Sunday, November 11th, is the Out of the Darkness walk for Miami-Dade county. I’ll be taking part in it again this year.
Out of the Darkness community walks are events put on around the nation by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise money for and awareness about suicide prevention. Two years ago, I led Team Sunshine in honor of my oldest son Alec who had killed himself earlier that year. For the event, some very dear friends joined me in walking and many others supported our team in raising over $2200.
This year, I’m on the Psychiatry Residents and Friends team; the team to which my best friend Ginger belongs. (Ginger was, of course, on Team Sunshine two years ago.) Having finished medical school, Ginger is just starting her residency in psychiatry. Not only does she have an unbridled passion for understanding mental illness, but she possesses a unique and inherent goodness to her that draws people to her like moths to a light. I have no doubt that Ginger is going to make one hell of a doctor. And I know that any patient of hers will count among their blessings having her as their doctor.
So I’m going to walk again this year to support the efforts of the AFSP, to support and encourage Ginger, and to show my support for all psychiatrists in their efforts to help others. Walking in these isn’t the sole tribute to life that I want to give back to the world. But it’s something I can do.
If I sound unenthusiastic about it, I’m not. It’s just that spending time thinking about the very reasons that I’m involved with this isn’t a pleasant place for me.
Last night, I shared a photo on Facebook that Alec had taken while he was in New York. In the comments that followed, I briefly mentioned the demons that reside in my head relating to this part of my life. I owe more to my sons (both the living and the dead) and more to my fellow man than the contributions I have made to date. But this is one way I CAN contribute and give back to society.
If you’d like to make a donation in support of the walk and the efforts of the AFSP (tax deductible, if it matters), you can make it to Ginger on her page here.
All of Alec’s photos on Flickr here.