Son wor­ried about his dad

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

WORRY is a fa­mil­iar feel­ing for the son of miss­ing Kalpowar man Christo­pher Pren­tice.

Michael Pren­tice is not only strug­gling to make sense of his dad’s dis­ap­pear­ance more than a fort­night ago, but for years he has watched his fa­ther bat­tle schizophre­nia.

“My mind has been rac­ing. I can’t sleep. I just lie there think­ing about where he is,” Michael said.

“But (just be­fore he dis­ap­peared) he was start­ing to stay up at night. That’s an in­di­ca­tion he’s go­ing to have another break­down. He was get­ting re­li­gious delu­sions. I’ve been told to stay away when he’s like that.”

Michael said his fa­ther’s last break­down was six months ago. He was sent to a psy­chi­atric fa­cil­ity.

“But the thing about my dad is when he’s okay he’s a very nice man. You wouldn’t know he’s got a prob­lem,” Michael said.

“He’s got a sense of hu­mour. When he’s in hos­pi­tal, he cheers ev­ery­one up. He wrote a song called It’s oh so Nice in the Nut­house and sang it to ev­ery­one.”

Michael de­scribes his dad as an artis­tic and kind man, who once won the Dol­phin Award at the By­ron Bay Blues Fes­ti­val.

He paints beau­ti­ful pic­tures of nat­u­ral land­scapes, plays gui­tar and watches the footy with his son over a cou­ple of beers.

Michael has trav­elled all over the coun­try with his dad, liv­ing an un­con­ven­tional sort of life.

“Dad once built two houses, and lugged all the tim­ber on his back from the dump. But he had to leave them be­cause they weren’t coun­cil ap­proved. He was a bit like that, a bit of a hip­pie,” Michael said.

“He built a whole dam just with a shovel.”

But when schizophre­nia reared its head, Michael said he would find it hard to con­nect with his dad.

“I can’t con­nect all the time. It’s stress­ful and wor­ry­ing,” he said.

“It is hard to deal with when he has break­downs.”

Even though it has been more than two weeks since Michael last saw his dad, he is still hope­ful he will re­turn home.

“First I would give him a big hug. Then I would call triple zero and then I would get re­ally angry at him,” he said.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

ARTIS­TIC MAN: Michael Pren­tice said it was never easy liv­ing with his dad's men­tal ill­ness. But his dad Christo­pher was also artis­tic and kind, and he do­nated paint­ings he made like this one to host­pi­tals.

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