We homeschooled our kids, and to do that well we figured we needed community. So we joined our local homeschooling group where we met lots of other families. And we did a lot of sports together–skating on Fridays, track and field in May and June, soccer and baseball in the fall and spring.
For soccer, one of the dads in the group coached our kids, and they really enjoyed him. We got to know the family quite well, and our kids were friends with their kids.
We got close to the kids especially as the family started attending our church, and my daughter Katie was really good friends with their son and their oldest daughter, too.
I learned a little about the struggles that my friend Ineke and her husband were experiencing, but I never understood the full extent of it.
And today I’d invite you to listen to Ineke’s story:
I was speaking in Texas when I got the phone call that Rugge had taken his life.
We made it back for the funeral. It was a huge turnout to support Ineke and her four kids. The service was so sad, but also so full of love.
So many people had wanted to help Rugge, but ultimately the mental illness got the better of him. But it didn’t win–Rugge had a strong belief in God, and I believe that ultimately Jesus will be victorious over this whole situation and family.
It is still a sad road that the family walks. And I think what Ineke wants other women to know is that there is help–and please, get it before things get really bad.
I don’t have a lot of advice today. My heart is still heavy for my friend, and for Katie’s friends. But the children are all beautiful, and are all doing well. And Jesus still has Ineke. And for that, we are all grateful.
If you live in Ontario, there is a conference coming up on April 9 in Cobourg to help families and churches deal with mental illness. But I’d love to have more links to give people, so if, in your area, there are groups that help support spouses with mental illness, or conferences, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to keep a running list!