Reach Out

My family received some horrific news yesterday. My sweet cousin Gary, a man most of us thought to be the happiest of happy-go-lucky men, took his own life at the age of 49. He accomplished so much in life, both professionally and in the number of lives he touched by sharing his beautiful heart.

Gary was a hero, literally. First as a paramedic, then as a rescue diver, as a member of the Air National Guard, and on through his career as a fireman, where he worked his way to the rank of captain, Gary saved lives. He loved what he did and the people with whom he worked. He loved his family, too–his wife and two daughters, his mother and brothers, and all the rest of us aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews.

And he was loved in return. Hundreds and hundreds of people have posted to his facebook page in the past 24 hours–generous outpourings of love and shock and profound grief.

And, of course, the unspoken/unwritten question: What did we miss?

I don’t know if we’ll ever have the answer. I don’t even know if there IS an answer (personally, I suspect a certain sleep medication that has been proven to cause altered personalities and thought pattern disturbances), but I do know that there are others out there struggling and suffering, people who feel hopeless or helpless or angry or trapped or worthless, and who see only one solution to their misery.

If you’re one of those people, please know two things:
1) As long as you have life, you have hope. Hold onto that with everything you have…
2) And call this phone number: 1-800-273-TALK, which is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There are people who can help you learn to deal with your pain. (You can also call this number if you know someone who may be in crisis.)

No doubt about it, life hurts sometimes. If it’s hurting so much that you’re feeling overwhelmed by it, please reach out for help. Gary’s family and friends are certainly wishing he had done so. He might have found a way to save himself.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline button (1-800-273-8255)

28 thoughts on “Reach Out

  1. Life is so precious. I am reminded to not take the simplest things for granted. I am so sorry for you loss. You and your family are in my thoughts an prayers. <3

  2. I am so sorry, Cammy! My heart goes out to the whole family. There seems to be something of an epidemic of teen suicides where we are. Last one I heard of, okay… he was maybe 20 0r 21, and my son had the same reaction as me that there just seem to be a lot now. Very scary. And sad.

  3. Cammy, words are inadequate to express my sadness to you and the rest of Gary’s family for this sudden, tragic loss. My thoughts are with you.

  4. Cammy, such terrible news. We too have been touched in the past by a very surprising suicide. Asking yourself why is very hard. My thoughts are with you!

  5. Cammy…I am so very sorry for your loss. It is one of those acts that often is not understandable….AND THANK you for posting the number for helping others!

  6. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Cammy.
    Depression can be such an insidious thing. I am normally the sunniest of people, but my adrenal exhaustion caused me to suffer from severe depression and I definitely lost my will to live for a while there…
    As you say, you may never know why he did what he did. My hope is that all his loved ones will find peace and acceptance.

  7. Cammy,

    I am so sorry to read of this tragic loss. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

  8. Cammy I’m so sorry.

    You are right. Sometimes there are no satisfactory answers.

    A shock like this is always difficult. Take care. I know you will want to be strong as you share your love and compassion with the rest of your family.

    Best wishes and sympathy to you and your family.

  9. My thoughts echo those of everyone else. It also served as a vivid reminder to me of two things: 1) life is about a whole lot more than weight loss and 2) we need to be so mindful of any medications we take or are prescribed. It has become far too easy to call the doctor and request a “pill” for just about anything. Everything has side effects and should be studied carefully before taking. Because of my own health issues over the past few months, I’ve become even more aware of how many of the popular medications list “suicide” or “suicidal thoughts” as proven side effects. Not ONE of us should take that lightly. (Sorry – End of sermon! This post really hit a tender spot with me. I am so sorry about your cousin)

  10. So sorry for your loss. Sometimes, we have no idea what’s going on inside of people. We all have so many ways of hiding or avoiding our feelings. Turning this tragedy in your family into a public service announcement regarding suicide prevention is admirable. Thank you.

  11. Cammy, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers will be with you and his family today.

  12. Cammy, I am so sorry for your loss! You are an amazing person to reach out in your time of loss to help others & spread the word to ask for help if you need it. There is no shame in asking for help!

    So many that we think have it all & are seemingly the happiest can often be the ones hiding their despair.. they are used to helping others but not themselves.


  13. Cammy, I am so sorry. My thoughts go out to you and your family. Don’t questions yourselves. People can be very good at hiding when things aren’t right.

  14. Thoughts and prayers to you and his family. The saddest thing is Gary may not have know himself the hurt he would later be inflicting on everyone. From experience, I know that when you are at that stage, you believe when you “go away”, everyone will be happier and won’t miss you. (I become focused on everyone except myself.) If it’s any comfort – he was thinking more of his family and friend’s future happiness and not himself.



  15. Cammy, please accept my sincerest condolences. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. And deepest thanks for your thoughtfulness. You are wonderful to reach out to others during this sad time.

  16. I’m so sorry to hear that, Cammy. I’m sorry he was in so much pain that he couldn’t see another way out.

  17. I am so sorry to hear this. Suicide is such a hard issue to deal with. My mom’s cousin commited suicide on his 50th birthday this year leaving behind a wife, children, and 2 grandchildren who lived with them. It is so hearbreaking. And you get sad and mad at the same time. Again, I am so sorry.

  18. I first read your post last night and have thought of you and your family often today. Somehow my own frustrations weren’t so frustrating. I can’t imagine; I’m so sorry.

  19. Cammy, I am so sorry to hear about this tragic loss for you and your family. My thoughts are with you all.

  20. Cammy, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Death is nearly impossible, but suicide is even harder. Please take good care. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  21. i am so sorry to hear this. it’s so hard to make sense of it all in times like this. keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

  22. Cammy, I just saw this – my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss!

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