Author Eron: What goes up must come down

by dentonramsey

Author Eron: What goes up must come down

By Denton Ramsey / Staff Writer


Judy Eron grew up in New Jersey and traveled all over the country before landing at Terlingua Ranch in 1993.

Eron attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a degree in occupational therapy before moving to Wyoming to work in the state hospital.

“After that, I moved to Nashville for graduate school at the University of Tennessee and graduated from there in 1976,” Eron said. “Then I stayed in Nashville until Jim and I moved to Terlingua Ranch in Texas in 1993. I had a practice as a clinical social worker in Nashville and once I met Jim, we worked together some with families dealing with HIV and AIDS-in the late ’80s and early ’90’s, from 1987-1993. Simultaneously, I have been a singer/songwriter and also wrote musical theater. So the whole time I was in Nashville, I was performing and also writing musical theater with a composer.”

Eron first became interested in song writing when she was in college, but said, “I have always been a writer of sorts.”

Eron’s mother, who worked as a social worker and was always a very happy person, was the greatest influence in Judy’s life.

“She died fairly young at 66,” Eron said. “She liked to sing and played guitar. She worked with older adults, and although I was a therapist dealing with younger people, now I am working with the hospice here in Alpine. So I’m kind of doing the same thing she used to do.”

So what’s the best advice Judy Eron has ever been given?

“I’d say, Jim, with his advice on how he approached things,” Eron said. “When there were decisions to make, he would ask, ‘Which way would you rather err?’ It’s fitting and when it comes to approaching things, I think about that.”

Nowadays, Eron is spending a lot of time traveling and promoting her new book, What Goes Up.

“There has been a real lack of information out there for dealing with someone who is manic,” Eron said. “I am traveling quite a bit, but I am still a social worker for a local hospice and I am still doing work with them and the nursing home in Alpine. The rural hospice-I do a lot of my work by phone and continue doing that up here from Washington State. And in doing music, my talks and speeches always have songs.”

When it comes to the future for Eron, she sees herself continuing to live at Terlingua Ranch while pursuing avenues such as song writing and playing guitar.

“Right now, I am real committed to spending a year promoting this book and going to wherever that leads me, and to see how the book does and if I enjoy a lot of travel,” Eron said. “I see myself continuing to live forever at Terlingua Ranch in a pretty remote location. Then in the summers-Jim and I planned this-I live across the street from the ocean in Washington State and stay in a travel trailer. Up there, one of the wonderful things besides being close to the ocean is there are two other women I play music with and so we have a trio. We normally play classical music.”

In Eron’s new book, What Goes Up, she dives into the issue of loving someone who is going through a manic episode. Journaling and patience helped to get the book published.

“I had kept journals when Jim was sick because I have always kept journals, and it was so devastating that I needed to keep a handle on myself,” Eron said. “And a few years after he died, I started putting it together as a book and I sent out proposals. Then I did a major revision and sent out letters to publishing companies and came across Barricade Books.

“I sent a query letter and the woman who received the manuscript had a friend who was going through a manic episode. So I got the deal and they have been incredibly easy to work with. The publisher, Jen, has been incredibly supportive. I knew who to contact in the mental health community, but she has been wonderful. That was just a year ago. And the book is now out and getting some attention.”

In writing the book, Eron had to go back and visit the demons of the past-remembering and re-living past moments and memories-some good and some not so good.

“It’s still tough. You know, it’s sad and beyond sad when I look at the choices I made back then,” Eron said. “One of the reasons I wrote this book is so that the next person that goes through this can have a perspective. Some of the choices I made are horrifying to me, and I have to get out of a self-blaming position. Jim was a wonderful person and none of us could save him, and looking back at that over and over is hard. But talking to people and seeing their responses is really great. The devastation that I experienced is now getting transformed to these people.”

Living “down south” in Brewster County means living around people who are very open-minded, and just because someone is different doesn’t mean they won’t be accepted, said Eron.

“One thing I would say is that where we live down south, different people are tolerated so much … wonderfully weird people,” Eron said. “You can be so different. And that’s one thing that is nice about where we live. However, Jim’s manic episode lasted so long and he didn’t get into trouble because of that very thing. And so it’s an unfortunate thing. If we had still been living in Nashville, he would have ended up arrested and not been able to carry on with his work. But down where we live, it’s a little of the good and the bad.”

But as Eron tours the country promoting her new book, she’s seeing a lot more good than she is the bad.

And if Eron can change, help, or assist just one person dealing with a loved one who has a manic episode, all of her hard work and dedication are well worth it.

For what goes up must come down.


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