For me, it was a day of mixed emotions. I was honored and humbled … but not surprised … by the support I received from my friends here in Wilmington as well as all of those who couldn’t attend but supported with donations. Team Lynn was well represented at the walk with folks from our various circles of friends … neighbors, work colleagues, our church, and the Wilmington Newcomers Club … participating. With all of this support, we surpassed our fundraising goal by about 400%. But the day was also sad and sobering. Consider the fact that Wilmington is a relatively small town but “hundreds” walked which just goes to show you how pervasive suicide is in our society and is indicative of the vast number of lives it impacts everyday! And personally, I hurt for Lynn … I miss her so much! And I also hurt for all of those who knew her and are missing that terrific woman.
As AFSP notes on their website … “there is no single cause to suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.” And according to AFSP statistics, suicide is …
- the 10th leading cause of death in the US
- over 44,000 people a year in the US lose their lives to suicide … that’s 1 person every 12 minutes
- ~20% of those lost are aged 45-64 and ~13% are aged 15-24
As for the world … the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of one death every 40 seconds. To me that’s just a mind-blowing statistic.
AFSP suggests that the numbers for the U.S. are even larger but as a result of the stigma associated with suicide the numbers are under reported. Regardless, the statistics associated with suicide aren’t “top of mind” to most of us because they don’t make headlines. One thing that does make headlines and what does bring needed attention to this devastating phenomenon is when a celebrity is lost to it.
Recently there’s been a number of celebrities in the news for taking their lives. Two in particular are Chris Cornell … lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots who, passed on 5/18/17 at the age of 52; and Chester Bennington … lead singer of Linkin Park who passed on 7/20/17 at the age of 41. Both of these incredibly gifted front men resorted to suicide to put an end to their internal struggle. Given the celebrity obsessed society we live in, when we lose the likes of these very gifted people it gets lots of media attention. And I’m not suggesting it shouldn’t … as these two men were incredibly talented and provided so many of us tremendous amounts of enjoyment and entertainment. So back to Chester Bennington. As I noted, he was the lead singer for an alternative rock band, Linkin Park. He and Chris Cornell were close friends. My good friend Sandy turned me on to a song Linkin Park released in May just following Chris Cornell’s suicide … “One More Light”. Ironically the song was the last Linkin Park song released before Bennington’s death. “One More Light” is about the death of a good friend who was lost to cancer. The song makes the analogy between the millions upon millions of stars/lights in the sky and the millions upon millions of people on earth. It makes the point that the loss of even one star, one person matters … it’s about letting people know you care. The chorus line of the song goes …
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out
Well I do”
Well on June 15th, 2017 we lost our star, we lost Lynn. This wonderful lady made such a positive impact on so many. As I’ve mentioned she loved so much and she was loved by so many. So yes, so many of us care … and the loss of this one star does really matter. And just like Lynn was a “star” to her family, friends, and others that she touched and helped … that 1 person who in the U.S. is lost every 12 minutes to suicide is a “star” too … and it does matter!
So, I’m going to keep talking about this, shining the light … spreading the word. I’ll continue to write, speak out, and advocate for causes like the AFSP (afsp.org). I’m all in on their goal to reduce suicide rates 20% in the U.S. by 2025. And I’ll do this because we lose “Stars” everyday and its devastating to so many … and it does matter.