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Alan Vervaeke and Russ Wiles are polar opposites politically, but share common ground when it comes to human tragedy

To The Daily Sun,

Alan Vervaeke and I are polar opposites politically, but it seems we share common ground regarding human tragedy. I thought his recent heartfelt letter about his brother was nothing short of terrific. It must have taken a lot of courage to write about such a close and personal tragedy. A tragic loss that happened to him not so very long ago.

Alan's letter was brilliant because he painted such a masterful picture of the pain that one suffers in order to contemplate, let alone attempt suicide. As I read his letter slowly, since one does not read this sort of gut-wrenching message quickly, I could feel Alan's pain. He obviously had a special bond with his brother after having spent so many memorable times together. I hope Alan derives much pleasure and comfort from those memories. I'm sure he does judging by the way he described his brother to us in his Saturday, Dec. 17, letter.

Alan is correct when he asserts that depression lies to the person caught in its mind-altering grip. It can indeed create an impenetrable fortress that blocks out the light, as he describes it. It is very difficult to convince someone they have worth when their inner voice incessantly reminds them that they have no value. I recently spoke to someone who had attempted suicide. I asked this person about remembering those that would miss her so terribly if she were gone. This person said that she was at a place where she could not believe that others would miss her. She rather believed that they would be better off if she were not around to continue to "mess up their lives," as she described her thinking in those moments of desperation.

Alan is also right when he says we must not be afraid to talk about this issue. Most of us have either suffered with depression or know of family and friends who have been afflicted with its devastating consequences. No one should feel embarrassed about being depressed because, though it may be invisible to others, it can be every bit as painful as a broken bone, and sometimes more so, yet much more difficult to heal.

I wrote about depression in a letter to the Sun on Aug. 14, 2014, shortly after suicide ended the life of Robin Williams. I do not remember there being any response, which is why I wanted to respond to Alan's heartfelt letter and impassioned plea to bring this issue out of the shadows and into the open, in the hope that one of us can reach a sibling, parent, son, daughter or friend before it is too late. We must all not be afraid to reach out to someone who is feeling isolated and hopeless. His letter is a grim, yet hopeful reminder to honor, cherish and spend time with all those we care about who are still with us to celebrate life.

I would like to offer Alan Vervaeke my condolences for the loss of a brother who meant so very much to him and to thank him for sharing his pain and loss with us. I do wish him the best during this holiday season. I hope his circle of family and friends will bring him some measure of comfort and peace as we approach the new year.

Russ Wiles

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Steve Earle’s letters are, at times, a bit hard to swallow

To The Daily Sun,
I do not know you, Steve Earle, so I will not pass judgment on you, but I find your letters at times a bit to hard to swallow. You cannot simply put an entire race or religion in one lump sum. It is not political correct, morally right, or just simply kind.
I grew up in the city and I had many friends who were of all different colors and religions. They were my friends and I cherished them as such. I understand some of what you are expressing; sadly I do. I have seen it before growing up, but I never got the full picture of that “hate and fear” until I got older.
I, too, fell into that belief and fear on a few occasions and it was wrong. I was wrong. Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all African Americans are murderers, not all Hispanics are lazy, not all Chinese want our jobs, and the list could go on. But, you get my point, I am sure. Sadly, it takes a few bad apples to ruin the bunch, remember that old saying?! Well, your mother was right. You, sir, are wrong in my book. Please don’t try to label me as a bleeding heart liberal, because I can assure you I am not.
I believe in right and wrong. I believe in fairness and equality. I also believe in swift hard punishment for justice. Some may not like that belief; I do not care. I feel the punishment should fit the crime. I hope in my next life to come back as a Texas judge. How’s that for a bleeding heart syndrome?
I, too, am sick of the free rides and whining by many, including a lot of whites. Yes, the whites (that would be us) are just as bad as any group you many toss under the bus.
You like statics and quotes. Look up our past history. We are not so squeaky clean throughout it. We to have done some pretty awful stuff to each other and many, many others for the past few centuries. And it will continue if people such as yourself and others continue to do, say, and believe it to be so. I cannot believe, nor understand, all the hate that is out in this world right now. It is saddening and fearful. So much poverty, sickness, sadness, and yet we hate each other more and more as the years go by.
And global warming is happening. Look out your window. I believe the Earth is changing as it has done many times before. I think it is part of nature, but I also believe it is happening at a faster rate due to our own misuse of this planet. We are a greedy, needy bunch globally and now we are seeing what we have caused and some do not care or want to believe it. But, it is happening and hopefully we can all help slow it down for future generations. The damage will never just go away.
I know you love Trump. I do not. But he is the next president and none of this nonsense others are trying will stop that fact. I never cared which party won. I just wanted a good honest person in office. I hope he will not make a fool of this country or cause us to go to war. I hope he helps the economy and keeps more jobs here for us all. And not just for his rich buddies and himself to get richer.
The presidency is not a joke. Being a president is not a “whim” thing. I hope he lives up to all your exceptions and I pray he does not live up to my doubts, fears, and concerns.
I guess that is all from me. I hope you have a peaceful 2017 Mr. Earle.
Denise C. Burke

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