We often cope with depression in our own privacy. Anything else would seem like self-pity. Or even self-indulgent.
In Stanley Park, one of Canada's most beautiful places, Andrew Koening, an actor known to many (Star Trek, GI Joe, Growing Pains), the son of Star Trek's Chekov and a former co-star to Alyssa Milano who has done so much for this world (including #Haiti), committed suicide in a place he loved.
He was an environmentalist and was also politically active. He actually cared about the world. He touched even Sarah Silverman's heart.
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Depression is hard to shake. It gets the best of us. It torments the most honest soul.
Today Alyssa Milano made a call for anyone experiencing this - to not be alone. I respect this woman so much, i wanted to write this. Outside of television, i first experienced Alyssa Milano on Twitter. Before any company donated, Alyssa donated $50,000 to #Haiti and challenged any corporation in America to match her. She was there before anyone knew what to do.
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So i guess one needs to lead by example to make her call worthwhile.
I am going to try and do my best to articulate things that have made me very sad, and sometimes i wish i can even be angry but i can't. There's never been a time or place for it.
There is no start or end to sadness. There is no hierarchy. Feelings just randomly hit you.
But i suppose if i were to start...i have lost so many loved ones.
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My youngest brother didn't even live until 30 years old. I watched him die. I held him when he was a baby. It makes it hard for me to experience anyone in our family or among my friends be selfish. My brother was the best i knew. I can't recall him ever complaining in front of me. I lived with him for the last years of his life. I would have gladly traded my life for him to live more. His last email to me, nearly 2 years ago, was Happy Birthday. He passed away on our mother's birthday. His last words were Happy Birthday mom. Before he died, I was in New York like i am now. I am reminded everyday of how i felt back then. I am not the same as i used to be. This is how i am reminded most. I had such a happy day on my birthday two years ago, top of my world (even dancing) and never got that back ever since. One friend actually said i use his death as an excuse for not moving forward as much as i can, and i dont know if this helped or made me even sadder.
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In many ways it was a good, in other ways it was bad, i didnt find out right away that my lover from long ago disappeared while travelling. I didnt know for two years, the news didnt reach me somehow. I haven't dated a lot since my marriage. She was one of only two people i dated. To this day, no one knows what happened to Nicole Vienneau. When you lose someone like this who was so close...it's unbearable. You hear her voice, you recall everything you did, what she did for you. You replay so much in your head. I investigate how a crime could happen, what evil may have occurred to cause her disappearance. There's no closure yet, not for me, her mother, her fiance or her brother. I fight our own government who so far has refused to hand over all information they have for Nicole's family. Information sent to Canada by her family's own lawyers is being with-held by our government due to "privacy laws" of all things. It's taken nearly a year to get some of the case files via the Freedom of Information Act. I am on this case every month. It's never-ending. It takes a toll at times...especially when we must consider what horrible things may have happened to her to solve this case.
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So when someone bitches about their own life, i get mad quietly to myself. I get sad quietly to myself. You have a life.
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Before this i lost two mentors - CEOs i worked with - to heart attacks. They left behind children. I was so upset i couldn't even go to their funerals or revisit offices where we spent so many hours together to create successful visionary journeys.
Four loved ones lost in four years is much.
Before this i lost the first teacher i ever loved. Her name was Rosemary Lanoue. She was my Grade 3 teacher who died in a car crash on highway 401 driven by a priest at our school. She was 25. I think that was my first experience of heart break. I wasn't Catholic then but i showed up everyday with a Rosary praying to Mary thinking there was a connection to Rosemary. God didn't answer.
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Outside of this, i had two major adult hardships. The power of love was painful. One was the separation of my daughter from me - someone i love so much who now lives an ocean away. This is one major reason why i moved from Vancouver, a place i lived my entire adult life for 18 years. I would be reminded too much of our separation. I started writing again - for her - to deal with these circumstances. Everything i write is a time capsule for her.
No one really cares for my personal life. It's not their family. No family member or business partner realizes how lucky they are to even be on the same continent as their children. When i hear people gripe about kids...it's hard. I want my kid here. I only get to see her once or twice (if i am lucky) a year.
Though less than before, i still get separation anxiety. Anyone with her name is special to me. I leave a path for her to find if one day somehow i am cut off.
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It took me years to overcome a situation with a great love. We had known each other for four years - hanging out nearly daily. Then one day, our situation became dishonest and many would say manipulative. It took two years to even recognize it. But so much bigness helped us heal to the point where i think our respect is stronger today. I've known her 10 years. I've known my daughter's mother 21 years. I've known some friends 35 years (and many 10 or more).
Whenever i see any friends hide things from their boyfriends, friends or girlfriends...i can only urge, it's not worth the price if you truly care. People inevitably find out. People closest to you, know you well enough, even if you are not transparent openly. You can't hide the truth. I've lost friends since - whether i like to admit it or not - because deception, or exploitation, is hard to repair. The only time i succeeded took four years. And i knew her long enough, deep enough, to make it worth that painful journey.
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In the past two years, after my brother died, a few people have been extremely harsh on me for the sake of self-interest. I dont get down about it anymore. But closure was never had. I felt cheated, financially and emotionally. These are things i cant really address in public because i dont feel right about calling out people who stooped or hid the truth.
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And yes, in my childhood, i was gravely impacted. I feel I lost my childhood taking care of my brother and sister in a single father family. I went to court during those medieval times when a child was asked to choose between two parents. Only me - no other siblings. There were rumours of who wanted whom and whom was unwanted...these are things a four to six year old shouldn't know.
I grew up fast, before any Catcher In The Rye, and became adult when i was six. And there's not a day that goes by when i dont realize how that period impacted me for life.
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So this sounds too much to take right?
It is. Humanly impossible.
But why am i alive?
I am not afraid of death. I've risked my life enough times to know.
To be honest, i've seen and met enough people who have had it worse than i. Life is precious. Though painful as some experiences can be...life is precious and there are people who lead by example, who inspire by example, who build bridges, who have such a big outlook, the petty is not on the radar. Only that life that is precious.
I feel pain, nearly every night, nearly every day. But i also see inspiration nearly every second day if not everyday. It's not always the person in front of me or next to me...but the power of the internet can access people like Alyssa Milano.
I stay in touch with friends who are around the world being a good ambassador for humanity. Getting things done. Among them...people who lead by example, who dont waste life.
They click, they inspire, they commit to a better world.
That keeps me hanging around. When you lose loved ones, you also feel an overwhelming commitment to live a life a lost one didnt have.
But sure, the pain still stays. Some say it never goes away. And people - selfish people, greedy people, self-centered people, and even angry people - make this pain more painful. We deal with so many people who violate and leave you holding the bag. People who exhaust so much time, money and emotion.
There are better people than this.
So the key thing i find is to withdraw from those who cause pain and gravitate towards people who make things worthwhile.
This is also why i am in New York. This is why i do what i do. And it's also for that singer who makes words and music matter because they create what cannot be seen.