Early Sunday morning, I received a call from my Dad. My Mom stopped breathing and he had called 911.
When I arrived at their apartment in Blakeney, I could see the ambulance and fire truck were still there. Not a good sign.
I walked into the apartment to find a number of EMTs performing CPR, desperately trying to revive my Mom.
There was my Dad watching it all in disbelief. They had just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on November 1. They have been together for nearly 60 years. My Dad adored my Mom.
But I saw my Mom’s coloring. I saw the laptop that showed no pulse. I knew she was gone. But maybe I was not seeing something right and they would bring her back. But it never happened.
I had to comfort my Dad, make the calls to the family, manage the medical personnel and police officer who were in the living room of their apartment and the rest of the day was spent trying to figure things out.
I wanted to isolate. I wanted to hide my grief and sadness. But that was not really an option anymore.
The Sad Clown slowly went away after my first post in SOB. Over the next 5 years, I developed authentic relationships with other men. They had allowed me to walk with them thru some tough spots and it would be selfish of me not to provide them the opportunity to do the same.
So I began to reach out and they responded with the type of support you would expect from F3 brothers.
The next morning, I posted at Blakovery because I needed to feel like things were normal. A hug from one of the PAX and comforting words from others greeted me as I got out of my car. At the COT, Flipper talked about the importance of the Shield Lock. Little did he know there was a tangible example happening right before him.
On Tuesday, I didn’t want to post. But it was Rousey’s VQ. I don’t know him, but I wanted to provide him support. That is what we do. Instead, Rousey helped me. His energy and enthusiasm made me smile. The mumblechatter that ensued allowed me to laugh. Little did Rousey and the other PAX know, that sometimes, all it takes is to show up to form a Shield Lock.
Today was different. After launching from Devil’s Turn my legs felt like concrete, although the rest of my body felt good. I stopped and started to walk. The PAX running with me circled back to make sure I was OK. There was nothing wrong with my body, but my mind was somewhere else. In the still of the gloom, I realized things have been so hectic since Sunday, I hadn’t had time to grieve. On a dark, rainy morning, I found the space to grieve and the F3 brothers recognized I needed time alone. A Shield Lock takes many forms, one size does not fit all.
To all the men who have provided direct support, thank you.
To all the men who have provided support by just showing up, thank you.
So I post, show up, and intentionally develop relationships with other men so I can be part of the Shield Lock that has meant so much to me.
My hope is that you will do the same because what we do makes an impact in the lives of others because, sometimes, I don’t realize the importance of the Shield Lock until it shows up to help me.