Our godson died the day after Christmas. We attended his funeral last Saturday.
Covid - yes, it is real; yes, it is back - prevented the service from being held sooner. In fact, it might have been a blessing; it gave us all time to reflect. Our godson and our oldest child were born 6 weeks apart in 1985. They were baptized together. Somewhere we have a picture, from those days of film cameras, of the two babies wrapped in blankets having a wonderful, baby nap on the porch at a house in Waxhaw. We had known our godson’s mom since college and, at the time, she appeared to be in a good place with her first husband.
Our godson was diagnosed with a mental illness at age four, his mom said last Saturday at the place of his funeral, at the graveside of her parents. He was medically emancipated by the State of North Carolina at the age of 17. He had a very difficult life - this young boy who loved to read, especially fantasy, and was given a love of poetry by his mom who - like me - is an English major graduate of Newberry College.
She spent years and years among doctors and specialists and on her own in a Charlotte area library researching what she could do for our godson. A movie that debuted Friday, “The Son”, has a line in it, “Love isn’t always enough.”
Certainly not enough to overcome the Evil straight from the Devil Himself that is severe mental illness. There is no cure - there is treatment, and there is hope, but there is much despair, also. And, in some cases, danger; thankfully, as far as we know, our godson’s wife had not experienced that before his death. Her parents said after the funeral, “We are going to remember only the good times.”
Our godson is one of the reasons why I am a member of the board of the Beckman Center for Mental Health Services, based in Greenwood and with a clinic here, located between Laurens and Clinton. We spent Saturday in our annual retreat; our topics included Covid, depression and anxiety; zero suicide and mobile crisis; goals review 2022 and 2023 goals; and meditation. We have learned that Gov. Henry McMaster has recommended funding - $45 Million - this coming year for the state Department of Mental Health, one of the oldest and most accomplished departments of its kind in the United States.
We also have learned that some lawmakers want to lump us in with health and environmental control and substance abuse, and give us all a new name.
We support and appreciate Gov. McMaster’s effort. We oppose a new name or mission.
Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. In June, 2025, he will observe his 50th year in community journalism. Reach him at 864-833-1900. Reach the Laurens MHC at 864-938-0912. or contact the 988 crisis line.
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