Remembering Brian Hughes – Innocence, Prison, Mental Illness, AIDS and Family

Remembering Brian Hughes – Innocence, Prison, Mental Illness, AIDS and Family


Remembering Brian Joseph Hughes>>Patrick: Full service please>>Brian: I didnÕt do it>>Patrick: WhereÕs the full service? (laughing) LetÕs first start with the two of you, how
did you meet? and when did you meet?>>Pat Hughes: (dad) We met the first day
of 8th grade, when my family moved into Evanston, and I started a new school, and we were in
8th grade together. ThatÕs when we met.>>Patrick: and thatÕs when the two of you
met? Did you know were going to get married right away?>>Dad: no, no>>Mom: (Brigid) I did. (laughing)>>Dad: we got married when I was in the Navy,
I got out of the Navy, went to go to work in an accounting firm, did that for four years,
and I left there and went to work for AON insurance for 25 years, and retired from there
and did non-profit work since then.>>Patrick: and how about you?>>Mom: I taught school, after finishing two
years of college. I taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade at Saint MarthaÕs and three years later
we got married and then we started a family and had 8 children. Eileen, Sheila, Patrick,
Brian, Molly, Danny, Nora and Jack. Brian was our 4th child, who we are talking about
today.>>Patrick: you thought about having more
kids than just your eight, right?>>Mom: We did, we wanted more kids, I donÕt
know why, maybe because we werenÕt real bright.>>Patrick: Again, you should have stopped
at three but itÕs not like you were on a farm though…>>dad: no, no>>Mom: No, but we could have used cows>>Dad: ItÕs like we were on a city (laughter)>>Patrick: So, with 8 kids, you never know
what you are going to get?>>Mom: well, with one child you never know
what you are going to get and with 8 you have more chances of getting a variety for sure>>Patrick: and you got your variety?>>Mom: we sure did… we got our variety…
Brian was born with Spina Bifida, which meant that he had a hole in the base of his spine.
And we were very concerned because a child with Spina Bifida doesnÕt develop normally,
physically, but they operated on him when he was three years old and closed up the hole
and he was in essence physically fine. but he was in our minds, never right.>>Dad: he was more sensitive to heat, and
cold, and he was more sensitive when he got hurt and he always struggled to be a regular
part of our family, it was always a struggle for him.>>Mom: As a preschool child, I went to a
child psychologist to try and figure out how to deal with him, because he cried incessantly,
they tried to give me tools for dealing with him, but we tried and tried and tried, and
it didnÕt seem to change it>>Patrick: But Brian appeared normal… whatever
normal is>>Mom: Brian looked great>>Patrick: an invisible disability…>>Mom: Right, when he was 16, a doctor tested
him and told me in a quote, if Brian were in a wheelchair, people would understand how
disabled he is>>Dad: Mom went to get some advice, we would
talk to doctors, we tried to get help, nobody identified anything about Brian, specifically
that could have been helpful. His challenges became more complex as he got older>>Mom: He was 21 when he was in a facility
in California and they diagnosed him as bi polar schizophrenic, the schizophrenia became
the controlling factor I think, the hallucinations,>>Dad: the highs and the lows of being bi
polar – he loved the highs and he was willing to put up with the lows, he didnÕt want to
take medication that would stop the cycle that he was going through>>Patrick: So Brian acted out as part of
this, is that right?>>Mom: He started drinking and using drugs>>Dad: he was in the Texas prison system…
and every time he did something, they just made the consequences more challenging and
he ended up with a 15 year sentence – he tried to escape the county twice, he beat up a guard
when he tried to escape, he got out of the county jail for an hour and it cost him 15
years of his life. BrianÕs brain didnÕt learn, he didnÕt learn from experience, he
could do the same thing over and over again, and hurt himself, and get in trouble, and
I was always wondering, why isnÕt he learning from something, so if he got an urge to go
and do something, he would do it even if he had done it before and gotten in lots of trouble
like getting put in prison… what we realized his first year in prison what that he was
infected with HIV, we didnÕt know that, he was just starting to deal with it, the knowledge/fact
of it. As he spent 8 years in prison, they took care of him and he had an episode where
he almost died while he was in prison, from pneumonia… We all went down to see him,
mom and I stayed for a month while he recovered and we didnÕt know if he was going to live
or die and he was 24 or 25 years old.>>Mom: The whole thing was heartbreaking,
absolutely heartbreaking, because as much as he wasnÕt innocent, he was innocent. He
was an innocent human being, who just didnÕt know how to handle the world. I think when
you say, what made us have 8 children, or what made us decide to do that? I think all
7 of BrianÕs siblings made his life wonderful, because he didnÕt just have 1 or 2 people
to go to, he had a whole variety of people who could on any given day, play with him,
and accept him, and everybody had different things they could do with him, that made his
life really rich I think>>Dad: It was always a challenge to try and
understand him, so that you could react to him or help him and what I found out was I
could love him, but I couldnÕt give him an answer. He told me after he had gotten out
of prison, when he was in the hospital, I wish we had known more when I was growing
up and I wouldnÕt had to go through this and maybe it wouldnÕt have ended up this
way.>>Mom: They knew very little when Brian was
young, believe me, and I hope kids with these issues are getting more help now, I really
do.>>Patrick: Do you think Brian came to peace
with his life?>>Mom: I do. Yes, I really think he enjoyed
every minute he was with all of us>>Dad: The thing I think of as we sit here
and talk about Brian from when he was a baby to when he died, was that there were lots
of good times.>>Brian: Hello everybody.>>Patrick: HeÕs coming home, heÕs coming
home.>>Terry Maday: See you soon, my brother.>>Brian: Alright.

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks for sharing Brian's story with those of us who knew him at some time in our lives, but had lost touch with him. This video has brought back fond memories I have of him from my time at St. A's.

  2. I love the tone, the filming and the free flowing interview. Very loving family. America needs better treatment alternatives for mentally ill persons. Locking them up is not the answer. It's an overburden to prison system and it destroys lives. Thank you for sharing your son's life with us. God bless.

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