In order to communicate why I'm doing this effectively, you might need to know more about why R4R started (see video below). But long story short, I lost my Dad to suicide in 2010. His death not only taught me lessons about life, but it led to my own struggles. Struggles that I was fortunate enough to approach with a resilient mindset.
Having been through the wringer and coming out the other side stronger, I felt compelled to share my story to help others going through a tough time, people who’ve been through a tough time, or people yet to go through a tough time.
The pain of losing a loved one is hard to describe. It’s like a hole in your heart that can never be filled. Whilst your heart can grow bigger and your life can be filled with love, there will always be a reminder of that conversation you’ll never have, that phone call you’ll never receive, and that smile you’ll never see again.
Like most Sons, I looked up to my Dad. I admired him, I identified with him, and when I lost him to suicide, I was forced to reconsider my relationship with him; how can someone I aspire to be like do something like that? How can someone who loves me abandon me like that?
These questions aren’t fair to my Dad, but they were questions I needed answers to, and whilst the grieving and reconciling process has made me a better man, it also caused me significant distress.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naïve to the privilege and luck I have; in the context of human history, to be born in this time, in this country, and in my family is incomprehensibly lucky, but losing my Dad to suicide sucked.
Grief aside, his death forced me to ask myself whether I’m at risk, that because I’m my Father’s son, am I somehow destined for the same fate? I know within myself that that’s not the case, but the question scares me.
The question scares me because when I look at my son, I know that I never want him to experience what I have experienced. When I look at my son, it instills a sense of importance, and somewhat of a primal and innate desire to protect my son by protecting myself.
This process of questioning my identity has helped me understand suicide on a more intricate level and it’s helped me empathise with those who are vulnerable. I’m fortunate enough to have never been suicidal, but I know in my heart that R4Rs message and community could have saved my Dad’s life.
And this is why I keep doing R4R.
I keep doing R4R to reach someone that needs it. Before I make a post, before I write an article, before I speak on behalf of R4R, I think about how my Dad would have responded. Before every piece of content that R4R makes, it’s run through the lens of “Does this help one person?”.
I keep doing this because I believe that suicide is preventable and that by saving one life from suicide at a time, by having this dialogue in a public forum, we can shift our goal toward stopping suicide altogether.
I keep doing this because I am inspired by how the community has galvanised around R4R’s goal. The buy-in from our community fills me with confidence that we can pursue this goal together and leave a positive mark on this world.
But at the end of the day, I keep doing this because I enjoy it.
Having a community where you get to exercise and chat with great people is awesome. I get to meet new people with fresh perspectives, I get to share in the misery of cold runs and rejoice in the bliss of that post-run beer.
Our community and R4R are doing great things in the mental health landscape, but simply put, on any Monday or Friday morning, on every Wednesday night, it really is just a great thing to do.
Just. Keep. Moving.
Just. Keep. Moving.