On December 26, 2015, I felt great empathy and sadness upon learning about the death of 28-yr old Marine Sgt. Tristan Clinger. After a long six days missing, his wife, parents, siblings, and three young children, along with a host of comrades, friends, extended family, and complete strangers, learned of his fate. I worked with his father a retired Master Gunnery Sergeant. My prayer for him was simply "Lord have mercy and bring you peace".
After a reported bout of depression, the thought of the military finding out about his struggle perhaps proved too much to bear. Being a combat veteran, I can certainly see how and why he may have wanted to keep this from his chain of command. In today's military, service members and veterans are encouraged to come forward and seek mental health for PTSD and other mental illnesses, but there is still much more work to be done as evidenced by the rate of military suicides. Every day over 22 Veterans and 1 Active Duty Soldier take their own lives.
The idea of deliberately smothering the life given to you is seemingly incomprehensible to those who have not had suicidal thoughts before but then in a very present and real moment, it happens and cannot be undone. Is it the fear of feeling small and insignificant or the thought that we are no longer needed on this earth that causes the abandonment of the desire to live? The pain must become truly too much to bear. The suicide earlier this year of Cara Miller along with the dialogues I had with two other military members who were suicidal this year made me think that the thought of suicide when it comes is subtle but then it becomes the only thought. I may never know or understand but these experiences more broadly have enhanced my understanding of the human bond. We are all connected. We are one. I heard Jimmy Carter say that "on a cosmic scale, we are all in the same boat."
As I encounter people on a daily basis, I want to be a game changer. I want to change the trajectory of people's lives in a positive direction or enable people to maintain the positive track they are already on. Certainly as a parent, I think a lot about the trajectory I am sending my son on. A small act now could result in much larger impact for years to come. I want to make people feel bright inside. What if we all did this? In the profound words of Sydney Long, may we keep other safe from their darkness with our love.
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven woman who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.