The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Big Bad Wolf

The big bad wolf’s name is Schizophrenia. I know this because he tried to gobble up my older brother when he was just 14 young years old. Not in one gulp, but in an erratic pattern of gnawing and howling, followed by moments of satiation we could describe as calm (or at least calmer).

That wolf wreaked havoc on our family. When he was around he was just plain scary. And annoying. Being a kid I wanted to blame my brother for becoming a wolf, though he hadn’t and I knew that, too. Sometimes it was hard to tell by his actions whether it was the wolf’s fault or my brother’s or a combination of the two. How could he not take on wolf characteristics with that darn creature trying to invade him?

In 5th grade I made the mistake of confiding in a best friend about the big bad wolf. I felt incredible relief and trust. The next day on the playground while waiting in line for four square another girl called out, “Your brother is RETARDED.” Real loud. I was tempted to correct her and tell her to blame the blasted wolf but what did she know?

After all, how do you describe a big bad wolf trying to gobble up your brother in quiet suburbia? Who would understand? And who could understand? I closed off and told no one about the wolf invading our home. I was also afraid that my peer group would see me as part of some wolf pack rather than as a member of an actual real-life smiling, loving, healthy family.

Just like in the Three Little Pigs story that wolf has tried to “blow our house in.” But somehow, he’s never managed to crumble my parents’ marriage or dismantle our family tree. Thanks to modern medicine and the blessing that it is, medications have taken most of his huffing and puffing away. He’s just a weak wolf now, though he’s still there.

My brother has had that wolf at him for over 30 long years now. I wish it would just finally, finally go away.

By Maija Threlkeld

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Wow! Powerful and beautifully written. Thank you for your honesty.

Thank you for putting words to what is almost impossible to describe. I'm off to visit my schizophrenic aunt next weekend at the lock down where she "lives". Now that my mother has passed away I am the one to visit every few months. How heroic her efforts seem -- to keep the wolf at bay. How difficult to find the words to describe what we see and feel. She writes the most amazing letters full of keen and fragile perceptions of the world around her and dread.

Your post helps me see a little clearer what she sees and feels. How else to describe this struggle within. Thank you.
Great writing.

I loved this piece, thanks for it. My brother wrestles with the same big beast. Its nice to hear from others in a club no one wants to be in.

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