The Boy Who Lived With Monsters

(This is my last post on the events of 2001.  It has been a cathartic experience, perhaps necessary.  One I hope has enlightened you as well as enveloped you with memories of James.)

Jarred had the most loving heart of any child I’ve ever known.  Many times when I went to pick him up from grade school, he would be standing in front of a child bigger than he was, protecting that child from an apparent bully.  I’ve seen him run across the street to help little women with groceries or pick up something they dropped.  Even small children, toddlers, who weren’t friendly with people loved Jarred, would climb all over him; even as he began exhibiting signs in his teenage years of odd behavior.  Could they still detect his sweet heart in there?

But, also, as a child, Jarred was always “different.”  He would have staring episodes as if in a trance.  Petit mal seizures?  He would grab his ears and complain of the loud water.  At first I thought there was some slight autism although I really didn’t know much about that particular devastating illness at the time; however, he was doing okay in school, maybe he would just grow out of whatever childhood oddity he had.


I didn’t realize, when I would find the little guy sitting at night in the dark all alone in our living room, that he was living with monsters.  I’ve since learned that’s what people with schizophrenia do.  They stay up to protect their families; some sit at the kitchen table all night, vigilant.

I’ve since learned that what a child with a mental illness can hold together in grade school falls apart when that child begins changing classes.  No longer is there the same desk to hold on to, the same room with the same students to bring some sort of stability to the chaotic mind.  And it did fall apart.  The childhood oddities gave way to serious problems with drugs and activities that were just inexplicable.  There’s just too much to tell.

hell birds

You can’t tell me you don’t see those!  They’re right by the window.” Jarred would hide practically in the floorboard, afraid to look but afraid not to lest a hell bird made it’s way into the car.  I don’t know what they looked like; he tried to describe them, not believing us when we said they weren’t there.

“There’s a zombie standing right behind me.  I can see it in the

mirror.” This was when he was at one of the half-way houses.

He ran into my room and jumped in my bed, scared to death, and as he lay in a fetal position, he said, “I’ve been so scared I couldn’t breathe.”

All he wanted, at 18, when he first really realized something was wrong, was to get well.  “What’s wrong with me?”

And then, as time passed, he would cry and say, “I just want to die.  Why doesn’t God just let me die?”

The big question I have asked God as well.  “Why?”

Part of His answer is in Job 38 – 42. 

24 thoughts on “The Boy Who Lived With Monsters

  1. Each day we think that a problem we are dealing with is so over coming…how will we ever handle it and get thru it….then I read your posts and the heart ache you, not only as a person but as the mother has gone thru…it doesn’t mean our issues don’t matter, it just puts them in prespective write all you want…it not only helps you..but us as well…all I can say your ONE HELL of a woman….warm hugs..


  2. Wow. I have to admit I’m ignorant when it comes to mental illness. That breaks my heart. How awful it must be for the person as well as their family. Tragic and also frightening.


  3. What can I say. I love Jared and have all of his life…I have pics of him at church being that little boy…singing praises with the other kids. Loving young kid and was always so sweet. I remember the sound of him telling me,. love you Ms Dolores. Brenda dont ever hold back, if you want to write it, we love reading it. Love your blog……….Keep writing…….


  4. My mind races with the memories; my helplessness, his constant fear. Crying, he said, “Please help me.” I have never felt so desperate.


  5. Wow! What a story you have told here in your many posts. I cannot imagine what hell you have gone through, B. You are an amazing person. You are only stronger because of what you have endured throughout your lifetime. I love reading your posts, laughing and/or crying along the way. What a story you have to tell. Keep writing, keep healing. God has a plan for you…. We love you, B!


  6. Brenda.. I have found through the yrs that when you see a horrible wound & there is bleeding and someone is in ICU people can relate its tangible! They see the wound, & the pain is there! When it comes to mental illness we don’t see the wound we don’t see the bleeding therefore we don’t realize there is pain! Never the less there is Pain so unimaginable that they don’t want to live! We don’t know what to do to help them because we don’t feel and see what they do. You did your very best and knowing you all of my life I knew you would! Thanks for your insight that only a mother could give.


    • Since all this has happened and I am more in tune with those people who are mentally ill, it’s easy to recognize those having difficulties now. I’ve learned a lot from the dedicated health workers. The state hospitals have been the best for caring and actually giving care that helps.


  7. Jarred…oh that boy. We all have stories about him and some funny ones too. We have cried a lot of tears over him, but he has also made us laugh at the many things he did, and the situations he would get us into. He loved his grandpa Churnie and his grandma Amy. He still gives the best hugs out of everyone in the family! and will plant a big ole kiss on your check. He does things like: sending everyone in the family a baseball cap of a major league team from saving labels off of something. He is also an encourager to everyone, promoting things for us to do – for me it’s telling me what to grow in my garden and how to grow it. 🙂 His momma is something else too – where do you think he got that kind heart from.


    • I love you… for being such a great caretaker… for trying your best to help him when he so needed help and when we were so exhausted. Bless Mom’s heart. She loved him so and tried her best as well. Such a waste of two good lives.


  8. Of all of the people I have met in my life you are one of the best.
    Your words and deeds have changed peoples lives for the better.


  9. Brenda,
    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. The only way for mental disorders to become a little bit real for those that dont live it is to hear it from those that have. I struggle daily with trying to understand it and I live it with my daughter. Even though I question God a lot I know replaced her in my life for a reason. Thank u again. I hope u continue to share so others can try to understand.


    • oh, Kimi, I had no idea you were going through those difficulties. You’re right, of course. She was placed there for a reason. May God give you the wisdom and stamina you need to deal with mental illness. Call if you ever need to talk. 🙂


  10. I can’t even begin to understand what you’ve been through. Only a mother could do this. My daughter is bi-polar and I suspect other things as well. At first I passed it off as, well she’s a teenager raging hormones and an over active imagination. Then it got worse. She’s 38 now and still violent, still a tortured soul. I do know what you mean when you ask God. “Why?!?”


  11. oh, bless your heart! and hers as well. Bi-polar is a very difficult illness; hard to diagnose; hard to find just the right drug that will help the brain. My older sister, I believe, is bi-polar as well. No one wants to be that way; it is a lonely life… but also a life that is hard for we, as family or friends, to embrace. Nevertheless, they need us.


  12. I am just now reading this, and crying, crying, crying… You are such a special person to your friends and family. Your strength, compassion and humor are a treasure to all of us who call you friend. You are one of my life’s greatest blessings.


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