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The Shadow of Schizophrenia

Where God was amid my mom’s mental illness.
Courtesy of Amy Simpson

My family never had much, and excess was not in my parents’ lexicon. Dad was a pastor, serving small congregations, and Mom stayed at home. We were poor, but we didn’t feel it much, surrounded as we were by farmers who lived by the whims of the rain we asked for at the weekly Wednesday night prayer meeting.

But each birthday was an occasion for a treat, and every gift was precious and heartfelt. On my fourth or fifth birthday, I unwrapped a stuffed animal that had been squeezed awkwardly into an ill-fitting cracker box and wrapped by my dad’s bear-like hands. Before opening the bulging box, I could see fur sticking out of the corners. Inside was a koala, snuggly and a touch exotic.

I loved that stuffed animal. She inhabited an honored spot on my bed for the next decade. At some point, a seam popped and stuffing hemorrhaged from her neck. I pushed the fluff back inside and repaired the damage with painstaking but imperfect stitches that made her head a little crooked.

How could I have known she would one day become a prized possession and comfort to the woman who gave her to me?

Read the rest of the story here.

(The article is 5 short pages, which can be accessed at the bottom of the screen.)