The Matthew Good Blog Entry – Thanks Matt.

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For Jennifer

June 21, 2008,
Written by – Matthew Good

The most difficult aspect of my job is not to be found in the writing, production, or performance of music. It’s to be found in the stories that reach me, either after shows by individuals themselves or by email. I do not mention this to say that I think it an unfair burden, nor one that I wish I did not have to shoulder. I mention this because, in the end, we are all human and it is only right that we be remembered, even if only on the website of a musician.

This morning I received an email from Andrea Lystang of Edmonton, whose daughter Jennifer overdosed three weeks ago on medication prescribed to combat her fight against mental illness. Jennifer was 22 years old and leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter of her own, Abbey.

Despite being a single mother combating mental illness, Jennifer was, according to her mother, an impassioned and loving parent who loved Abbey with everything in her. But, as is often the case for those who cannot find a way out of the darkness no matter their attempts to do so, Jennifer was simply unable to overcome it. I realize that, to some of you, her suicide might seem deplorable given that she was a parent and had the welfare of her daughter to consider, but it is impossible for me to convey to those who have no understanding of the inner turmoil faced by those that have no sense of hope within themselves what it feels like when the cause of that blackness is something altogether overpowering.

I do not have the right to judge Jennifer, nor would I ever presume to ever possess that right. Equally, I do not believe that others, no matter their beliefs, have the right to judge her either. If there is a power greater than us, then I believe that power to be just and forgiving and overwhelmingly compassionate. Therefore, I believe that Jennifer will be welcomed by them with open arms and provided the relief that she could not find in this life.

My heart goes out to the Lystang family, and to Jennifer’s daughter Abbey, who will, I hope, in the years ahead, come to understand and be at peace with what ultimately took her mother’s life. Because while Jennifer was the instrument of her demise, she was not the cause, and that should never be overlooked nor forgotten. Like any other disease, mental illness takes lives. And while the majority of the people in this world may fail to view such deaths as the result of an illness because of their fashion, they are nonetheless the results of illness, not self-pity nor self-absorption. Any living thing trapped within a prison that endures its torture will instinctively attempt to escape. Ultimately, given that reality as it pertains to mental illness, Jennifer is free.

In the email that Jennifer’s mother sent me she said the following…

“Although Jennifer’s life was often a struggle, she found solace in your music. She attended many of your concerts. In fact, while cleaning her room, I found tickets to your upcoming Victoria show. She felt a connection with you through your music and your blog. She was relieved that you were sharing your struggle with bipolar disorder publicly, grateful that you were able to “normalize” mental illness.”

For my part, I am sorry that what little I have created and publicly said and advocated was not enough. Some might say that I have no reason to say such a thing, but the truth is that either we are all in this thing called life together or we aren’t. And if we are, then it must be.

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Where had my head gone ?

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Well… I felt it slip away.

Good evening all.

First off, Thank you so much for those of you that read my first couple entries, I had a couple friends tell me they enjoyed it, and my mom.  Thanks. It really means a lot.  I am using the blog, almost as way to cope, and to deal with my own personal struggles. So, by everyone reading it.  I see that you are in this war with me, whether simply to support, or if you live these same struggles yourself.  Either way, It is known, and appreciated.

Lately, I have been on the biggest Matthew Good kick.  He is after all, is hands down my favorite music artist, so that does explain some of it.  But, he is also one of the best individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting, and I can not think of a classier, well-deserved and more humbled artist/celebrity that I respect more.  Matt has always been an advocate to mental health, and a voice for myself, my mom, and especially my sister; Jennifer.  The three of us became, and remain the biggest Matt Good fans in the world, and it is only a matter of time till the young fellas develop the same appreciation.

