Saturday, September 03, 2011

Life On Ice

I will participate in something very sad tomorrow: a memorial service for a gentle, humble and presumably happy young husband, father and professional athlete – Wade Belat: NHL hockey player with a beautiful family, a bright future and an impressive 14-year career. The details of his demise are still sketchy but indications suggest he may have taken his own life. If this, indeed, turns out to be the reality it is very important, for reasons that should be exceedingly obvious.
I have come to believe that suicide is the end result of a disease we struggle to comprehend or accept. Yet, few of us have escaped its ravages within our own families and/or circle of friends. Yes, it is dark, mysterious and otherworldly but it is also real. It ends life just like cancer, heart attack, leukemia, kidney failure, Lupus and other diseases. But it remains foreign to those of us who, but for the grace of God, have not wandered into the shadowy canyons of despair, depression and hopelessness.
In my younger years suicide caused me to be very angry toward the perpetrator-victim. How dare they leave this awful, embarrassing mess behind? Couldn’t you pull it together and realize that people love you and need you? What a selfish thing you’ve done. Look at us – those who loved you. We are riddled with grief and anger. Well, I have changed my tune. When it strikes closer to home than one would ever wish there is a new and gentler conclusion. Is it ugly and terribly horrifying? Yes, indeed, that doesn’t change. Is it something to be treated in some special spiritual manner? No. It is part of the circle of life – perhaps a part we have yet to embrace in any appropriate way. But I believe we must be gentle in these moments; forgiving, arms wide open. I am confident God knows the circumstances and God is All Loving.

Finally, back to the important, earthly reasons. The NHL, NFL, MLB and NCAA need to get upfront about these health issues. People are dying because of the brutality of sport. Please regulate this stuff. Are we as a people so bent on the profit of violence that we need Enforcers on every NHL team? Must we have brawls in every 3rd MLB baseball game? Should we be honoring the ‘hardest-hitting linebacker in the SEC? Sport, in its purest form, is about speed, hand-eye coordination, accuracy, elegance, balance and a host of God-given abilities. Leave the bullshit to the WWF and roller derby.

I will participate in something very sad tomorrow: something that should never have happened. But it did. Rest in peace, Wade Belat. And may the God of Lights watch over those you left behind. Amen.


Blogger mayorjones said...

My family dealt first hand with this very issue the week of Thanksgiving, going on two years ago now... My wife comes from a family of fourteen kids - a beautiful, wonderful, loving family. Her brother, age 31 yrs old, who hid his depression under a seemingly permanent camouflage smile, shot himself that Monday. Time may heal the hurt, but it doesn't fix the hole that is left behind. He was my daughter's Godfather and I know he loved her as much as I did. So, with that said, how could he have...

No, whats done is done. He was ill, like Thom said, no different than if he had cancer. This one is just much uglier because it eventually tries to turn the host into the bad guy when, in reality, he/she is simply trying to end the pain.

Suicide is a horrible result of a monster of a disease, mental illness.

God bless every single person that struggles with it and the families left behind in its rubble.


September 30, 2011 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger DAVID HAAS said...

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October 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM  

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