Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Own Goal

As a soccer fan, I was shocked to read the headline yesterday about Robert Enke, a German goalkeeper who apparently, willfully, lethally, put himself in the path of a train. According to all reports, he was to be named Germany's starting goalkeeper in next year's World Cup.

And as a soccer fan, may it be said I would've been drawn to this story whether he was a German goalie or a Ugandan midfielder, and as a human being I would have kept reading the story -- whether he played soccer or not.

I wrote about attempted suicide in the second post I ever wrote for this blog. I remember that particular story and person being a small paradigm shift of sorts for me: pain is yours, no matter the cause. And gratefully, my pain at that moment was no where near as great. Poor Owen Wilson gave me relativity, exemplified my first lesson in pain olympics, and proved that despite my shitty circumstances I was able to still show sympathy, and empathy. And did I mention gratefulness of my own pitiful condition? I should underscore that: I wanted to disappear, but at the end of that metaphor, I always wanted to come back.

I don't know what drives people to want to end their lives, but I no longer compare rationales because in the end it's moot: it's what the individual feels, and who am I to judge what someone feels?

Buried at the end of the saga of Enke, the lovely quotes from coaches and teammates and fans, descriptions of mourning taking place, pictures of candles and flowers, was this:

Enke is survived by his wife and eight-month-old daughter, who the couple adopted.

The couple's two-year-old daughter died in 2006 from a heart condition, and [soccer commentator and journalist Rafael] Honigstein said the loss of his child had taken a toll on Enke.

That brought me to my knees. Because I do know this pain. I just don't know his.

Rest in peace, Robert. And my profound sympathy to his family.


Megan said...

That poor, poor man and now his poor, poor family.

"I wanted to disappear, but at the end of that metaphor, I always wanted to come back."

This, exactly. Although I used to think that if it ever got too much I COULD just kill myself. It was strangely comforting.

loribeth said...

Oh my gosh. I read about this in the morning paper -- however, the story I read mentioned the adoption, but not the loss that preceded it. Typical...!!

My heart just goes out to him & to him family. :(

Sue said...

Wow. Tears.

Throughout my life, I've struggled with depression. I never, ever considered suicide. It never really occurred to me until last year. And not so much wanting to die, as not wanting to live, not like this. I try not to think about what might have happened if I had not gotten help when I did.

Having a rough time, lately, and trying to feel grateful for what I do have. I have a lot.

I am grateful.

And yet. I understand.

*Interesting how the article saved the loss for last. Also, I wonder if it had been a woman who had killed herself, if the story would be structured similarly.

G$ said...

I'm glad they saved it for last, for the footnote. Too many stories about death driving people (usually crazy DB mothers) to suicide.

I feel for him and his family. We can never understand the pain, but as you say we can feel empathy.

M's youngest brother committed suicide at age 18. It's left such a profound mark on his large family. But mostly it left sadness that none of them ever really knew his pain.

Aunt Becky said...

My heart is heavy.

c. said...

How awful, Tash. Just. how. awful.

Which Box said...

What a story. And then what a footnote.

Beruriah said...

Me too.

And yes, I suppose I have considered suicide. But many people in my family actually tried it, and I have not. Yet I feel that precipice, and wonder.

k@lakly said...

It's strange isn't it, the perspective and how it is all a matter of it. I'm speechless. I can't even imagine choosing to leave my child(ren) and yet to him it seemed the better option. How do you even begin to wrap your mind around that?

loribeth said...

I read this in the paper today. The story just gets sadder & sadder the more I learn:

"But he was also a father wracked by depression and grief after his baby girl, Lara, died of a rare heart condition in 2006. He and his wife, Teresa, adopted another baby eight months ago, but Mr. Enke was terrified his new daughter would be taken away if anyone found out about his depression, his wife revealed yesterday."


Kymberli said...

I don't often find myself at a loss for words, but there are so many facets to the sadness I feel on the different levels of grief (his, yours, and your identification to his), that I am unable to articulate it.

janis said...

This just breaks my heart.

charmedgirl said...

i can't help but wonder if the adoption made him realize he couldn't replace her. of course, we can never know, and we can NEVER replace. sometimes, although "time" "heals" "all", there's just no way through.

so, so sad.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I hadn't read about this until now. It was such a stilling post.

Elle said...

What a stirring, soulful, beautifully written post. I wanted to disappear too when my son took his life two months after witnessing his father's suicide. For the first year, I thought, "I wish I could evaporate and no longer be. I wish I had never lived." Two years later tears spring up unexpectedly. It will be so forever I believe.

I too am so sorry for this young man and his family. Everything to live for we think. Unfortunately, he didn't think so.

I hope for comfort and peace for all who are in pain, for all who have experienced crushing loss.

Thinking about you.

CLC said...

Just got back from Ireland and of course this was all over the news. I noticed that many of the newscasts I saw didn't even mention the death of his daughter. But it did show up at the end of article in the Ir.ish Exam.iner. On one hand I was relieved because they didn't portray him as crazed over the death of his daughter, which we have seen as a common depiction, at least of moms. They just mention that he has struggled with depression for years. But then on the other hand, I wanted to highlight that part of the article and show it to everyone and say "see, this is what the death of a child can do to you- it's that bad on some days".

Of course I did and said nothing. Even when my husband's family brought it up trying to figure out why he was depressed. I am just tired of trying to explain.

Michele said...

i remember his daughter's death... it broke my heart.

his poor family. prayers...