Lost and Found in Santa Barbara
by Suzanne Beachy
November 7, 2012
A few springs ago, I flew out to Santa Barbara from Columbus, Ohio for what would have been my son Jake’s 29th birthday. I needed to see for myself where he had lived and died as a homeless person the year before. Even now as I write those words, I am flooded by sorrow and shame. How could this have happened? How could my beautiful, sensitive, generous, funny, brilliantly creative son’s life have ended this way? It was unthinkable.
So many unanswered questions. This doesn’t happen to good parents, does it? Just lousy parents, right? Or was this horror Jake’s fault? Had he been just plain stubborn? Maybe the grip of substance abuse and escapism was too strong to resist? Had he suffered from a mental illness? Was he just plain bugged? Shouldn’t I have been able to save this precious person from a spiral of self-destruction? I had tried so many ways but nothing had helped – not the counselors or the psychologist, or the recovery programs, or medication. Years of frustration finally caused my kindness, patience, and understanding to give way to desperation, panic, and ultimatums.
Read more of Suzanne's moving story here