It’s Not Just Celebrities Who Suffer

Depression, cancer/leukemia, Alzheimer’s, ALS, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, Parkinson’s and accidents have resulted in, or been a part of, the shortening of so many lives, and we have mourned the passing of those who have suffered from any of these, or other diseases, or tragedies which have taken, or led to the deaths, of people who have been renowned in the entertainment world.

We have seen the tragic deaths of many of our favorite actors, music performers, politicians and sports personalities. It’s hard not to hear of them, because of the media coverage surrounding their deaths or afflictions, but what about all the people whose stories of disease and/or tragic deaths are not mentioned on television or radio because they are not on the big or small screen, on stages, or in music halls or sports’ arenas?

We have mourned the tragic deaths of Robin Williams, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Corey Haim, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, John Belushi, Bernie Mac, Phil Hartman, John Candy, Chris Farley, John Ritter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Denver, Buddy Holly, Rick Nelson, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Princess Diana, Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Pat Tillman, Pelle Lindbergh, Len Bias, Pete Maravich, Don Rogers, Ernie Davis, Jerome Brown, Reggie White, Hank Gathers, Sean Taylor, Lou Gerhig, Dave Dravecky, Nick Adenhart, Tim Crews and Steve Olin, just to scratch the surface of celebrities in the entertainment, sports, and political arenas whose lives have been cut short by illness, disease, crime, a physical anomaly, body failure, or accident. Saddened as we were by these losses of life, there are so many more in all of our lives who too, have left this earth way too early due to some affliction or tragedy.

Disease, afflictions and tragic deaths affect everyone, be they someone we have heard of through their celebrity status, or someone who has touched and affected us in some way. It is not just celebrities, though, who may become afflicted or involved in a tragic end of life. We need to celebrate the lives, however short they were, of those who did not appear on television, or show up in a political office, or who made their living in an arena or on a field, or set foot on a stage in front of a microphone. We all know people who have been victims, be they still with us or who have passed, of cancer/leukemia, Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, heart disease, kidney disease, etal., and we have possibly known someone who has died tragically in a car accident, plane crash, or any other unexpected accident, maybe at work, or just happened to be somewhere where an accident happened and were innocent victims of the tragedy.

Many of these situations happen uncontrollably, without warning and without reason. As unfair as they are, people contract diseases, people are involved in accidents, people are victims of crimes, people lose their lives in the service to others through the military, law enforcement, or protecting the people. It stinks, but it is a part of life. One of the situations which may lead to premature deaths, though, might be able to be diminished in some way, and we all can play a part by just showing a little compassion, patience, kindness, and comradery to the person who may be suffering from this affliction.

Depression is an affliction which has led some to feel so overwhelmed that they might feel there are no options left for them to rid themselves of the feelings they are experiencing. Perhaps they are experiencing loneliness, perhaps they are haunted by silence in their lives, perhaps they are overwhelmed by financial strains, or may be victims of neglect by family or friends. Maybe they have felt that their worth is not appreciated, their ideas are not listened to, their time is not valuable, or their efforts not of value to anyone. Maybe they just feel that the world just keeps dumping on them and the weight on their shoulders is way more than what they can handle.

I am wondering if all of us haven’t felt some of this at some time, or multiple times in our lives. I know I have had some of these feelings in my life. There are days when I feel I have accomplished a lot in my life, achieved many goals I set out to reach and have tried to help other people as much as I could. There are other times, though, when I feel like I can’t do anything right, or that I didn’t do everything I could as a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a teacher, a coach, an umpire, a citizen, an employee, a volunteer and a friend. Fortunately, I have people in my life who have been there to boost my morale when I am focusing somewhat on the “dark side” of my worth in this world. Unfortunately, though, some people don’t have, or feel that they have, those “Clarences” (the guardian angel from “It’s a Wonderful Life”) in their lives to show them what the world would have been like had they not been a part of it.

How many times do we see someone walking toward us as we walk down the street and we look down and say nothing as we pass by the person, no smile, no “hello,” or “how ya doing” or anything? How many times do we sit in a public place, maybe a tavern with friends, when a person sitting alone tries to get into a conversation, and we just ignore what they are saying or shun them because we don’t really know that person? How many times does a person do something as part of a job, or as a volunteer, or trying to help someone else and make a mistake, big or small, and be demeaned and made to feel that he/she made a situation worse in the eyes of the person we tried to help in the first place? How many times do we see someone sitting alone on a park bench and not ask if we could join them and then start a conversation with that person, just to be friendly?

All these scenarios might help a person push away some of their loneliness, their feelings of diminished self-worth, maybe put a smile on a face that hasn’t smiled in a while, or just make someone feel important for even a few minutes. Maybe just letting someone know that we are there to lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, two arms with which to give a hug, or a compassionate heart and mind with which to understand, might give the person the “recharge” they need to get through another day, week, month or year.

So here is my objective for today. It’s to let anyone reading this to know if you ever feel you need someone to talk to, or to vent to, or to laugh or cry with, or to give you a hug, please feel free to give me a call or a shout out, and please remember that I may need you too. None of us should ever be alone, in mind or heart, so let’s let each other know we are there for each other. Maybe then we might decrease some of the depression that so many may be feeling in their lives.

Have a great week, my friends!