However, maybe its because I, and my family can relate to Matt on a much more personal level.  As mentioned, he is a big mental health advocate, a role model and was awarded the 2008 Mental Health Voices Award for BC, much in large part due to his excellent work just talking about his illness, and struggles with Bi-polarity. It sounds so easy. All he did was talk, and he won an award.  Well, if it were that easy. So many more people would be alive. Maybe even Jennifer; We’ll never know.  But, talking about it, has and will keep people alive, if only we could all talk about mental health the way we do about sports, the way we do about movies, media, money, hell, even the way we talk about monsters.  James Holmes for example.  If there was as much press about mental health, and the social stigma destroying lives as there were about what James Holmes did when he was 12 years old on Christmas Eve.  Why do we care.  Maybe I am insensitive.  But, he is a monster, he attempted to kill a disturbing amount of people, senselessly.  But, the media and us are all wrapped into him.  Why.  I am willing to bet, you could write a biography on this monster, before you could name 4 of the victims.  This is wrong.  But, that is 2012.

Anyways! Whew. Wild tangent there.  One other thing you will learn while reading my blogs. I have a brain that races about 3000 thoughts a minutes.  I go on and on and on. I have a problem with “short and sweet” It took me awhile to adjust to twitter, they don’t allow for my rants.  WordPress does!!!

OK MATT GOOD! Christ.  Around 2008 is when I lost my sister.  Yes, the same year Matt won his award. I don’t know if he won it before, or after this. But, here is a brief (haha me..brief. haha)  telling of the kind of man Matt Good is, and the kind of people, that struggle with mental health are, for all you naysayers.

Not long after my sister lost her battle, She had tickets to for a scheduled MG show in Vic, (I believe, Vic) Of course, a MG show to Jen was simply euphoria for her.   My mom and I then went and got tickets to the Edmonton show.  Later, my mom emailed MG just telling him about Jen, and how much he meant to her.  A shot in the dark really, he is a celebrity with millions, and millions of fans, and his own wealth of problems  Why would he care. Wrong. He emailed her back promptly, requesting her and I to meet him outside the show at his bus.

Hours later, at the conclusion of the show, that was a sincere emotional challenge.  We made our way to MG exquisite bus. Not really knowing what to expect.  At the front of the line we were, and after the bouncer tried to shoo us off, finally he came back, apologized “Matt would like to see you” Off to the front of the bus we went, Matt, in his post concert wear, a Canadians t-shirt and jeans talked with us for quite awhile.  He chatted about his own struggles, our struggles, my sister, he talked about many things.  Most of all.  He just made us feel good, he took the time to care for strangers.  My mom happened to have a picture of my sister and Matt from a autograph session he did in BC.  This I will never forget, He asked if it were OK if he could keep the picture and keep it on his bus.  I was in total awe.  Here is a million dollar artist, that truly cares.  He really does.

After a long chat with Matt, He took the picture of Jen, and left my mom and I feeling better.  It was the first time I had a real conversation about mental illness with someone, despite it being more listening that anything.

A day or so later, Matt asked if he could write a blog about my sister, and he did.  It was really special, and I read it still today and it brings many a tear to my eyes. (will post shortly)

I just watched Matt play 2 shows in the last couple weeks in both Calgary & Edmonton, and after sending him an email to him last week, just thanking him for all he has done for not only my family, but for the entire community that dances with mental illness. He replied shortly after wishing my family the best, and saying how he was tremendously humbled by my comments.

I still wonder if Matt has that picture in his bus. But, some things I do know.  Is, If there were more personalities such as Matt in that world, Ours would be such a better place.

he means so much to my family, and myself.  And, I know my sister is still playing beautiful midnight upstairs, and I can catch us singing suburbia together sometimes.

Thats a real long one for tonight.

I will copy his blog about Jennifer to another post.

Thank you if you read it all.  Thank you if you read half. It means alot.

And, today… was a good day. We’ll see what tomorrow has in store, but we will talk tomorrow too.

– Good morning, Don’t cop out.

Well, Lets get started

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Thank you for reading my blog!  (if anyone really is)

My first “real” entry, I thought I would introduce myself a little bit, and mention the madness behind this blogging.

