Out of the dark

It’s seven days until the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Manhattan Out of the Darkness walk, and I received an update notifying me that we have until October 22 to get the last donations possible that will count toward the Walk donation goal numbers. I started fundraising in August and had reached out to all my close family and friends to let them know I was doing this, but I was hesitant to post this on Facebook. Not everyone in my Facebook community would know that my brother had died, that it was due to suicide, that this tragedy had fallen upon my family. As much as I want to be open about his death and the circumstances around it, it’s hard because how do I even know who wants to know or listen? The deeply cynical side of me thinks that no one really cares. A lot of people would just read the Facebook post and think, “how sad,” and then move on. Some might “Like” it. But that would be it.

Chris said to me, if just 1% of your 400-plus Facebook friends donated, that’s still something. For those who don’t, it doesn’t matter. Screw them. But for those who do, it’s still dollars towards an important and not talked enough about cause.

So I posted my Donor Drive page to Facebook and said I was doing this walk in honor of my brother. Over 20-something people “Liked” it, which doesn’t really matter that much to me, but I was able to get six people donate, and not all of them I’d expect to even care at all. Colleagues, a former boss, and a distant relative were included.

I can’t focus all my energy on the people who didn’t donate or help at all or care. I can’t spend time thinking about what people are thinking or how they may judge my family and me, or whether they even pity me. The only healthy choice I have is to be grateful that the six people who did donate because of my Facebook post did it because they in some way did care about me and my experience, and the cause itself. I am deeply grateful. I felt the same wave of gratitude come over me when I started seeing the donation notifications coming in, and my eyes kept welling up.

I might have been scared of what the reactions may have been, but it’s really necessary to do what you are afraid to do, suck it up, and move forward with what you believe in. The world isn’t going to change if I stay silent, even within my own small community. As much as I’d like, I can’t bring Ed back, but I can use my love for him to help others and try my best to be hopeful for the future.

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