Coye Law July 2018

July 2018

Coye Law Chronicle


Our Office, Our Families, Our Clients ... We Work to Make a Difference in People’s Lives

Never Quit, Never Surrender


Mental illness touches all of our lives. It’s not always easy to talk about, but it’s important to address it openly and honestly. For too long, our society refused to publicly acknowledge mental health in any sort of nuanced way. It was spoken about only behind closed doors or ignored entirely. Thankfully, that’s changing, and we have better support systems than ever before. With that in mind, I want to tell you a little bit about my brother, Brad. He recently passed away and suffered from schizophrenia for his entire adult life. To be honest, I struggled for a long time deciding if I wanted to share Brad’s story in the newsletter. After much thought, I came to the conclusion that many of you reading this piece may have had a similar experience with a friend or family member, and it would be worthwhile to do my absolute best to pay tribute to Brad. Brad was younger than me by three years, and we spent much of our childhood side by side along with my youngest brother, Dave. Whether it was working for my dad, doing our weekly paper route, or trapping furs, we did everything together. Brad was a driven, disciplined kid, a great student with a love for basketball. In every way, he lived the life of a normal young man with a promising future. But that all changed during his freshman year in college. For reasons that will never be totally clear, Brad experienced a psychotic break. It was like his entire personality changed in an instant. I remember when he came to visit me and I realized just how

seriously ill he had become. It was shocking, sad, and overwhelming. One day, Brad was your average college student; the next, he thought God was speaking to him through the TV. As you can probably imagine, my parents were very worried and knew they needed to seek help for their son. It didn’t take long for doctors to diagnose Brad with schizophrenia. He was prescribed a spate of serious antipsychotic medications with unbelievable side effects, which allowed him to function. That said, normalcy would never return. Between the effects of his condition and the side effects of his medication, part of Brad was lost forever. You’d still see glimpses of his former self, but the course of his life changed drastically. Nevertheless, Brad went about living the best life he could. After he graduated college, he was adamant that he wasn’t “living with Mommy and Daddy.” Through his immense self-discipline, which never went away, he graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He was able to live independently and hold down a job for 30 years. It would be dishonest to say that Brad’s life was ideal — it was mostly a solitary experience, without friends or much social contact — but there was a small dose of joy to go along with all the struggle. My parents were always there to support my brother. On multiple occasions, Brad had to be hospitalized against his will, which must have been awful for my parents. Brad didn’t always know what he was going through — such is the nature of

schizophrenia — but Mom and Dad always did. No matter how stressful and difficult their lives became, they always put Brad’s best interests first. It’s a testament to who they are as people that they never considered for a moment that they wouldn’t be there for him. I hope that Brad has found the peace that eluded him during his time on earth. It seems so far away and long ago that we first lost him to the ravages of his illness, but losing him again brought back the vivid memories of who he was and what parts of him remained. I’ve had other clients and friends with similar circumstances share remarkably similar stories of the promises lost to mental illness. I loved Brad deeply and learned so much from him. Nobody’s life is perfect, and some of us have it harder than others. Brad never surrendered to the challenges of his illness — he never asked for a thing from anyone and refused everyone’s help when in need. That being said, we’re all capable of putting forth the effort to make the most of our circumstances. Brad certainly did, and that’s what I’ll always remember most about him.

–Wade Coye


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