A celebration and an elegy, Scenes with My Son sensitively renders the terrible privilege of grief in the wake of suicide.
After years of battling clinical depression exacerbated by autism, Auggie Hubbard died by suicide at the age of 19. In this poignant tribute to his son, Robert Hubbard—a theatre scholar and actor—stages Auggie’s life in a series of vivid and tender scenes: Auggie’s insatiable hunger for Accelerated Reader points. His tireless lightsaber practice in the local park. His sonorous tuba practice in the ward of his inpatient program. Through these anecdotes of Auggie’s life and the days following his death, readers journey with a family shaken by mental illness and share in their hard-won joys in defiance of depression.
Refusing easy answers and clichés about “God’s plan,” Hubbard unflinchingly asks: Does faith matter amid such tragedy? What do you do when awareness isn’t enough? When you’ve tried so hard to keep your child safe, but your efforts fail? His honesty and vulnerability—and his tender portrait of Auggie—are gifts to all who live with their own questions in the wake of a loved one’s death.
Table of Contents
Act 1: Beautiful Boy
Act 2: The Family Monster
Act 3: The Life After
The Christian Century
“Robert Hubbard, a theater professor and father of three, writes with deep vulnerability about his son Auggie’s gentle beauty and passion for life—as well as the clinical depression that afflicted Auggie for most of his teenage years. The portrait that emerges is of a family learning how to love one another through difficult times—and then through the unthinkable and its aftermath.”
“I cried as I read Scenes with My Son, reliving our own beloved son’s journey with serious mental illness and his death by suicide. It’s almost impossible to find words that explain this complicated journey for any unfamiliar with mental illness, but Robert Hubbard has done it. He captures Auggie in all his maddening, lovable quirkiness, his musical and theatrical passions, as well as his valiant efforts to evade the dark specter of major depression that led to his death. I liked Auggie from the first paragraphs; my affection for him grew stronger as each scene unfolded, leaving me to weep at his death. One day soon, I’ll introduce my beautiful boy to Robert’s beautiful boy. What a day that will be. . .”
—Kay Warren, cofounder Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California
“Every family touched by clinical depression should read and discuss this marvelous book. It captures with style and grace the joys and heartaches of loving one another in the midst of faith, doubt, and fear. It’s a balm for our souls. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Quentin Schultze, author of Communicating with Grace and Virtue
“Suicide is set apart as perhaps the most grievous form of loss there is. . . . It is almost impossible to reflect on such a loss with any degree of dignity, restraint, honesty, and insight. But Robert Hubbard has somehow done just that. Painful, yes. How could it not be? But also riveting, full of grace and goodness, and authentic without being maudlin. If for no other reason, read this memoir for the sake of learning about what it means to be human in a fallen world that is bleeding and groaning. God bless Robert Hubbard for taking the risk to write it.”
—Gerald L. Sittser, author of A Grace Disguised