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I lost my son to mental illness

We must fight for more compassion

Stigma surrounding mental illness will continue until mothers and fathers, siblings and friends come out of the centuries-old shadows of fear, unite and stand firm for our loved ones


lost sonBeth Jessup

November 14, 2013

I never expected it. He was an optimist, just like me, so when I found my son that afternoon, down in the garage, I screamed and screamed, “Marcus, what have you done! What have you done!” John, his father, was behind me, both of us trembling uncontrollably, thinking “there has to be life!” A neighbour ran over and started mouth to mouth. John was crying, willing him to live. But I could see the colour had gone from his beautiful face – I knew he had left us. The ambulance came and paramedics took over, trying to revive him. It was a scorching, humid Lismore day. It was 1.30pm, 29 November 2011.

When I stopped trembling, a strange calm came over me. I kissed his face softly and embraced his still warm body, one last time. Quietly I got up, walked outside and sat under a tree. All hope fell away from my body. His pain, I knew, had been too much. He couldn’t do it any longer and I understood.

Marcus was an artist and musician, a writer and thinker. He spread kindness and love everywhere and to everyone he came in contact with. But for someone who lived with such grace, his was the hardest of lives. People with schizophrenia live a brutal war of the mind; they are among the bravest, most courageous of us all.

He was a gorgeous, gentle child, full of mischief and love; big grey blue eyes, long lashes, blonde wavy hair, perfect face and body. How could I have imagined the fate that would befall this precious boy?




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