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I don’t ever recall seeing this phrase before, but apparently it was a popular rallying cry for the British right before the start of World War II.  The Ministry of Information printed roughly 2.5 million of these posters as part of a campaign to keep morale high for the Brits under the threat of impending invasion.  It worked and with a little help from the good old USA, the rest is history.  I saw this slogan on a car in front of me as I was driving home yesterday, and I needed to see it because I was not calm.  In fact,  I was freaking out a little because in about three weeks I am going to do the Out Of the Darkness Walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention, and my own personal awareness of this subject was on the rise again.  I lost not one, but two brothers to suicide and quite frankly I’d rather be unaware of this fact if possible.  Ignorance is bliss.

Well I was having one of those moments that come with any tragedy.  Sometimes you’re good and sometimes not so good, and at this particular moment—-I wasn’t so good.  I had just left a post on FB about asking God to make me strong enough to get through this walk and I was having my doubts if I even wanted to do the walk.  TRUST ME—I am going to do the walk, but there are times when I feel like I picked a scab on an old wound that maybe I should have just left it alone.

Now when I get in this funk and I have access to a computer, I go to the donor page for the walk and I read the comments people submit when they leave their donations.  Here is a small sample:

Dennis your heart is where it needs to be right now.. They are both shining down on you. Just remember their laughs and smiles your heart will heal in time

Dennis, I did not know your story but am so glad you are sharing it and stepping up to raise awareness. And while the deaths of your two brothers were losses that I cannot fathom, I think it is rather cool of God to give you two sons – not as replacements, because Mark and Matt could never be replaced, but just as a reminder of how much He loves you. Thanks for sharing your story.

Hey Dennis, good luck with the walk, this is a great way to give back and honor your brothers. All the best…

Need I say how I feel!!! You go Dennis for Matt and Mark!!!!

So proud of you for sharing this story. I am glad to help.

We are blessed to have the Gillan family in our lives and honored to call you our friends.

Good for you Dennis–thank you for reminding all of us that we can’t let loved ones and friends suffer in silence. We have to let them know that there is help out there.

I am one of the many who are proud of you.

Nobody more deserving than you, Dennis. You continue to enrich the lives of everyone who knows you. You, my friend, show us all how to Choose Life.

What a tragic story. To share this with so many takes courage and I respect that greatly. I sincerely hope you shatter your goal!

Dennis, I admire you as a person and a friend for what you are doing.

Dennis, You are a very special person and have touched the lives of many people, young and old

Dennis, we are so blessed to have the Gillan Family in our lives! You definate
ly make the world a brighter place! You have such a postive vibe 🙂 Thanks for all you do and we are glad we can help support you with this cause.

While we can’t always determine why things like this happen, we must have faith in God to honor those we have lost to better our lives and the lives of others. We are happy to help support this cause. 

I think about Mark & Matt a lot and can’t imagine what it was and is like for you and your family. Your life, optimism, faith, good humor and wilingness to give back is an inspiration and the best anyone could do to try and heal those wounds and prevent others from going through that same terrible path. 

The money is great, but it’s the comments that keep me going.  A well placed word of encouragement can do miracles and these kind words put a spring in my step every time I read them.  So much so that when this is all   said and done I will put together a compilation of all the statements and put them here on this blog to show you all how good people can be when asked to help.  Amazingly good.

Now back to that bumper sticker—Keep Calm and Carry On.  I needed a sign from God that I can do this walk and the car in front of me was kind enough to oblige, but this positive phrase wasn’t the first thing that caught my eye on this vehicle.  As I pulled up behind the car at a red light I noticed the letters on the license plate were my initials:  DMG, as in Dennis Martin Gillan.  Weird, I thought and then my eyes moved right and saw the 1939 rallying cry of the UK.  Hmm.

Marinate on this, at a time when I needed an encouraging word and I was driving alone at the time, God had a Toyota Highlander pull in front of me that basically said:  DMG—Keep Calm and Carry On.

Good timing God, will do.

Dennis Gillan

Author Dennis Gillan

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