Yesterday, we got a bit of very sobering news, Paul, a former choir and church member, and a father of two, passed away last Wednesday after a battle with depression after committing suicide.
I had one mission after going through all of that work, and that was to be vulnerable and tell my story to other men who may be struggling with anything on the emotional scale. The toughest part of that period of time for me was the feeling of being alone in my struggle, and not feeling like any of my male friends understood what I was going through.
About 4 years ago, as my interest in cycling was heating up, I heard about the incredible story of Mark Meier and his bike ride across the country to raise awareness about depression in men through his non-profit, The FaceIt Foundation. Soon thereafter, I became friends with both he and Bill Dehkes, who run the non-profit together, and have been a huge supporter of their organization and efforts ever since. The work they do is real, and life-saving, and incredibly underserved everywhere. If you want to read an incredible story this Father's Day, read Mark's story.
I now regret that I hadn't spent a few minutes to get to know Paul better. Could I have prevented what happened? Perhaps not. But you never know what can happen by opening up and being vulnerable. My Father's Day wish today is that all men will take a moment to ask another guy "how are you doing", and not just by punching them on the shoulder, but really asking how they're doing, and let them know you are truly interested in their well-being.
RIP, Paul, you will be missed more than you know. Peace be with you all, today and always. Matt