Please do not worry, this is not my issue, but when reading a study like this, I start to think that one of the leading reasons for male suicide is our male identity as providers and contributors. We define ourselves by our work or professions, before anything else. When our situation changes, including the loss of a spouse, the loss of a business, a job failure, or anything that we used to define us, then according to the article, suicide is up.
“What can I do to make a difference?”
My Hebrew language is not good enough to follow orders. My health, while very good for an older fellow (B”H), is not good enough for the infantry. I read and listen to everything about the World and its politics, write thousands of words that nobody reads, could be an advisor to prime ministers and presidents - yet the phone does not ring. I could take to social media and start my own war with the largely anonymous folks that have lots of time to write smart replies to everyone’s posts. While not suicidal, I start to feel useless.
Lately, I am driving a patrol in the middle of the night with a friend and my dog. While the friend is armed, we are advised that we are to only report the enemy and to not engage. The dog has sharp eyes and sees what we old timers don’t see. Usually a fox or a wild dog. We are a supplement to regular patrols. This seems to work for me, as I feel that I am contributing in the way that I can, protecting my community by keeping my eyes open, in the middle of the night. I take comfort in the fact that there are other simultaneous patrols - the guys and girls who will engage if necessary.
I told Karen, the XYL, the other night that I was feeling useless now, in the war. She reminded me that while all of the young men, who work in the businesses that I support, are out in the war, I am holding it together by doing my job, working with my clients, supporting my family, being a grandfather to my grandchildren who see me every week, being a friend, publishing my podcast, and holding down the homefront by being there for her, and walking the dog.
I guess that I didn’t really think this through. I would have come to the same conclusion that just being me, and doing my regular routine, and driving the patrol, was still a significant contribution to the homefront and my community. And may it take a message like this, from a guy like me, to remind you that just being a part of the lives of the people that we live with, work with, and play with, makes a difference in their lives that we may take for granted. We do make a difference. I know that as ham radio operators, we can contribute to the lives of others just by checking into a morning net, and making a phone call when a regular check in is missed. We can remind ourselves and our fellow hams that they matter, even when they think that they don’t.