Saturday, February 17, 2007

In Honor of Jon

First I wanted to mention my new favorite blog. Tri-Dummy. How do you come up with a name concept so simple, yet so good (almost like the cowbell, no?) He’s a funny writer who is willing to encourage and teach newbie’s the ropes of triathlon and smart enough to figure out that IMOO 07 is THE Ironman to do! I’m not picking out curtains to move in, I just think he’s worth checking out.

As I write the following, I’m realizing that I’m still not done working through this, so if over-share is occurring, I apologize. Just scroll to the conclusion because it’s important.

The date is October 24, 2004 I’m downstairs in my office preparing for the days tasks. I employee three guys at the time and am running two different sites. I’m going to place Jon at a new job in Edina to prime all the new drywall. Strangely, I haven’t heard from him over the weekend. He’s usually prompt regarding checking in on Sunday nights. I’ve known Jon and his parents for many years. We’ve gone to the same church Jon even played Jesus in a youth Easter play that my wife had directed. I know he’s been struggling over this past summer with major insomnia, so maybe he’s having another bout.
I decide to call my other employee to figure out where he is.
“Cody, Brian here, I was wondering if you heard from Jon?”
“You don’t know?”
“Know what?”
“you need to sit down Brian”
“I am” Impatiently now, “what’s going on?”
“Brian, last night Jon killed himself in his parents basement.”

Jon’s dad found a scene of horror that is unimaginable to most of us. No details, other then to say that he told me after the funeral that he repeatedly wakes up in the middle of the night with a vision of what he saw when he kicked down the bedroom door his son had locked.

I can see Jon in my minds eye: Strong 22 year old, big 6’4 frame, smiling face, fading bleached highlites. He enjoyed a good laugh, loved the Twins, playing good music….and God.

He suffered from severe depression. Suicide is an act of last desperation. Those who commit suicide truly believe that it is the only thing that will stop the pain in their heads. I later became aware that Jon had attempted suicide before, his parents valiantly helped him fight it, but in the end, the battle was lost. Sadly Jon’s story is not isolated. Tri-dummy’s friend just committed suicide, other people I know struggle with suicidal thoughts because of severe trauma in their lives.

But there is help and hope.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m racing the Wisconsin Ironman. Peer pressure because all our local tri club are Iron freaks!? The simple personal challenge? Trimama makes me? Probably it’s a little of all the above. Yet I sense a pull, psychological, spiritual or both, a very strong pull to train for and complete this grueling race. I’m now realizing that another part of that pull is joining the Janus Charity Challenge.

The Help

God willing I will cross that Madison finish line and I’m going to do so raising money for a very good organization called SAVE.

From their website...

The #1 cause of suicide is untreated depression. SAVE is committed to the education of the general public about the depressive brain diseases (such as clinical depression and bipolar illness) that can result in suicide if left untreated medically and psychologically. By educating the general public about such brain diseases, SAVE strives to remove the stigma associated with these diseases. SAVE’s prevention and education programs are designed to:

-Increase knowledge about depression and suicide prevention.
-Increase knowledge about symptoms of depression and the warning signs of suicidal thinking and behavior.
-Increase the confidence and competence of participants to make interventions and referrals.
-Increase understanding and the use of intervention skills that can help avert the tragedy of suicide.
-Increase knowledge about community resources, how to access and use them.

Here’s an example of their ad campaign:

I’m going to partner with SAVE, one training mile at a time, one Iron-mile at a time. You can join with me by going to my Jannus Charity Page and pledging any amount. If you could pledge $.10 a mile of my Ironman that would total $14.60! $1 a mile would be $140.60!! Any pledge will help save lives for those who struggle with depression and suicide. If you can’t pledge right now, please pray that I would be able to reach and surpass my goal of $3500 for SAVE.

I am helping SAVE in honor of Jon and his family, to be one small voice of support for them and their burden.

Finally, There is Hope…

An old king once said,

Save me, O God,
For the waters have come
Up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
Where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep
The floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
My throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
Looking for my God.

An old prophet once said,

Surely he took up our infirmities
And carried our sorrows,
Yet we considered him
Stricken by God,
Smitten by Him, and
But he was pierced for our
He was crushed for our
The punishment that
Brought us peace was
Upon him,
And by His wounds we are healed.

Another King and Prophet once declared,

Now the dwelling of God is with men,
And he will live with them.
They will be his people,
And God himself will be with them
And be their God.

He will wipe every tear
From their eyes. There will be no more death
Or mourning or crying or pain,
For the old order of things has
Passed away.

Please feel free to email me or Trimama with any questions or comments regarding this post, we would love to hear from you!

Again, any amount you could give would be appreciated!

Janus Charity Page

Taconite Boy


ironjenny said...

I hit your Janus page a few minutes ago. Good thing I knew you real name, though! your link just takes us to the home page and we are supposed to enter our athlete's name. I didn't try Taconite Boy...
Thanks for doing this, Brian. God LOVES this stuff ;-)

Tri-Dummy said...

This is a great idea, Tac-Nasty.

From the home page, there is a link to searching for an athlete. I searched the athlete area just putting in Brian and SAVE and it found you no problemo.

In memory of my brother, Alonzo.

IM Able said...


You are a prince for making your journey about more than just the miles and the milestones. I am so very sorry for your loss and wish you healing. I wish I could give more, but hopefully this little bit will be another reason to dig deep on those hard miles in September. I'll be proud to toe the line with you, Tac. Proud, indeed.

IM Able

Comm's said...

you know why.

greyhound said...

I am so in.

momo said...

thank you for giving us an opportunity to help you help others.