Just Wondering……

13 Comments

I’ve been thinking lately how much I wish that I had a strong religious belief. You know, the kind where you just know in your heart what is after this life. I used to think that I knew. It was something that I was taught from a child and through 16 years of parochial school. There was a heaven and a hell. All good people went to heaven, and well, you can figure out the rest. (I won’t elaborate on Limbo or Purgatory, as they both led to heaven eventually, anyway.) Truth is, I never had to test that belief before. Even when my Dad died, I didn’t go there. He was an agnostic, though, maybe that’s why. Or maybe, just because I knew it was his time. It happened in the natural order of things.

 

Losing a child is not something one expects, even when told that a child is terminally ill, some part of that parent hopes for a miracle. Ah, a miracle! Another belief rooted in the spiritual…the conviction that there is something bigger, greater than us.  I have to admit that I believed in miracles. I used to tell the kids how their guardian angels looked out for them. Sean’s was on full-time duty, but he always came through, at least it seemed he did.

 

A friend sent me an email the other day, very religious in tone.  The message was that there are no premature deaths. We reap what we sow. One of the examples chosen was John Lennon and how he once stated that Christianity would disappear, the implication being that he was killed early in life because of his disbelief. I couldn’t read any further. Honestly, I was shocked that someone sent this to me. It wasn’t intentional, as it was forwarded to what looked like a contact list, and I consider her a good, empathetic friend who loved Sean. I wondered how someone could be so certain that their God would kill one of his creations because of a belief.  Do we extrapolate this to every child or young person who dies prematurely? Are they somehow responsible?   I know this belief to be false. I know that Sean neither wanted, nor deserved to die. I know how hard he tried to live a normal life and be a good person. I now also know why it was hard for him to conquer his fears. How do I know this? Because, over the past 4 years, I have heard Sean’s story over and over again., by mothers and wives whose hearts are also torn open by loss. Just last week, the Fund got a generous donation. As a response to my thank you, a Mom told me how she had just lost her son to bipolar disorder, after a serious manic episode.  By all accounts, he was a talented, funny, loving young man.  His Mom is also a nurse and reiterated my experience with inadequate care of her son, despite his compliance. She donated in the hope of making a difference..

 

Another friend posted the question recently:  Did God create man, or did man create God?  I admit that I don’t subscribe to an organized religion. I do believe, however, in the power of good (derivative of god?).  One of my favorite songs that Sean covered was “Love is Amazing.”  Love is amazing.  They say Love has the power to move mountains. It certainly can help a mother with a broken heart, and help change attitudes that can lead to a cure and care for a horrible and dangerous disease. I don’t know if I’ll see Sean again in the form that I know him, but I see him now, in the tears and smiles of his friends and family, in the ongoing loyalty of his fans, in the healing that his passing has enabled in others.  I feel it when people begin to examine their prejudice about mental illness and addiction. He is here everyday in his music, in the generosity of people who are no longer strangers to me.

 

I can’t say what God I believe in, but I do believe in community.  A compassionate community encircles Sean’s family to this very day.  I think it’s our choice to leave an imprint on this world. I think it’s our decision if we want to view the world as one creation, and to correct things that impair its harmony and growth.  Rather than quoting (or misquoting) the Bible, using it to pass judgment, we can emulate the great prophets who tried to heal the sick, and mingled with the poorest and sickest among them.  The impact of mental illness is great, as is its stigma.  The willingness to address it is growing.  Many of you are part of that movement, and some of you because of your relationship with Sean.  It helps me.  It has taught me that life goes on through the love and caring of others.

If you believe in a religion, I envy you, but I hope that belief engenders the feeling that all of your God’s children deserve a chance, and that it is incumbent upon us to make that happen in whatever way we can. I still do believe in miracles; I count you, who have supported the mission of the Fund and who honor Sean’s memory, among them.

Have a loving, safe and fun summer!

Debbie

13 thoughts on “Just Wondering……

  1. Jennifer Langford on said:

    Your recent blog touched my heart so much. I truly loved Sean. My daughter is bi polar. What has helped me the absolute most in religion is the book “The Shack”. God is not a mean God. He created each of us and loves us unconditionally. I believe in God but I am not extremely religious. My husband passed away last August and this book gave me more comfort than you can ever imagine. It is a true story.
    You will find your way and you will see Sean again, maybe not in the body you know but you will know it is him. Sean didn’t die needlessly, his death has helped thousands of people and that is an honor.

