Archive | May 2012

The real tragedy of Junior Seau

It’s hard not to think about life these days. Everywhere I turn I meet animals, living things; the earth is waking up.

Today I’m not sure if it’s possible to verify anything unless you’re present to experience it yourself.  I try to refrain from “knowing” unless I happen to be there and even then I sometimes wonder “if that really happened”. So when I say that Junior Seau killed himself I say it without any first-hand experience of his particular circumstance.

What would it be like, that single second before you pull the trigger; the moment which you actually begin to act on the decision you’ve been agonizing over.

If Seau was happy with his life isn’t it safe to assume he wouldn’t have ended it?  Suicide by gun is not something that simply happens one day, it’s the result of much thought, much ebbing and flowing of emotions and experiences taking years, maybe decades.  Junior Seau obviously didn’t show the world what was going on underneath, what we all saw and wanted to see was only a reflection of the real person, the person that put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger. Who was that person, that’s what I want to know. Who was that Junior Seau.

What’s troubling for me and the reason I chose to write about the reaction to his death is the fact that people want to remember the reflection.  No one wants to remember the boy who became the person who’s name was Junior Seau. This is an example of the tragedy of our human lives. We seldom look at what’s real, even when what’s fake destroys itself completely.

I am sorry for Junior’s pain and I am sorry for the pain and confusion of those that knew and loved him. But I won’t honor his life by remembering what a great guy or what a great athlete or what a great hero or what a great restauranteur or what a great dad or what a great son or what a great anything he was. Because, in a sense, he wasn’t. And by honoring those things in him, the things we all wanted him to be, needed him to be, we are honoring the reasons (or at least part of the reasons) he killed himself. We are upholding the lies we tell ourselves and our children, that happiness and joy can masquerade as something else.

Who is it that will be missed? It seems like it’s the same Junior Seau who couldn’t stand to be alive anymore.  Are we wrong? Could we be wrong about a boy who only wants love and comfort (as we all do when we start out) and finds, instead, athletic achievement and worship? Are we wrong to think having it all, money, “love”, fame, personality, good-guy-ness is the key to being happy?

Obviously we are.

Junior Seau and others who choose the same path are nothing like who and what we think.  The sooner we stop celebrating the reflections the sooner we will begin to recognize our own humanity and discover that our search to heal what hurts on the inside can never be won on the outside.  And the sooner we destroy that myth the sooner our children will realize that it’s ok to fail, it’s ok to feel pain, it’s ok to be vulnerable which, as an effect, will produce adults that understand that this life, alone, is the most precious gift we could ever find.

Our children need us to celebrate truth in life, not achievment after death.  Junior Seau was not a hero. He was not an inspiration, at least not in the way that everyone wishes and wants him to be. He was a deeply, deeply troubled person and human who never learned how precious he was and who never found anyone amidst his thousands, perhaps millions of fans and “friends” who could help him release what finally took a bullet hole to let out.

It’s ok to remember and it’s necessary to mourn but the real tragedy of Junior Seau is that we are not being honest with ourselves and each other about who he was and who we are.

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