Dak, you don’t know me, however I felt deeply compelled to reach out to you.
First and foremost, there are simply no words. I am so deeply sorry for your tragic loss. I don’t know how you’re back on the field. I hope it’s what keeps you going. I hope the team is your family… the people who lift you up and make your life better.
I’ve been a Cowboys fan my entire life. People always ask me why, because I’m from the suburbs of Detroit. My smartass answer is that I was a child prodigy and knew The Lions would never EVER win, so I had to pick another team, and why not pick America’s Team. The truth? Because my Papa, my dad’s dad, taught me to look up at the stars if I was missing my Grandpa (my mom’s dad) when I was 5 years old. I’m thinking I associated those stars with the stars on The Cowboys helmets as a little girl, and the rest is history.
Maybe that’s why you’re my all-time favorite player. Because you look to the sky, towards your mom, so often, and that just warms my heart. Long before I ever knew that’s a connection that we’d share. But the truth is, I’ve followed you since before then. Why?
I’m not sure. I’m a defense girl. My favorite players have always been on that side of the ball. When I moved from Michigan to Colorado to marry my husband, Demarcus Ware was traded from Dallas to Denver, and I playfully said he was following me. It was certainly the only way my hubby could get me to wear a Broncos jersey.
But I’ve followed great high school players through college my whole life. I’ve followed players with great OFF the field behavior my whole life. And so I’ve always followed you and then you lost your mom. My heart broke for you. And then you became a Cowboy. My heart soared for me.
When I saw your conversation with Samantha Ponder, I realized that it’s much more. I’m a psychologist, I’m also a lifelong anxiety sufferer. I lost my husband two years and nine months ago today. I now believe I’m meant to connect with you for these reasons….
My agent and publicist tells me that I have to have an ask. I truly don’t want anything from you. My heart aches for you and all I want is to know that you’re ok and have the support that you need to get through this traumatic time. The world certainly hasn’t been kind to you lately.
However, I must say that I believe we can make a difference in the mental health world together. I have been on a mission to break the stigmas surrounding mental health for years. When I heard you say that you now have a similar goal, I felt compelled to find a way to connect with you.
I’ve recently launched a program called Griefhab, a 24/7 support system similar to rehab, because I know how much help I needed when I lost my husband. There’s no support like this when people suffer a loss, and it’s so necessary. Who knows this better than you? I’d love to interview you for a quick ten minutes and share it with my side of the world helping others turn their pain into power. Would you be willing to do this or at the very least, I can send you 5 questions to reply to that I can share with the thousands of people I help everyday?
I believe the pandemic has created mental health issues for millions and we have an opportunity to really make a difference. I’m contacted daily by parents, teachers, and employers asking how they can create a positive mental health environment. This is the time, and you have a platform that people notice, unlike myself. Thank you for recognizing that and wanting to use it for such a relevant and necessary topic.
My biggest concern is truly that you are ok and will get through your brother’s passing. I can’t imagine being in the public eye during such a private time. I wish I could say or do more to give you some comfort in this difficult time.
PS- My 8 year old pup, Sassy, was grieving almost as much as I was after we lost Jim. She’s a handful to begin with, and I had been teasing Jim for months telling him he was going to come home one day to a second dog named Dallas. He said he’d let me get another dog but he refused to name her Dallas (did I mention he hates the cowboys? You’ll be comforted to know that he hates the eagles even more). It was breaking my heart watching Sassy grieve, so after spending our anniversary where we got married in the mountains, we came home and got another puppy and of course named her Dallas. She’s a little bundle of joy, and she definitely brought the joy back into our family and our home. It was the beginning of both of our journeys to healing. Here’s a picture from a recent photo shoot we took for some of my upcoming projects. Sassy is the bigger, brown one and Dallas is the little grey one.
My thoughts are with you,
Dr. Samantha Ruth