    • admin on said:

      Jennifer,

      You can’t know how much your email means to me. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. A spouse is so important to us. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer (he’s doing well), but the thought of losing his support scares me. I don’t believe that God could be mean. It doesn’t make sense that a creator would not accept what he designed, faults and all. We do with our children. How could we not? I hope that your daughter is doing well, and that someday we might meet in person. I am hoping that Sean’s life and death have made a difference in this world. It’s what I know that he wanted. He was an old, kind soul. I’ve been given the book The Shack” but have not read it. I’ll be sure to pick it up again. Thank you.

    • admin on said:

      You must have ESP. I’ve been thinking about you lately. Nothing specific, you’ve just been on my mind. I hope that you do keep Sean in your heart forever. It needs a safe, loving place with someone that can understand him better than almost any other. I hope that the concert with your Mom was really special. I’m sure she was overwhelmed with pride…. I know I am! :) Been missing Sean a lot, too. Crying more than I have in a long time, but he has been visiting me in my dreams. Be safe, healthy, and most of all, be happy.
      We love you,
      Deb

      PS Waiting to meet your fiance. I’ll let you know when I visit Bridget, maybe I can catch up with her while I’m there

  2. Erin on said:

    My beautiful artistic daughter has bilpolar disorder- treated and doing well at age 17 after a very long struggle to come to a diagnosis. I know she will have her struggles in life but I hope (and pray) that she will persevere through the rough times. I also wish I could just have the strong belief/ faith that so many people seem to have but has alluded me. I know that God exists and absolutely believe in love but struggle with the hypocrisy and judgement . I thank you for sharing your story to reduce the stigma and educate the public about mental health. I am so sorry for your loss and am becoming a fast fan of Sean’s music.

    • admin on said:

      Thank you for the kind words. My wish is that your stay well and live a very long, happy life. You sound like a wonderful Mom, and I know that is your wish for her as well. I’m glad you like Sean’s music. I’m a pretty big fan myself :)

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  4. Debbie,

    My husband and I attended the benefit tonight for your son Sean. What an amazing night of music and celebration of the love for your son.

    My great aunt Mary had bi polar disorder and passed away two years ago. she was well into her late 80′s . Growing up I have such vivid memories of her highs and lows. As a young child, we weren’t really told anything about her disease and I think she’s wasn’t truly diagnosed for a very, very long time. She was loving, caring, generous and loved my many. I know from stories get disease caused many issues in her relationship with her children, spouse and friends. My hope in listening to the Dr tonight and becoming more educated about the disease. We must stop the shame associated with this disease and try to help friends or family that suffer.

    thank you for your blog and your words of honesty. I truly left last night feeling like Shawn was in the room, smiling at all of us and he was happy.

    Take care,

    Betsy

  5. Debbie,

    My husband and I attended the benefit tonight for your son Sean. What an amazing night of music and celebration of the love for your son.

    My great aunt Mary had bi polar disorder and passed away two years ago. she was well into her late 80′s . Growing up I have such vivid memories of her highs and lows. As a young child, we weren’t really told anything about her disease and I think she’s wasn’t truly diagnosed for a very, very long time. She was loving, caring, generous and loved my many. I know from stories get disease caused many issues in her relationship with her children, spouse and friends. My hope in listening to the Dr tonight and becoming more educated about the disease. We must stop the shame associated with this disease and try to help friends or family that suffer.

    thank you for your blog and your words of honesty. I truly left last night feeling like Sean was in the room, smiling at all of us and he was happy.

    Take care,

    Betsy

    • Thank you for this kind comment. Bipolar disorder touches many of us, and challenges those who have it. I do hope that Jeff’s comments help start an open conversation about wonderful people who suffer in silence. I felt the very same way last night. I think Sean was there with a huge smile on his face. It wouldn’t be possible, though, without the support of people like you.

      Debbie

  6. thetaylormcrae on said:

    Thank you for posting this Debbie! I really enjoyed reading your honest words about Sean and how much this mission has touched your life.

  7. Debbie smith on said:

    Taylor, you have been such a wonderful gift to us. I hope that we can give something to you in return (I didn’t necessarily mean tangible, but saying it reminded me that I haven’t sent your package. We have been so disorganized since moving. I’ll try to remember tomorrow!)

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