Silent Voices

A true story of one family's tragedy and journey toward acceptance, grace and forgiveness

Non-Fiction - Memoir
240 Pages
Reviewed on 04/28/2016
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Author Biography

Debbie was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado. Growing up in a family of eight children, Debbie was the youngest and developed a true understanding of family dynamics.

She always knew in her heart that her life path would lead her down a road to write a book about dealing with family tragedy. Her desire to make a difference, learn from experiences, and help other people is what motivated her to write the book Silent Voices.

Debbie recently started a charity fund to help raise money for mental illness facilities and programs. Eventually, she would like to own and operate her own non-profit charity for mental illness.

Debbie received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and continued her education with Business Development and Project Management certificates. She has been working in the corporate world for 28 years.

Debbie still lives in the Denver area with her husband and enjoys all the Colorado outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, jeeping, skiing and snowshoeing. Her desire and love for the outdoors is what brings her peace and harmony.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Silent Voices by Debbie Nau Redmond takes readers into the world of mental illness. Debbie is a teenager, full of life and hope of what high school will bring. She is the youngest child of a very large family. The Nau family is devoted, caring, your average middle class family. Surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the Colorado Mountains, one would think their life was perfection. However, an unseen disastrous world awaits them. After Debbie’s brother, Ricky, is dishonorably discharged from the Navy, he returns acting very strangely. Ricky’s coming home changes all of their lives forever. Debbie shares the tragedy, the fear, the stigma, the guilt, and the continual uncertainty of living with a brother diagnosed with schizophrenia. This disease not only manipulates the minds of its victims, it leaves a trail of collateral damage in its wake.

Debbie Nau Redmond openly shares her memories in her memoir Silent Voices. This narrative brings awareness to the world of mental illness. It gives a firsthand account of how schizophrenia attacks its victims and the disruption it causes within the family dynamic. My father was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in the early 1970s. It was very easy for me to relate and empathize with Redmond’s story. She shares pivotal moments in time, as if they were yesterday. But, she also mentions that some memories are blurred due to the trauma. Redmond educates the reader about mental illness. She is bold and candid as she reveals the emotional upheaval of her family. When living with a schizophrenic, everyone suffers. This is an amazing story of family devotion. Silent Voices is an account of tragedy, forgiveness, and restoration. Debbie Nau Redmond honors her family by sharing their story.

Alice DiNizo

Author Debbie Nau Redmond's family seemed to be a typical middle class family with her mother, father, six brothers and a sister living in Littleton, Colorado, enjoying camping, hiking and just being together. Her brother Ricky seemed to have a golden touch as he did everything easily. Then, in his last years of high school, a friend encouraged him to try drugs and Ricky seemed to change, losing weight, just sitting around the house. He graduated from high school, joined the Navy, and then began writing strange letters home to his parents about demons chasing him. The Nau family realized when Ricky came home that he was mentally ill and reached out to the Veterans Hospital and local hospitals for help. Ricky wouldn't take the medication the doctors prescribed and his violence against his mother, father, and family members began to escalate. His mother and father tried and tried again to obtain help for Ricky but even their attempts to hospitalize him did not succeed. Then, on September 29, 1983, a terrible tragedy occurs for this already overburdened family.

"Silent Voices" is a well-written testimonial to the horrors, the grief and the bravery of a family attempting to live with the overwhelming mental illness of one of their members. Yes, Debbie Nau Redmond writes well of her brother Ricky's descent into schizophrenia and how her family attempted to cope with it. The Nau family acted always with love and compassion, trying time and time again to gain help for a family member out of control and the author admits that back in the 1980's the knowledge of this brain disease and how to control it did not exist as it does today. Author Redmond does an excellent job of citing agencies, websites, and organizations that work to help the Schizophrenic and their family. Her poems and pictures of her family in their happier days are poignant. "Silent Voices" is an important, well-organized book about Schizophrenia and its devastating effects on the lives of those around the afflicted.

Joy Hannabass

Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Debbie Redmond was the youngest of eight children. Their family loved each other deeply. Their parents always found the time to spend with their children, whether it be camping, or some individual interest of one child. That deep love held this family together when everything fell apart. The family knew something wasn’t right by the letters Ricky was sending home while serving in the military. But when he was sent home by an honorable discharge, they realized something was terribly wrong, and he kept getting worse. Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Ricky spent some time in the Veteran’s Hospital. The family worked with local agencies and behavioral health organizations and psychiatrists that helped for a while, but then they dismissed him. It was when a terrible tragedy occurred that this story was brought to the limelight, and people learned how the system had failed this family. But they all stuck together, they recognized Ricky’s illness and never stopped loving him. And they were able to live through their tragedy and all of the difficulties brought on by their mentally ill brother.

Reading “Silent Voices” and how this family of ten lived with mental illness was amazing. And the love they had for Ricky is heartwarming. This was definitely a family full of love and acceptance of each other. I really enjoyed reading about their life growing up. It is neat that some of the things they made on their camping trips, like rock trails, are still there today. What an amazing lifestyle to grow up in, and what amazing parents that taught their children the characteristics of life that they taught them. As you can tell, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I loved learning about the places in Colorado we otherwise would never hear of. I have found out that Debbie is writing another book, and I am looking forward to learning more about this family. You can't go wrong reading a copy of this wonderful book!

Rita Vetsch

"Silent Voices" is an emotionally charged and engaging novel written by Debbie Nau Redmond. This is a personal story inspired by true events and real people in Redmond’s life. Debbie was born into a tight knit: an all-American family from Colorado. She was the youngest and had six brothers and one sister, who loved camping and the great outdoors. Her brother Ricky was dealing with some apparent severe mental illness that was not correctly diagnosed or treated by physicians and left to spiral out of control. He had terrible and violent hallucinations, outbursts and a deep rage burning inside of him just waiting to get out. The family felt helpless and the struggle began to try to help one sibling and protect the others.

Redmond does an amazing job of relaying this emotionally raw and heart-wrenching true story. Each chapter is detailed and to the point with added photos and news articles that connect the reader to the Nau Family. The language is easy to comprehend and the plot is solid. The cover of the book is captivating and really eats at one’s heart. You just have to pick it up to see why the seemingly happy family’s photo is shattered and bloodied. Schizophrenia is a real mental illness and happens within numerous families each year. Redmond portrays an entire family suffering from pain and anguish and trying to cope with an unbearable illness. The family must struggle and find their inner faith to deal with devastation and loss, while trying to remain a family unit. You will not see the ending coming. I cried and felt so much compassion for the Nau Family. A single event can really change a family forever. Well done, Debbie Nau Redmond! By writing this story so beautifully, you have truly done your family proud and have inspired us readers simultaneously. Outstanding!