an update on Millie
After they’ve seen Out of the Shadow, people often ask me: “How is your mother doing now?” Does she still live in the same place? Does she still have her job?
I am very happy to report that my mom is doing quite well. She has her good days and frankly, her lousy days. But all in all she’s doing really well. She’s living in a small assisted living facility for the elderly, though she’s hardly elderly herself, at 70 years old. They call her the youngster! She enjoys it and is thrilled to not be living in various rehab situations or transitional housing. She’s felt severe stigma for most of her life. Understandably, she’s always had trouble being labeled “mentally ill.” I think it’s very hard for her to reflect on the past, having lived through so many crises, surrounded by people is various states of psychosis, either in hospitals or ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) settings.
More than anything, my mother wants her privacy, and in this regard the film has been difficult for her. While I was filming, we really enjoyed the time we spent together. But after the film came out she was very modest about the attention, and unsettled by her exposure. Actually, we all had a hard time adjusting to that. I’ve told my mom countless times that she’s a heroine, an inspiration and role model for many people. I pass on emails she receives. But she’s so humble that she doesn’t believe me and this saddens me. I wish she could see what an incredible woman she is, strong and resilient. I wish she could feel the admiration that I see people express toward her.
But Mom is focusing on family now. She’s got 2 additional grandchildren to dote on – making a total of 5 grandkids.