By Richard Ray:
The CEO and one of the founders of Golden Krust, a seemingly successful restaurant chain with over 120 stores (mostly franchises) in 9 states and products sold in groceries stores in over 30 states, died. Lowell Hawthorne, a Jamaican immigrant, who worked as a NYPD accountant for nine years before starting the business with his wife and other family members, appears to have died from a self inflicted gun shot in one of their Bronx factories.
His last Facebook post gave little to no warning of distress or trouble:
I was always in search of the next honest means to make a dollar. Like many transplanted Caribbean nationals, I struggled to work and raise a family. I can only thank God for everything I have achieved, and if my story here can inspire others to rise up and give it a go, then I would have succeeded in doing something meaningful.
Lowell Hawthorne and Golden Krust appeared to symbolize the quintessential story of the American dream. However, while we know very little details surrounding the circumstances that lead to Hawthorne taking his own life, his death highlights another more common reality and that is despite public appearances we rarely know what goes on inside people’s most intimate lives and thoughts.
An irony to that statement is that the availability and use of social media is often accused of being used by people to overshare aspects of their lives especially ones that most of us think should remain private. Yet, while the platforms allow sharing of the most intimate details to the public, we must not forget that most people only choose to share their best selves.
People are propped for inspirational verses and memes and sometimes judged when they share private anguish. You don’t believe me just ask Tyrese. We are far too ready to judge others for not having a grip on their personal lives when the reality is that the vast majority of us share the same struggles of financial issues, relationship problems, family drama, work and other interpersonal issues. Most of us do not choose to share our downs (the UPS are what have made Facebook and Instagram multi-billion dollar companies) publicly. While I do not disagree with that aspect of not sharing too much of yourself publicly (good or bad), unfortunately many of us are just keeping all of our anguish to ourselves and that conversely is potentially as negative as oversharing publicly.
You cannot keep all of your problems bottled inwardly and completely private. Sometimes you just need to talk about things as a means of working through stress and possibly having someone else help you recognize medical treatments for depression that we might not have been able to identify solely on our own.
Despite public and social media appearances you never really know what people are going through. If you realize that people are struggling for whatever reasons, don’t judge or criticize. Minimally express empathy, but if you have nothing nice or positive to say… do not say anything. It is not always easy to understand the feelings of others. What may be overwhelming to others may be easy for you to process and put into perspective. Just remember the converse is always true in your imperfect life.
Our world today can use a lot less judging (not to be confused with people having educated opinions) and a lot more empathy for one another. You never know, that empathy expressed toward another could possibly make a difference for someone who has lost hope. At the very least it is putting positiveness in a world that we all know needs no additional negativity.
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