Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can you spare a little help?

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.

4 comments:

mark s. said...

Matt,

Don't know what your personal loss is, so, can't comment on that. As For Jr.,...well the press has written what they will on that.

As for the issue, well, we all need to be concerned about our loved ones, and despite the fact that we might not be qualified to deal with their issues, we are qualified to know of those subtle "calls for help". When a person is in despair, they watch what "we" do, and if "we" don't hear their calls for help, then they tend to think that no one cares. It is a tough process. I can tell you from experience that all of us need some sort of constant "check in" from our friends to make sure we are doing OK. When you feel that "weird" attitude, you know you need to do something more. Despair casts this dark cloud over a persons's perspective, we have the opportunity to bring light to that cloud. In either case, we are all responsible for each other, and we need to listen to the the words they speak, and know when to intervene. I can't say it works all of the time,...but there is no room for "if only's". There is only room for "I said and did everything I know how." The rest is up to a higher power.

After all, one can only do the best that they know how to.

regards,

mark s.

Nomi said...

I think the way we need each other is both powerful and fragile. Mysterious.

In some 12 Step meetings, I have heard people say, GOD = Gift Of Desperation.

It didn't make any sense at first, but once I found that moment & the Gift, then I felt myself opening up for help (it is so much easier to be the Giver, sometimes)....

My heart is with Junior's family & many more...

Bob Irving said...

Matt, What do you need? Call me or email me. If you want me to stop up I'll be there as fast as the troopers allow.
Irvs

russell said...

Matt:
As cousins we grew up being very close emotionally, spiritually though we could not have been more different physically. The untimely loss of your Mom (my beloved Aunt) left a mark on us which has served as a common point of reference & rally. With the untimely passing on my wife, we now share yet another point. I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences in God's Plan, and so look forward to the time when we will be able to look back with wry smiles as we see the inspired chart that is layed-out from these many points of reference which we share through this mortal sojourn. Russell