Recent tragedies hammered home, to me, the impact of time. We had a family tragedy within a week of famed linebacker Junior Seau deciding to end his life. Time factored into both deaths. Based on reports, we assume their time was spent in apparent inescapable pain; internal demons and signals harassed their brains with continuous unwanted pain inducing triggers. We assume they felt there was no escape; no apparent way to change the ebbing tide of locked despondency.
Based on articles, Junior projected an image of strength and optimism. According to reports, men in his culture are expected to be strong and supportive. His role as an NFL linebacker was to be the cog in a fearless front of defense. Based on his physical gifts, he was able to project this image in his play for almost 5 times longer than the average NFL player's career. And, Junior was considered one of the best in this role. He was rewarded for not being vulnerable, or human.
This sense of despair can happen, and does happen, to many. Is there help? Can the right word or action influence a suffering soul to muster the strength to move on, to escape a momentary decision that's final. It's consoling for surviving friends and loved ones to think they might have this impact. We are supposed to be there for those we love in their greatest time of need. When we are not there, we like to say: "If only they'd said something, or asked. I would have done everything possible to help."
Will time heal all pains? Sometimes, the struggles don't dissipate. Life continues to throw wrenches and difficulty despite the greatest plans and intentions and efforts. Is there a solution? The popular response is there is a solution to every problem. But, what if the problem won't go away? How does one know when to intervene without being intrusive?
It's so difficult. What do you say to their closest relatives? The impulse is to seek a solution, or the ideal comment, but it's not this easy.
Acknowledging illness can be a start. Realizing the person was out of a normal state of mind and suffering mental illness puts the act in objective perspective. It allows us to blame the disease and distances the person and his or her life from the act.
It's also important to realize these moments offer time to renew and refocus; to learn how we can help others avoid similar pain and suffering.
Most important, it's time to realize it's ok to ask for help and support. I need your help.