Time has marched on and recently passed five years since a tragic merge of circumstances led Shea to place himself in harm’s way. We have learned that time does not blunt the pain of loss but has included the new experiences and sustenance of strong love which has allowed survival and continued joy in life. For sure, our individual and collective strengths have been tested. Increasingly, though, we are able to reduce thoughts of “what could have been” and cherish the special time we shared with Shea and enjoy how that time and his spirit continue to touch us and many others.
Over this same time, we have learned about the incredible prevalence of challenges to mental health in our society. Few people have to look further than immediate family, or the mirror, to find substantive challenges to contentment, wide ranging from the many and varied forms of anxiety to the ravishes of schizophrenia. As varied as the afflictions are the attitudes and outcomes of sufferers and those around them, from denial and indifference to beautiful and effective support, lives ruined to folks living happy and productive lives while managing the impact of their challenges.
On the positive side, we have seen strong progress in community and societal awareness, empathy, and education over this half decade. Progress is being made in identifying effective therapies including drugs in many cases, but also the immense value of shared experience as with peer support, and an environment increasingly recognizing the signs of distress and managing them with better understanding and greater empathy. Progress has been strong but we have a very long way to go. Among the many challenges, is the development of more and better approaches to identify and address the “spaghetti bowl” of mental health and substance abuse problems.
Shea’s Chase has been a special part of our journey. It could never have played the role it has without the incredible love and support received by our family, friends, and our community at large. Words cannot capture the depth of our appreciation for this support as well as the daily doses of love outside of this event.
A dear friend of Shea recently told me, “what I love most about Shea’s Chase is that it captures the spirit of Shea so well; a fun time, inclusive, competitive if wanted, and a chance to be together with old and new friends”. Shea’s Chase is one way Shea continues to touch us and impact us positively as he would have. There are many other ways and we continue to discover them and are getting better at embracing them.
Thanks for the chance to share this update and we look forward to seeing you at our fifth Shea’s Chase this November 2, 2019. As always, it will be an event reflecting Shea’s joys and will benefit Mental Health Greensboro. MHG is leading the way locally to support many, educate, reduce stigma, and collaborate with other wonderful organizations to improve the delivery of effective solutions.
With love and great appreciation,
– The McKenna Family