June 26, 1992 to September 21, 2015
In loving memory of our beautiful son.
Hans, this should have been your 26th birthday. You so loved your birthday. We remember you, your birth, your life, your lovely smile. “Hello, mom, how was your day?” you loved life, you looked, you listened, you were alive, and life misses you. We celebrate your 23 years of life this day. We say your name, we remember, and you will always live in our memories.
You did not mean to die that day. You were not in your right mind that day. That day you said you controlled the weather, you were hearing voices, you thought we were going to harm you, you ran away, but we got you to the local hospital. There you waited all day, no psychiatrist, with no treatment for your psychosis, and no hospital bed for your serious mental illness. You were sent home with only a phone number to call the next day, “maybe a bed tomorrow”. But there was no tomorrow for you. We thought you had gone to sleep but you took off your clothing and jumped naked to our driveway, you died at the trauma hospital, your healthy body saved five lives with your organs three days later, and all that remains of your mortal body are ashes.
You who could play a game of chess not looking at the board, who cooked us delicious meals, who had signed up for singing lessons, and you who had written in your diary the day before, “wondering on the right mix of wonder and reality”. You were so smart, you had been told you had a serious illness, “you are sick”, but there was no help, you thought there was no treatment, no hope, so you made yourself into a sacrifice, or perhaps you flew out into the starry sky to become a star, to escape your illness.
If you had been bleeding with blood the hospital would have had a medical standard to help you. If you had developed diabetes, you would have been given care, medication, and sympathy. We would not have been told, there was nothing more to do, that death is an acceptable outcome for psychosis, a mental illness. This is wrong. It is true that you saw the world with a different brain but you were special, as you once said “you don’t ask the cat to get a job and move out, so why do you ask your children to do this?”. The world is a lesser place without you. Medicine must do more for those with serious mental illness, it is a medical disease, there are good treatments, families and loved ones can be educated, we can be kept safe, and we can have hope and we can live.