UNSHACKLED! Aaron Philip Hegele

Updated: Sep 4

Who is unshackled? My son, Aaron. My son was mentally ill. He joined the Navy right out of high school and served on the USS GUAM. Shortly after an honorable discharge, signs and symptoms began showing of his mental illness. Eventually he was diagnosed:

Schizophrenia. No one wants to hear that diagnosis given to their loved one. Some just flat-out don't believe it. But it was true.

When he stayed on his medicine, he did well. When he felt better, he thought, I'm better and I don't need this medicine. Then he would stop taking his meds and a phone call soon follow. He was in trouble again. It happened over and over through the years. With his illness, only so much time would go by when he would begin to think that the people he was with were out to harm him. My humble opinion is that FEAR is one of the main components of this disease, if not the main one.

Unfortunately, this disease is progressive. Through the years our communication was spotty. When behind bars, however, it was more predictable. New underwear. Clothes to keep warm. Coffee. A man after my own heart . . coffee, that is. Then he began calling more often. Then calls came once a month. Then no calls came. The couple times I called him, he got upset. I did try texting. No answer. Finally, no call on Thanksgiving, or Christmas. When I text and ask if he received our Christmas card, no answer. But the check was cashed the next day. Did someone else have his phone? Did someone else cash his check?

I waited, thinking, usually he calls on Mothers Day. No call.

A policeman came to our door on June 12.

What I have been thinking, thanks to my sister reminding me of a program we used to listen to on WEEC is UNSHACKLED. (Alan & Vicki Eckstein used to listen to it also.). A different story every week about a person whose life was totally changed when they met Jesus. That is how I'm thinking of Aaron now. When he was a teenager he had all these little scraps of paper in his room with scripture verses on them. I have one . . now yellowed with age but in his own hand-writing. This is what it says: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 10:8)

No more hearing voices.

No more seeing things that are not there.

No more thinking everyone is out to get me.

No more wild ideas, wild thoughts crowding in on top of each other.


He is with Jesus. No more pain. No more crying. No more misery.

Have you heard the song "I can only imagine"?

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