An emotional state senator who was slashed in the face by his son who then committed suicide was given a standing ovation today as he returned to work two months after the tragedy.
Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds made an emotional return to the state’s General Assembly on Wednesday – his first public appearance since his mentally ill son slashed his face with a knife and then tragically took his own life.
Visibly bearing the scars from the frenzied November 19 attack, a tired but appreciative Deeds, 56, accepted a standing ovation from his peers as Governor Bob McDonnell welcomed him back, telling him on behalf of the chamber, ‘We love you’.
His colleagues expressed their relief that the wounds he now bares after his 24-year-old son Gus stabbed him multiple times at their home had not disfigured him completely – although the Senator himself said after the attack by his ‘precious son’ that, ‘Some wounds won’t heal.’
Deeds was struck by his schizophrenic son the day after he tried to get him emergency health care from a state-run agency and he has returned to work seven weeks after his son’s death – dedicated to improving the mental health system.
Deeds has only breifly spoken publicly since he was released from hospital and only his closest friends in politics had seen him.
His office has declined to offer any notice on his plans and his only public utterances since his heartbreaking November 22 tweet has been to tell the Roanoke Times that ‘I survived’ in a brief interview.
However, what is now clear is that Deeds is to dedicate his public life to reforming a state mental health care system he has called ‘irresponsible’ and which he blames for allowing his sick son to be able to come home, attack his father and then take his own life.