The story behind my book was my need to share my experiences dealing with emotions and weaknesses that are wide spread such as mental illness, cancer and alcohol abuse.
My book has given me the thumbs up to reveal to the world that my son has schizophrenia without beating around the bush when asked: ‘What does your son do for a living?’ Like a race horse bursting through the starting gate I now feel free to pronounce the word schizophrenia without hesitation. I almost have to refrain a smile while waiting a reaction which usually is hidden shock, followed by admiration for my honesty and then curiosity.
Being their only source of information, they live with the impression that all schizophrenics might rip there throat at the drop of a hat. I hope that my story can assure my reader that most sufferers are very talented and sensitive human beings. The only problem of course is that due to the ‘stigma’ we rarely hear about them as they are forced into a dark corner, silenced and alone.
I also wanted to describe the impact of mental illness on the family, which I would say usually affects the mother. Being an ongoing condition, the mother has to come to terms to live on a daily basis with the heart wrenching, mind debilitating illness that never lets go. It does not take long to realize that nothing really changes in our child except the torment, the voices, the hallucinations and his escape to a fantasy world which can sometimes be very cruel. I had the need to admit to my own alcohol issues which were crippling especially as I had to aid my son through his difficult journey. Once we began to see the light, he marries his on and off love of ten years Naomi. A year into their marriage Naomi gives birth to their daughter Katerina, but a week after giving birth, Naomi is diagnosed with terminal cancer. My son put his own needs and well being to the side and showed remarkable courage and tenderness during the year he was nursing his wife. Needless to say, I have long since given up my dependency on alcohol in order to raise my granddaughter who today is a feisty, beautiful and intelligent thirteen-year-old. As I can do nothing to contribute towards a cure, I can at least campaign against its reputation, that is why I have written my book and donated my proceeds to the U.K. based charity SANE.
Stella Metaxa Mazzucchelli was born in Athens, Greece and married, aged eighteen, Riccardo Mazzucchelli, the famous Italian businessman. During their twenty-two year marriage, they lived in Zambia and London, where she became a well-known figure on the social scene, and had a brief and successful modeling career at the unusual age of 28. Fedele is their only child. After their divorce, Riccardo married Ivana Trump in 1995, though the marriage was short lived. Stella now lives in Athens where she brings up her granddaughter Katerina. As well as being involved in the property and renovation business, which ensures she maintains connections with London, she is also a tireless campaigner for the better understanding of schizophrenia and mental illness. Silk Flowers Never Die is her first book.