Fighting the Deadliest Foe: The Demons Within
The Warrior Project is about the terrible battle some of us carry on inside ourselves, a battle that is far more dangerous than it seems, because it is often silent and unseen… and can end in sudden, tragic death.
My husband – my soul-mate, the love of my life – John Kelly Snyder, was a warrior. An engineer and a musician, with the inappropriate jokes of a pirate and the heart of a marshmallow, he was the best man I have ever known.
But he fought demons that he could not vanquish, demons that all of our great love for one another could not extinguish.
Johnny died on October 21st, 2016 after too many years of physical and emotional pain. I am left behind, heartbroken and demanding to know why I, a lifelong social worker, could not fix things.
One of John’s favorite poems was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Skeleton in Armour”:
The ending is particularly apt…
“In the vast forest here,
Clad in my warlike gear,
Fell I upon my spear,
O, death was grateful!
“Thus, seamed with many scars,
Bursting these prison-bars,
Up to its native stars
My soul ascended!
There from the flowing bowl
Deep drinks the warrior’s soul,
Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!”
– Thus the tale ended.
In the two weeks since Johnny took his own life, I’ve talked to many who have hovered on the edge of that precipice… but who found a tiny glimmer of hope at that last minute, enough to change plans that had been thought out and nearly executed.
And I’ve relived old conversations with others who lost a loved one to the abyss of despair.
The Warrior Project isn’t yet fully thought out – my beloved husband’s death is too recent, my own screaming pain still too raw. However, this I know: my purpose in developing The Warrior Project is very personal and very selfish – to honor the best man I’ve ever known.
And the mission is clear: to prevent suicides by identifying those at risk, and helping them find that one ray of hope that tomorrow could be a much better day.
For more information about John, you can read his full-length obituary at https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com/about-us-a-tribute-to-john-k-snyder/