The tragedy of schizo-phrenia
By EVA DRIZHAL
As the mother of my son Frank, I would
especially like to address young people who are confused
about why such a sweet and strong boy like Frank died.
Frank had a brilliant and beautiful
mind throughout his life. He was always a happy kid,
who shared his happiness with his brother and with
his friends. He loved life and he loved nature. He
was always very strong and sensitive about it. He
felt he was a part of nature and spirit and he always
respected that. He loved to walk in the rain, going
through the snowstorm, swimming in the river and watching
the stars. He tried to understand eternity through
the galaxies and our short life on this earth, smiling
and happy how life is beautiful.
He did not care about cars, TV and
“stuff.” He would rather climb the hills not to miss
the sunset. His living by nature gave him a larger
perspective about life: what we are, where we came
from and where we are going. He was worried about
nature, pollution, garbage, wars, genetically engineered
food and people’s ignorance. He studied nature, and
he believed there is an answer.
He was an idealist and a dreamer. The
roots of his mind were like a spring of fresh water—unspoiled.
He was a renaissance man and he hoped for a new renaissance
time to come. He was not only well educated, but he
also knew how to apply the knowledge to live a better
life. He was a leader. He believed in education, creativity,
sensitivity and also responsibility.
But nature was not only beautiful to
him, it was also cruel. It spoiled his fresh water.
Frank got the most puzzling and unknown disease, which
became his biggest tragedy. It happened suddenly and
unexpectedly, like lightening from the sky, when he
was age 20. He got schizophrenia. It is a disease
that strikes young people in their prime. The disease
distorts the senses, making it very difficult for
the individual to tell what is real from what is not
real. The usual age is between 16 and 25.
People with schizophrenia appear to
have a neurochemical imbalance. It is not “a split”
personality and it is not caused by childhood trauma,
bad parenting, poverty or drugs. It affects one in
100 people worldwide. Many people with schizophrenia
have high IQs and it does not interfere with a person’s
The schizophrenic experience can be
a terrifying journey through a world of madness no
one can understand, particularly the person traveling
through it. You feel very much alone. And it happened
to my son Frank. His beautiful nature was slowly eaten
by a disease that put him in a strange darkness. And
we all tried to put a light there. He was fighting
with it every day, every hour, every minute.
He knew what was happening to him.
Frank knew his price and he wanted to have control
over his life. He could not live with the difference—what
he was and what this terrible disease was taking from
him. It was overwhelming. He died with dignity and
I have to respect that.
It is very hard for me and for my younger
son Jack. Frank was my dream, my beautiful creation,
my art. It does not go away. He was not only my inspiration,
but also an inspiration for young people who want
to study nature. Frank left a message for them: continue
to love life, search for a better one. Everybody has
a right to live a full rich life. I also urge young
people—especially those whose life was touched by
Frank’s example of his nonmaterialistic life, with
his enthusiasm and knowledge—to educate yourself and
also find the cause of this disease.
Frank is not dead for me. I see him
in the sky, I feel him through the stars, I touch
him on the grass, I hug him in every stone. I smell
him in fresh air, I hear him in a bird’s song and
I listen to him through the rain. He is unforgettable.
Frank believed in eternal return, and I know his spirit
is alive and one day he will come in a better time
and be smiling.
I thank everybody who shares with me
these crucial moments.