So hard to hear this news.
One of our top photographers and educators has died. I have not heard directly to confirm that he took his own life, but this is what is being said. You will also read that he was distraught by how his professional photography business added to his unbearable pain and struggle, evident from his facebook posts. Regardless, his daughter has started a gofundme campaign to help with the funeral costs. When I hear of a daughter asking the internet to help pay for her father’s funeral expenses, I cannot turn away.
The photography industry has completely changed, and it is important for all of us to shift our expectations. We cannot regret that now is not like it was in the film days, because it just is the way it is. We can only reflect back on our more prosperous times and understand that they were a gift, and no gift should ever be taken for granted. When we are bitter or angry that we no longer enjoy those prosperous times, then we are taking those times for granted. We are never entitled to prosperity. We work for comfort and security, but it is not our right.
I know many of my fellow businesses and industry professionals are struggling big time. I know of many who aren’t. For both groups, I would like to remind you that in good times or in bad, life is life and the good times are a gift. The bad times are opportunities for healing and poise.
If you ever find that it is so bad that you consider taking your own life, the common advice is to contact a mental health professional. I sort of agree and disagree. Contacting a stranger (though professionally trained) can also feel cold and detached. I would like to propose the suggestion to contact someone who is close to someone who loves you. That person will hear your cries with the context of knowing you, and those who love you, and will offer a more meaningful level of love and care than would a professional. Get that person to talk you off the ledge, and then as soon as you are calmed down, seek professional help.
If you have suicidal thoughts, even in passing, see a doctor. Consider having the doctor give you a tranquilizer medication to calm you down enough to save your life. A good MD will have you keep a tranquilizer handy if things should get gnarly, with instructions to contact him or her as soon as you take that pill.
These suggestions may save the life of you or someone you love, and if any of my words do that for someone in the future, I will be so thankful.
If you are a parent, hear my words. Suicide is not an option. If you are the child of parents, Suicide is not an option. If you are a friend to someone, Suicide is not an option. We are put here to get through it. You stay here until you aren’t here.
Life is a beautiful gift, and a tremendous journey with huge mountains to climb, and beautiful vistas, but with powerful thunderstorms at times and seemingly unsurmountable challenges. But do you know why it is a gift? Because of the love you gave to those who love you. The warm hugs, the smiles, even sitting side-by-side while both of you are checking social media on your mobile devices. The gift of life is you, to those who love you.
Look at these eyes. Look at the story they tell. Imagine all of those who loved this man. And remind yourself that this could have been prevented.
If you know someone who is a little shaky, consider contacting them and simply ask how things are going. Suicide happens because the person is really lonely.
Reach out and be the one person smiling back in a crowd of strangers.
Our world is beautiful, but it is beautiful because of you, and the happiness and love you offer to others.