May 2, 2012

Junior Seau Dead at 43.

Photo: J. J. Hall

Suicide should never be an answer to any question.

Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau, Jr. January 19, 1969 – May 2, 2012

Junior Seau was my brother’s favorite football player growing up.

I thought he had an awesome name.

I just texted my brother that his childhood hero committed suicide. I should have called. My brother was deeply saddened, and I am disappointed in myself for not being more thoughtful. A death is always a shock…a suicide is like a slap.

Seau played professionally for the San Diego Chargers from 1990-2002. He was traded to Miami in 2003 and retired in 2006. Junior came out of retirement in 2007 to play for the New England Patriots and he announced his intention to retired on Inside the NFL in 2010. To date, he never officially retired. Junior Seau was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 2011.

It was reported today that Junior Seau was found dead in his home from a self inflicted gun shot wound.

From the outside looking in it appears that Junior Seau had an amazing life. He was the father of three children: daughter Sydney and sons, Jake and Hunter. The Junior Seau Foundation created in 1992 and since then has distributed nearly $4 million to organizations providing services to children and young adults.

Also included is over $800,000 in scholarships distributed through the Scholars of Excellence program and over $330,000 towards Junior’s Shop With A Jock®program.The 20th Anniversary Junior Seau Celebrity Golf Classic was held March 10–12, 2012 at the world famous La Costa Resort and Spa. The Foundation gives out an annual award to the individual who exemplifies the mission statement of the Junior Seau Foundation

He was loved in his community:

“He was a local hero—he certainly gave back to the community and to the youth through his Junior Seau Foundation,” Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood told The North County Times. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

San Diego native and current Dolphins tailback Reggie Bush tweeted:

“R.I.P Jr. Seau one of the greatest players to play the game! Damn this one hurts San Diego! One of the greatest to come from the city.”

What options are open to someone who intends to end their own life? Suicide prevention assistance is available nationwide. If you are having thoughts of ending your life, the first thing to do is step away from edge. Figuratively or literally. Step back. Take a time out. You fear others may judge you if you ask for help. Who cares? You are the person that matters. You. Your life. You matter.

Junior Seau mattered and he will be missed. According to reports Junior sent his former wife and his children texts simply saying “love you.” They were not concerned that anything was abnormal.

If someone is bent on suicide would they outwardly show signs? Would his family know anything was wrong? When someone commits suicide, I wish I had a DVR to rewind life, kick him in the balls and scream, “wake up!” If you are reading this and you feel this pull to end your life:


Reset your emotions and think about what you would be giving up by removing yourself: seeing children grow up, being with family, traveling the world, success, love, laughter. The world is wide open, you just have to take the first step to change things. Ending a life is not the right option.

Even when you feel that your world is overwhelmingly failing. If you find yourself with a loss of income, loss of spouse or challenged with diagnosis of disease—know that it gets better. Feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Say this mantra over and over and over: “It will get better.” Write it on your bathroom mirror, put a sticky note on your fridge. Get a tattoo.

My sticky note on my fridge says: “I know I am at the right place at the right time because I am here.” This reminds me not to get wrapped up in the things I can not control. Stay in the moment. Worrying about tomorrow doesn’t solve anything. Removing your existence won’t solve anything. Ever.

In 2010, Junior Seau drove off a cliff in Carlsbad, CA. The SUV plunged over 100 feet onto the beach. The crash happened five hours after Seau was arrested for domestic violence against his girlfriend. The police ruled the event an accident and not a suicide attempt after concluding that Seau fell asleep at the wheel.

After today’s events, it is possible that there are going to be many people looking into events and redefining how they look at another person’s actions. When should we believe words and when should we go with our guts. Desperation is usually silent. You have to reach a point of complete desperation to consider suicide. Watch the people around you. If you fear they feel this way, pay attention.

Junior Seau seemed to have it all, but looks can be deceiving. We will not ever know what went on his private desperate moments. Nor do we need to know. It is important to remember his career and his foundation will provide a legacy.

Be kind and respectful to every person you meet, you never know when your kindness may be the changing point in someone’s day.

Like “I’m not spiritual, I just practice being a good person.” on Facebook.

Editor: Kate Bartolotta
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