Saturday, September 12, 2015

An Inspiring story of one man, one motorcycle and his mission to bring Suicide awareness to the forefront.

A year ago I was making my way into work one morning. Only that day turned out to be a different morning, which changed my mood for the rest of the day and honestly the next few days there after.

I had just parked and was walking to the main door to scan in. When I saw a guy messing around with a MSR universal windscreen. He was attempting to install it on an old beautiful BMW. I have a huge soft spot for the vintage bikes and if I had the money, I would probably have a garage of vintage BMW, Suzuki, Honda, Indian...well you get the idea. Nonetheless, many of you all know me, I am not that type of person to just walk on by without starting a conversation. This guys had his bike was fully packed up with luggage and I knew he was about to embark on a journey. Only his journey was a life mission.

Photo taken by Chris Michael, visit his blog to see more photos of his bike and the folks he met along the way.
After my evaluation of what was going on I finally had approached him and asked if he needed help. He looked up somewhat happy that someone was there and offering assistance. We got to talking and went through introductions. He said his name was Chris and he was about to start a motorcycle journey consisting of interviews with strangers all around one emotional topic, suicide. More particularly men who lost their fathers to suicide. I was floored! I was not expecting to hear that, usually in my work parking lot I meet folks off to Alaska, or Key West, or just going across country for a ride. Not often do you meet someone on such a heart felt mission for change. It was the type of movement that inspired change.

Chris went on to tell me about his Kick Starter campaign to get this series of interviews funded for and how the Suicide Prevention Association was also supporting his project. He continued with his story as he personally opened up to me that he had lost his father to suicide and the emotion, pain and struggles that brought to his family. He had just recently started coming to terms with it, and began disclosing the truth. He continued saying it was such a struggle to talk about such a topic, most folks just do not want to discuss it. I can understand that, because it seems like you mention suicide and everyone disperses. Knowing this happens, Chris wanted to make it a topic of healing. Which hence drove the passion to want to reach out to other men that had not talked about it, but were really wanting to deep down inside. Chris was amazed at the response he got from folks and the voluntary interviews that just poured in via email or phone.

After such a deep discussion I realized I really had to get in to work to start my day. We managed to get the windscreen installed as he was about to ride up to New York to record his first interview. We exchanged contact information so we could keep in touch. Fast forward to a year later and some emails between then and now, I get an email the other morning from Chris. He writes,
"Well, I just wanted to let you know that I finished the first series of audio interviews and you can read about it here, and hear the episodes at www.fatherlessbysuicide.com."
I hope you all can take the time to listen to these stories, as I have started doing, and open your hearts and mind to the courage it took these men to speak publicly about their fathers and suicide. I will leave you all today with another informational piece taken from Chris's blog regarding Getting Help:
If you need to talk to someone now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected with a trained counselor. They can also connect you to mental health services in your area. The line is available 24/7 and is for people in crisis and those who support people in crisis. 
If you are a Veteran or a family member of a Veteran, you can access specialized crisis services through the
Confidential Veteran's crisis chat.
 
If you've lost someone to suicide, you may find the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's resources, stories and local groups helpful.Explore their site and connect with other survivors here.