I’ve really always wanted to blog, I actually always wanted to enter journalism school, before I opted to move to Calgary and take sports business.  I often reflect on what would have been, had I gone the other route.  One thing is fore sure, as always was the case in school amongst my writings.  I am terrible with my mechanics!  But, I assure you my content will make up for any frustration my readings cause you.  My english teachers, (my lovely mother included) used to get so mad at me because I could write a nobel prize (not really) but I didn’t know where that damn semi colon went;  still dont.

Anyway, Enough.  My name is Blair Courchene.  I am a recent graduate of mount royal university.  I am a hockey fan.  A hockey coach. I love the game. I love sports.  I am dating a beautiful woman, so that I hope one day I have the pleasure of wedding. We share an amazing dog together, Kona. He’s beyond the best. So don’t tell me your dog rules.

My family, is crucial to me.  There is no one in the world that inspires me more.  Despite my fascination for Sidney Crosby.  My mom is role model, she is my best friend. I admire her, her strength, resiliency.  She is the only person, that I can truly talk too, and trust.  She has been through more, and overcame more than anyone deserves, and she continues to come out stronger and stronger each time.

My Dad, is just an absolute beautician. Wow.  Guys a legend, I too, admire his strength. Anyone that rode bulls. You have to hand it to them.

I have a pair of younger brothers, Kyle & Brody.  Kyle is a U of A science student, and an aspiring doctor.  Wait, No.  A doctor in the making.  Smartest guy I know.  He too, I admire tremendously for his strength and dedication.  He is an awesome kid.  Despite, his wretched taste in music, and having the “sherwood park attitude”

Brody, is the youngest of my Bro’s at 13.  Him and I are totally different, but I think its the best that way.  He has taught me so much about things I had zero clue about.  Hunting, Fishing… You know, Man stuff.  He is a hilarious kid, that too is real smart. What happened to me. He also, believe or not. Has been through more than any 13 year old needs to have gone through. Let alone a 63 year old.

My sister, unfortunately, a few years back lost her long battle with mental illness.  She is the motivation behind many of the things I try and accomplish. I miss her like you wouldn’t believe. And, I try and live each and every day for her with a smile on my face, and laugh as many times as I can because I knew that it wasn’t that easy for her.

Anywho. Moving on. That is a brief introduction of my family, and myself.  And more that I am generally comfortable saying. Which, in saying that.  Is becoming a partial motivator for this blog.  I want to talk. And, I will do so. I want to talk about mental illness, the struggles that I go through everyday waging that war, the struggles I have seen my family go through.  It has not been easy.  But, I try my damnedest to decimate the stigma of mental health.  But, I am one of the worst contributors to that stigma.  So, I have made a promise to myself after doing some self-realization, that – I am going to talk about it. And, I am going to talk about here, facebook, twitter, in daily conversation.  And, I’m sorry if you are offended by that.  But, if you are. Fuck you. You are the biggest problem to society, and this issue.

Thats enough for now!

As you can see. I get going, and talk about 10 things at once.  ADD? No way!

-Take Care

Welcome to goneawayboys Blog!

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I have set up this blog months ago, amidst the madness of my job hunting; post-post secondary.  Of course, I was too involved with PGA Tiger Woods 13, and NHL 12 too do either job hunt, or blog.

But, As I begin to approach a new “pro-active” lifestyle.  Here, I am.  Welcoming you to my blog.  And, by welcoming you.  That would mean that someone is following me.  And, for that I am very grateful.  You will not regret it!

4daboys blog, is a terrible name.  And, one that I will look to change.  However, I will bless you with a brief introduction to this blog, what it will mostly encompass, and things of the like.  Blog things!

Well, as a recent graduate student, and an extremely opinionated indiividual, I’d like to think this blog will serve as both comedic to you, thought-provoking, and at times maybe even therapeutic.

I say that, because, I have more wit that I do beer belly. I am very opinionated, and I am a strong advocate for mental illness, and plan to blog about everything from Taylor Halls absurd, reckless style of play to the struggles faced upstairs.

Thanks for following, I will follow back!

-Take Care

Blair