She died this week. My aunt. A beautiful soul. I colorful spirit. Who even blind, saw life for was it was. Precious. Fleeting. She died and I want to blame you. You, the one that calls cancer patients fighters, and people with mental illness crazy. I want to blame you. The ones that wanted to just put her in a padded room and be done with her. I want to blame you. The one that judges me for not being ashamed to say my aunt, this beautiful soul. She was schizophrenic. I want to hate you, the ones that had the nerve to say she was suffering when the only thing she suffered from was harsh judgement and ridicule. When the word was uttered as a slur, a curse, a secret. Schizophrenia. It’s real. She was never crazy. She was beautiful. She was in pain. She was misunderstood. All the while it was my fault for not speaking up for her until it was too late. Your solution? Drugs. Let’s make her a zombie. Your solution? Shock her brain. Maybe if it’s damaged enough, she won’t hear the voices anymore. The voices that if she was taught to understand, to process, to ignore, she would’ve have needed to be locked up in a home. How horrible must the drugs and treatment have been if when cancer took over her body, she’d rather the pain and to die than treatment? Rest sweetly my beautiful angel. I’m sorry I was so naive. I’m sorry I fell victim to the stigma. I’m sorry I didn’t embrace your beautiful mind, instead I remained quiet. I promise not to blame them, as you never blamed them. I promise to learn. To educate. To understand. To embrace. To love. And to remind anyone and everyone with mental illness that they are fighters. They’ve never been crazy. They will never be crazy.