Junior Seau Dead at 43.

Via on May 2, 2012
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:

Don’t!

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

About Jamie Squires

Jamie Squires originally from Mobile, Alabama and lives in Boulder, Colorado. Mother, sister, daughter, friend. Photographer. Yogi. Writer. Living with Lupus and celebrating life after cancer. Lover of the written word. She get the giggles..She is generous with her spirit and laughter. Tends to make excessively long lists. Drinks Irish beer. Hates wearing shoes. Is passionate. Jamie is covered in ink. Loves cheese. It doesn’t interest her what you do for a living, she want to know what your dreams are. You find her portfolio at JamieSquires.com and "like" her on Facebook.

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8 Responses to “Junior Seau Dead at 43.”

  1. LotusKnot says:

    From what I understand he did this so that his brain can be studied to examine the effects of playing football on the brain. I don't know anything about this guy as I don't follow football, but it's still terribly sad.

  2. Annie Ory says:

    To LotusKnot – I don't know what that means.

  3. Annie Ory says:

    Suicide is something we have few tools for talking about, so thank you for getting us talking. Most people react as you did to the news, with shock and a NEED to tell someone. It's normal. It is an out of place thing, suicide, and it takes a little time to learn to talk about it. Be patient with yourself and with others.

    One thing I notice is that when people do talk about suicide they are often trying to talk the person "out of it".
    That feels like the right thing to do, when someone is on a path to danger, to yell STOP! The problem is the question of control. Control is often what the suicidally depressed seek. Life feels out of control. The pain is out of control. Their mind is out of control. Suicide represents control. I can't make the world right, it whispers, but I can make it stop for you. When you say NO you become an obstacle to peace.

    Instead, ask open questions, and help them trace their way from despair to peace on their own so they will remember how to get there. Be present. Listen. Let them to tell you how they got where they are, and then begin to ask what small thing they could do that would feel better right away. What a suicidally depressed person needs more than anything is to be able to see themselves as capable of coping and effecting positive change and that can be so hard from the depths of depression. They don't need to come all the way back. Suicide is a moment in time, it's said. With the sunlight, or the next pay check, or one day closer to home, whatever home is, things may seem very different.

    While you are asking all these questions, ask one more.

    Can I take you to see your therapist, priest, doctor? Will you go with me? Let's go, we'll go to the hospital now. You can always kill yourself later. Let's just check in with the doctor to make sure it's the best option, because it's the ONLY option that rules out ALL other options.
    I'm paraphrasing Geo Stone, author of Suicide & Attempted Suicide.

    The truth is, that if someone truly wants to die they will find a way. You can't stop them. Not even by calling the police or having them hospitalized. If they want to die, truly want to, they will. What you can do is acknowledge that power and their right to it, and invite them to hold off on using it while they check out other possibilities. We can't know, or understand their pain, or what the experience of their pain, is like for them. Even if we've been through depression ourselves. So we need to respect their right to choose whether or not, and how, they will learn to manage it.

    My late husband died of suicidal depression. I have learned a lot about suicide since, in very personal ways. When suicide does happen, I offer you the only comfort there is: People die. And the only reason that hurts so much is because life is so beautiful.

    While suicide is a violent form of death nearly always, suicidal depression is no different from any other disease. Whether acute or terminal, depression is a disease and sometimes it kills. We know very little about how to treat it effectively and the science is very new. As diseases go, it is not as deadly as some. I lived 25 years in San Diego, all during Seau's reign. I'm sorry he's gone. His death really shouldn't be thought of very differently than if he had died of cancer. The brain is a part of the body and not everything that happens there is under our control. He was sick. He had suicidal depression and it took his life.

    • I fully agree that if someone is going to do this, there is no stopping them. I just wish they could see that it not the real answer. Incredibly sad.

  4. randolphr says:

    Thank you Annie. I find your words here to be by far and away the most valuable.

  5. dapperpeacock says:

    As a caregiver for a survivor of Traumatic Brain Injury, I agree very much with LotusKnot's initial comment.

    The effects of mild brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder create what is often referred to as an "invisible illness."

    I do not follow football, but the loss of any beautiful human resonates in my heart.

    Please, if you know any athletes suggest that they receive neurological screening in addition to essential counseling services.

    Blessings.

  6. yogasamurai says:

    Jamie, thank you for this beautiful reflection. I would also echo a lot of the thoughts expressed here, as I have experienced suicide and its impact up close. Suicide can become a last gasp attempt at empowerment for those suffering what feels like overwhelming despair. But it generally leaves so much painful wreckage in its wake. I think, often, though, there are other things going on chemically that are eminently treatable — with medication, for one. Still, in the end, I dare not judge. Perhaps a greater focus on the state of America's favorite gladiator sport is the best way to "honor" one ex-star's decision to take his own life. Stewart

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