Last May a distant cousin wasn’t able to cross back over that blurred line between what is real and what is not and became lost in suicide.
Since we shared the almost inexplicable symptoms of bipolar depression, I was able to partially insert myself into his shoes and understand just how hard the daily battle is.
Since I am a husband and father and son, I was able to partially insert myself into his family’s shoes and understand a small portion of just how much pain a tragedy such as this brings.
In response, I tried to speak for this bright and energetic and accomplished man I called Sam. I felt that Sam’s family deserved to understand a bit of what was going through his mind, and that Sam deserved to be seen not as a victim, but as one who had fought valiantly for as long as he could.
So I wrote a letter from Sam to all who may have known him, and were hurting.
That being said, I think it may be a good time to try to help those who feel like they are on opposing sides of some difficult issues. It’s important to understand that the supposed battle lines can in fact be brought into a loop which encircles everyone to be united in helping each other.
Over the next few weeks I’ll attempt to step into the shoes of a teenager who is attracted to the same gender. I’ll switch hats and try to express some of the anguish that parents of these teens are wading through. There are adults facing a life without marriage and the loneliness it brings; they need friends and family to understand it’s harder than they can possibly know.
I’ll endeavor to articulate the feelings behind some of the actions of the mentally ill, and I’ll take a stab at empathizing with the incredibly hard road those who care for them travel. Recognizing that I only have partial comprehension about fatal diagnoses, I’ll still try to help one side see a bit better the other.
There are no guarantees, but I have hope that there may be a few words that bring meaning and clarity and, most importantly, strength.
Strength to see things from the other’s point of view, stand where they are standing.
Strength to then lace up these strange new shoes and take a few steps of our own.
Strength to care more about other’s pain than our own.
Think of them as letters to those who may feel lost.
Maybe they could be used as roadmaps to being found.