by Beryl Gorbman
BG is working on a new book. It’s non-fiction! Mothers of Madness is a series of interviews with women who have children who are severely mentally ill and who have committed violent crimes. Most of the incidents have made the news. And most are in the State of Washington.
The interviews do not focus on the crimes, but on what the mothers continue to go through. How did they learn about what happened and what was their first reaction? How do they feel about their children? How do they feel about the victims? How do they deal with this on a daily basis? Have they been rejected by friends and family? Do they think the mental health system could/should have intervened before the tragedies?
The interviews are difficult for both the interviewer (me) and the subjects because it is a topic that doesn’t come up very often. No one wants to talk about it. Their feelings are raw because they haven’t voiced them for a long time, for some – never before. For most of these moms, including me, friends and family rarely bring this up, yet for us it is a daily struggle to cope with feelings of isolation and guilt.
Some of the women have contact with their sons, (yes, all of them are males so far) most of whom are incarcerated or in mental health facilities, such as they are. Some of the moms have lost their sons, either to the electric chair, suicide, or fatal confrontations with police.
The women I am talking to all make extraordinary efforts to be brave and honest in these interviews. They know how important it is for other such women who may read these words and who are isolated in their own nightmares.
Since I started with this project, a number of the women have met and made their own connections, a healing thing for all of them.
I owe the inspiration for this book to my friend Leah, who had two separate, explicit dreams about the project, dreams that included the name, Mothers of Madness, and predictions that it would be widely read. She told me I had to do this and she was right.
I am pleased to say I have an offer for representation by an agent.