On June 6, 2011, Tanya Lim telephoned her brother, Eric, to apologize for an argument the pair had had two or three months earlier . . .
'I just want you to know that I love you very much and I'm so proud of you,' she said, before hanging up the phone. It was to be the last time that Eric spoke to his sister.
Later, the same day, the telephone rang again. This time it was Eric's father on the line. 'We've lost your sister,' he said. Tanya, at the age of 30, and having struggled with clinical depression all her adult life, had committed suicide.
Tanya left Eric $25,000 (rather tragically, this had been a wedding fund that she never needed) and instructions to use the funds to further his career as an aspiring film-maker.
Struggling to lift himself, Eric came close to throwing in the towel. That he didn't - choosing instead to stand tall and battle through the dark times - makes him an inspiration to us all here at OM®. That his motivation has been to honor his sister and use his own experiences to help those fighting their own demons has struck quite a chord in our studio.
You see, Eric did some research and found that more than 38,000 Americans commit suicide every year. The latest statistics suggest that, between 2008 and 2009, more than eight million adults in the United States alone admitted to having suicidal thoughts. For those aged between 15 and 24, suicide is the third highest cause of death. Eric realized that something that had started out as a personal tragedy was, in fact, something that connected families all over the country.
The conclusions he reached were that, from time to time, EVERYONE experiences pain, EVERYONE faces dark times and that EVERYONE needs a helping hand. Eric made it his mission to lend one.
He used his considerable skills as a film-maker, pouring his heart and soul and all the creative juices that he could summon into a four-minute movie that is called The Forge. It is intended, he says, 'for anyone hurting'.
It is dramatic and big on special effects. It features a monster (the manifestation of pain and death) and, in places, it is violent and difficult to endure.
Yet, with its powerful message, it is making a big difference to those most in need. Those in a dark place. Those struggling to take the hits. You might be struggling. You might want to watch this:
To quote Eric, 'I wish I could have told her a little earlier how important she was to me. That's the idea of the film, to let everyone know how important they are'. It is a beautiful notion and one that we're keen to share.
Tough times are, as Stephen Reedy, The Forge's director, notes 'Something that everyone struggles with at some point', adding 'We wanted people to know that they're not alone in this'. It is something, he says, that connects us all as human beings. It is just in our make-up. The important thing is education, and teaching people that there are ways of dealing with it.
The main way is to stick together. To provide love, help and support. To make people aware that they're not alone. To let them know how important they are. To shine a light on the dark places. To help them to beat their demons. To help them to take the hits and use the experience to better their lives.
Using the blacksmith analogy, The Forge shows us that everyone gets hit but that each hit shapes us into something better. No-one wants to face the inevitable forces of pain. But if we stand tall, stick together and remain connected, we can all come through anything.
Here's to some inspirational people, and here's to YOU (and remember, when times are tough, there's always someone to help, you just need to let them in) . . .