It has not been easy since day one. Actually, before that. I had fertility problems that required tests, treatments, and lots of doctors visits.

What came so easily for others was an uphill struggle for me. I just wanted to have a baby. Jeff and I married young, worked hard, and saved up enough money for a down payment on a house. After we moved in, my biological urge to become a mother really kicked in. But my body was not cooperating.

Finally, after four long years, my dream came true. I was pregnant!

by Donna Erickson

Dear Ryan,

I loved and wanted you so much, before you were even born. When you came into our lives, your father and I were over the moon and filled with happiness.

But it was hard to raise such a defiant child. Tantrums lasted longer than my friends‘ children, and I felt helpless.

We were devastated to learn that you had Bipolar Disorder at age nine. Medication came soon after. I knew your life would not be easy, because my mother had the same diagnosis, and I saw her struggle my whole life.

After you graduated high school, I felt your pain when your friends went their separate ways, and you felt lost. By age 25, you decided to try going off your meds, after reading online about potential side effects. My heart broke every time we had to call 911, because it became impossible to live with so many manic/psychotic episodes.

You had delusions that convinced you I was a child molester and a black witch. It hurt when you said you didn’t want contact with me, but I kept telling myself it was the illness talking, not the son that I knew and loved.

Year after year, I was losing hope. It was hard to see you go through more than 20 hospitalizations, and slip further and further away. I prayed every night for a miracle. I cried so much that it felt like no more tears were left, but the tears still flowed.

After eight years of psychotic hell, you finally came back to us. My sweet boy had returned!

I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s been almost 3 years of stability, but it’s hard to let go of the worry. I see it as nothing short of a miracle that God brought you back to us. Our unconditional love for you continued, no matter how hard things got. We stood by you when you needed court-ordered medications, during several other court hearings, during your year-long state hospitalization, and every day since.

You have done an amazing job, and I’m so proud of the progress you have made. You are fully onboard with your treatment, and it’s wonderful to hear you encourage others to stay on their meds. Recently, we were told you have met all of your goals at the group home, including regularly attending a day program, and the next step will be your own apartment with supportive services.

I’m excited to see you mature and face the next phase of your personal journey. As long as I am alive, I will continue to offer my loving support. When I am no longer on Earth, you can be sure I’ll be watching over you, with a mother’s special love.❤️