Jamie Reidy shares the story of a father who walked from Philadelphia to Boston to raise awareness of the disease that drove his son to suicide.
CNN published a personal essay by Denis Asselin, the 63-year old man grieving the loss of his son. Nathaniel, 24, suffered from the rare body dysmorphic disorder, a condition related to obsessive compulsive disorder. Unable to cope with it any longer, the young man took his own life.
I’d never heard of BDD before reading this article. I certainly never imagined walking more than 50 miles—and never acted on that thought—let alone 525. Mr. Asselin writes:
That is exactly what I did on Tuesday, April 21, when I walked out my front door in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, and began my seven-week journey by foot to Boston. I invited in possibilities and gave myself permission to be open, attentive and present.
My huge undertaking has become a journey of faith where I allow true learning to happen.
I cannot imagine being alone with my thoughts for that long, especially when swimming in grief and anger and the inevitable, “What else could I have done to stop my boy from killing himself?” that every parent must face in that situation, even if they’ve done everything possible.
Of the 10 things Denis lists as having learned on his journey, my favorite is the second:
You can never fully know whose life you will touch by making yourself available to others and by speaking from the heart.
This is gonna be a movie, no doubt. And I will undoubtedly be paying to see it in the theater.
What would you be willing to undertake to raise awareness of something close to you?