Thursday, May 3, 2012

Suicide Is Not Painless

The only thing that you seem to be able to think about today, if you work in Blogfrica, is the apparent suicide of Junior Seau. It's curious, of course, that we're all very sure this is a suicide, mostly because pro football players seem to be dropping like pro wrestlers now, especially if you played for the 1994 Charger Super Bowl team. But gunshot wounds to the chest generally don't happen in suburban San Diego, let alone to a guy with money.  I digress.

It is wrong, very, very wrong, to speak ill of the dead, and while what follows will seem to be about that, it's really not meant to be, or at least, not to be something that should be taken personally. More so, it's a reaction to the media coverage, which is always objectionable in moments like this, and not going to ever get better.

In the aftermath of the event -- and no, I'm not calling it a tragedy, because tragedies are stories written by other people, and what seems to have happened to Seau was self-written -- we've heard the following.

> Reactions from ex-teammates

> Reactions from writers and media people that covered Seau

> Forensic details from the police

> Speculation on Seau's possible brain damage, since the meat that was left behind is going to lend itself to autopsy

> Reactions from front office personnel

> The news that Seau left behind "I love you" messages to his kids and ex-wife

Here's what we're missing: any sense, any sense at all, that what Seau did was horrifically selfish, monumentally short-sighted, and indicative of a lack of parental responsibility that defines reprehensible.

Here's what would cause me, a husband and father of two, to take Seau's presumed exit: racking medical bills that imperiled my family's financial future. Pain and suffering that would swamp my ability to deal, and poison the time that I could spend with my loved ones. A sense that my medical issues were in some way contagious, or that my diminishing faculties could put my family at risk for being near me.

That's about it.

Any day I don't spend with my wife and kids is a day that isn't as good as a day that I could have spent with them. If I don't see them for more than a day or two, there is a physical deadening that goes on within me that can't be wiped away, no matter how much I work, be with my friends, or distract with poker or drink or food or travel or whatever.

I realize, of course, that I am fortunate... but we make our own luck in this world. Being a parent and husband isn't a panacea; it's the hardest job I've ever had, depending on the day. It's also the best.

Junior Seau chose, on some level, to deny his children the experience of having  a father.

There is no coming back from that.

If you need to praise the man's memory at the time of his death for social niceties, to honor your life's experience in watching him perform, or for the person that you knew in the workplace... well, I suppose. Grieve however you choose; I don't care to make you wrong for it.

But I do choose, and will always choose, to call it a lie when you tell me that a man who can do this sort of harm to his children is worthy of a eulogy.

He's not.

He forfeited that today.

And that's all that I've got to say about it.


Anonymous said...

interesting, thanks for the cahones to print what many thing

Bill Becker said...

I totally understand your thinking. I'm actually amazed at the number of friends who will say the same thing.

But...and I am no mental health expert...all this assumes they were capable of this reasoning! If you've come to the conclusion that you need to end your own life...might it be you are incapable of clear thinking?

DMtShooter said...

Maybe I'm not the most charitable person on this subject; my own issues with an absent father are probably showing.

But we don't call it a tragedy when lots of people who are incapable of clear thinking leave this world. Seau is being eulogized, because he was good at football, as being anything more than a guy who was good at football. That's what rankles.

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