Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Missing my son terribly

I saw a toddler with his arms wrapped around his mother’s neck, hanging onto her for dear life. I saw this as I was driving. It made me have flashbacks to when my son was little, and made me burst into tears. Uncontrollable tears.

I see my son daily, we talk ( as much as he will allow), and he only lives 5 minutes away, but God, I miss him so much. If you all know what I mean.

To the mothers whose children live far away, or in jail, and not talking to them/seeing them every day, I don’t know how you do it. It’s so incredibly sad, and I get to see mine everyday.

Do our hearts eventually adapt to this way of life? Do we just, one day, finally accept? It’s been 5 years, and it still cuts like a knife, and some days more so. Today was one of those days.


I feel this way every time I see pictures of my Allie when she was younger… she used to be such a happy child!


I know, pictures are bittersweet, aren’t they?

My son exhibited a few “odd behaviors”, but still happy and content for the most part. Then his world turned upside down. Lots of trauma. But never expected THIS.


I still fill up at photos of my daughter when she was young - her whole life ahead of her.


Seeing these pictures can hurt and cause you to grieve, but they can be a source of hope or offer some solace.

My first therapist asked me to bring in family photos for context which was very insightful. She could tell by these when things started to change, and could pick up on family dynamics and better understand and remember the players involved. This was very early on-- it might have been the second or third session.

From there my sessions with her and other therapists were multimedia events. I would bring in poems, books, music and videos etc. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes we don’t have the words to communicate what’s going on with us, but can do so in other ways. This is the basis of art and music therapy.

From my experience, caregivers aren’t the only ones that grieve this loss. Their sons and daughters do too, although they may not be able to articulate it. Part of recovery is getting past this grief, and moving on to what might be next for you both. I found I was often trying to sort out what was my illness and what was me, and what was the medication, etc. Eventually I came to peace with my limits and how I was effectively a different person. Yet I was more miserable in my prodromal and acute phases, so my residual or recovery phase was an improvement,. So once I got past that I began to grow again.

Of course my experience isn’t typical, but the blessing and curse of photos is they are only a snapshot in time and bittersweet for everyone-- nothing stays the same. It’s a question of degree. Your pain may be more poigiant than the happy photographs seen in funerals nowadays, because their transformation took a different form.

Some of this is how you look at it. They were happy once, and may be again, you don’t know. You may be able to use your photos as a tool to move both of you forward, or maybe not. But at least you had some happy times together. Some people don’t even get that, as illness or death strike before young adulthood.

My brother has BPD and has a tendency to live in the past, and talks frequently about his accomplishments in high school and college from thirty plus years ago. While it’s tedious and repetitious to listen to these stories, I marvel at his near perfect recall and nuances of detail that he brings. I’d like for him to make new stories if he can. But if he can’t, I try to appreciate the good times that he’s had, and those that we have shared. And I think that’s all anyone ill or not can expect.


Very true, Maggotbrane,

My husband misses his early life as well, where he enjoyed playing trumpet in orchestra, was a star varsity football team member and a high-performing bank employee in high school, learning cgi at art school. He had so much potential.

I grieve because he was still under the influence of medication when we met and was calm and relatively happy. Now he is a shell of what he once was, homeless, emaciated, unhealthy, delusional and angry with everyone (including me). I miss the man I married and promised to stick with. I am finding it harder and harder to honor that promise.

Now that he’s moved back to where I am living, I see him every day. I look into his eyes and I see a stranger. Where did he go? Who is this man I am claiming to love? I don’t see my husband any longer. Is there a future for us as a couple?

His parents and family cut him off years ago, and I still wonder how they feel. I know they thought he was only trying to hurt them, didn’t acknowledge the illness at all. My family member I live with is of the same mind, as are others who have been around him. I had good news to share but am not feeling very happy right now. I miss my husband, or who I thought my husband was.


I see my son most days , but it’s not my son I see most of the time , it breaks my heart every time I see him and it’s been 4 years since he became unwell and it dosent get any easier x


@Lanne, no it does not. I grieve everyday. Like he is permanently gone, but he’s standing right in front of me. They say as time passes, things will get better, the sz will get better, but…

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Hello, I truly and deeply emphasize with you. It has been 17 years since my son was first diagnosed, and I still find myself looking at children, adolescents, and young adults who appear healthy and happy. I feel that my son was cheated, and it just is not fair! As the years have gone by, I have come to accept his illness; however, it still causes me a lot of pain and always will.


Hello @buenosaires,

I can’t even look @ pictures of his childhood, it breaks me down. So for those who say, remember the good when looking @ pictures, I’m sorry but I just can’t relate to that. I’d rather not look @ them. Trying to focus on the now and short term future, for who he is NOW, and doing everything I possibly can for him, so I can try to feel alittle bit of peace.

I wish you alittle bit of light from whatever source you can derive from.

Peace to you


Because my daughter is graduating from high school we had to look st earlier pictures… you know finding pictures from childhood to put in the yearbook… we did a picture collage for my son when he graduated for his party… so it is only fair I do it for my daughter. So I guess I grin and bear it. My daughter actually likes to look at the old pictures.

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My son is okay with me brushing back his hair with my hand, or giving him a kiss on his head. He almost always returns a hug and an ‘I love you’. These things comfort me. This is certainly not the life I wish my son was able to live, but I love the young man that I have.

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Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation @Windyhill63, I hope that the next phase of her life is filled with peace, less anxiety, and may her days be filled with something that enjoys doing. Trick is to not let her sit around for too long.

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I miss my son too. My son lives with me, but I miss the way he was before this terrible illness took hold of his brain. Some days I do get a glimpse of him and I savor it.

I’m not sure I will ever adapt to this life, but slowly I am accepting it, some days l do sit in my car and cry.

But we just wake up, put our feet on the floor and start our day, hoping for a few moments of the way things used to be.


I cherish those moments where I can just enjoy doing something with my daughter and not think about her illness… even if it is just watching her favorite anime with her.

Each day is a new day, so one day at a time…

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I think I am the opposite - I will never quite accept it, but I have adapted to it.


No, i i dont think i will ever adjust. My son lives with me and my husband physically but really hes not here. I havent seen him smile in 3 yrs. I would give anything to see him smile and laugh and be happy and have a good life. Its the worst pain i have ever known. I cry every day. The grief is so deep.