Le 14 juillet...
...a very special date here in France, which reminds me of the fact that my Mum would've been 72 today. Sadly we lost her very suddenly at the end of January 2014.
As you can see in todays blip, this collage shows a very happy young woman, a wife, a mother... When I was little, she was a brilliant Mum.
But as I got older, schizophrenia started to win and she became a very different person. Today, I think people should put aside their preconceptions of this illness. Look at my Mum in these photos, then realise that this situation can happen to anyone.
She wasn't a monster, ever! People who have that condition should be seen on their own merits and not how they are perceived in the media. Only a very small percentage of sufferers are considered to be a "danger to others".
My Mum was a frightened, meek, shy person, who fought and lost against this awful affliction. She was often a danger to herself and never harmed any of us physically.
Occasionally she showed glimpses of kindness, which she had before her life was ruined by this mental illness... and destroyed our family life.
At the time, I blamed her as I didn't understand. I was an angry young man, annoyed because my friends had "normal" parents. I didn't know what my Mum had until after my Dad had passed away when I was 20.
Later on, sadly a lot of the time I was estranged from my Mum, me in France, her in the UK. Trying to perhaps "protect" my children. Even so, she always thought about us at Christmas. She sent my children a parcel mid January 2014 and I managed to get her on the phone (it was often hard to get her on the phone, as she kept unplugging it). We had got her a home help the year before - as her brother had got fed up with running errands for her.
She sounded happy and the best I'd heard her for a long time. Very pleased her parcel had arrived with us.
Two weeks later she had gone...
So I put up these few photos today, to wish my Mum a happy birthday and for everyone to think about the person she was deep down inside of her.
Please see schizophrenia and mental illness in a new light.