Jackson Jr.'s mother: Son 'needs a moment to heal'

July 13, 2012 9:02:38 PM PDT
An emotional Jackie Jackson talked Friday about her son, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Rep. Jackson Jr. has taken a leave of absence from Washington while he is treated for a mood disorder.

"My son is unwell, and he needs a moment to heal," said Jackie Jackson.

Mrs. Jackson shared her thoughts about her son at the annual Rainbow PUSH coalition conference in Chicago.

Mrs. Jackson, who will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her marriage to Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., later this year, did offer a brief theory that her son's mental problems were rooted in his political disappointments, as she called them.

"He thought he was going to be the senator - thought he was going to have a chance to run for mayor," said Jackie Jackson. "And young people don't bounce back with disappointment like me and my husband."

While not giving any new detail about Jackson Jr.'s condition, his mother did give us a better sense of how the family is coping. She had remained in the background during the crisis but spoke out Friday during the annual event that she first hosted over 40 years ago.

As she arrived at the Rainbow PUSH women's luncheon, Mrs. Jackson said she would not have time for an interview about her son. Later, during her remarks, she made it clear that her family was relying on its faith to carry it through the crisis.

"In order to deal with issues you have to dig down deep... when something is wrong with your baby, then something is wrong with you," said Mrs. Jackson. "My son is unwell. I expect him to recover. I want to do everything I can for him that I've done for you."

Mrs. Jackson did not say whether she had talked to or visited her son, whose office reported Wednesday that the congressman was being treated for a "mood disorder" in an unspecified in-patient treatment facility.

"I want to encourage him to hold on - to hold on to God's unchanging hand, not this politics. See, I play politics, I don't live it. I live in the house with God," said Mrs. Jackson.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., who has said very little about his son's condition, listened as his wife talked about their son's struggle with mental illness.


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