road but by the beat of my heart. My heart is still beating, it is still loving, it is still eager for fun and friendship. So I continue.