Susan and Jay Bigelow delighted in their son, and he in them. Their life was normal and joyful and filled with possibility. And then Jesse changed. Read the excerpt below from and article written by Globe and Mail’s Erinn Andersenn. To hear the Bigelow’s tell the story of Jesse’s decline into the abyss of schizophrenia and eventual return, click here.
“On a September evening almost nine years ago, Susan and Jay Bigelow called 911, then sat down to dinner in their Toronto home, waiting for the police to come and take away the stranger at the dining-room table who was once their son.
For 19 years, they had raised a cheerful, outgoing boy named Jesse Bigelow, who had lots of friends, was chased by girls and sang in a rock band called, in an odd foreshadowing, Mental Distortion. Jay had coached his hockey teams and travelled with him to soccer tournaments. Jesse wasn’t the perfect kid: He threw more tantrums than his older sister, Melissa, had. His marks were mediocre. And his parents knew that he smoked pot with his friends. But he was a typical, loud, athletic boy and, even as a teenager, he welcomed a hug from his mom.
Then, slowly, helplessly, they watched Jesse Bigelow vanish, as surely as if he had been kidnapped. They didn’t recognize the shaggy, bearded intruder who now lay like a zombie in the bedroom upstairs and ranted at them about God.