On the 28th anniversary of your suicide I climbed a mountain. Not figuratively. Literally.

I hiked to the top of Mount Cheaha, the way you might have done.

I was in town for a writing gig. Traveling solo. My wife was back home, cleaning up dog poop, giving dog baths, and feeding our dogs so they could continue to make more poop.

I had an entire day to kill. So I checked into the Holiday Inn Express in Talladega. I drove into the undiluted wilderness. And I hiked a mountain.

It was beautiful. Quiet. Nobody around for miles. I arrived at the first overlook, walked to the edge and was overawed.

The world looked like a tiny train model set. Lots of trees. Tiny ribbon-like roadways, cutting through forests. Lakes that looked like puddles.

Cheaha Mountain stands at 2,413 feet above sea level. It is the highest natural point in Alabama. Which means that, at this exact moment, I was standing closer to heaven than anyone else in the Twenty-Second State. Not figuratively, literally.

And I thought of you. I thought about the day you left us. I thought of your red hair. Your freckled skin. And the way you smelled when you would hug me.

You smelled like Speed Stick Musk deodorant. After you died I started wearing your deodorant brand, just so I could smell you all day long.

Then one day, the supermarket quit selling your particular scent. They only sold Speed Stick “Regular,” or Speed Stick “Ocean Surf,” whatever that is. And you were gone forever.

Many years later, I was wandering through a Dollar General when, by chance, I found Speed Stick Musk on a shelf. I didn’t even know they still made it.

I bought it. When I got to the parking lot, I removed the lid and smelled it. I wept like a child.

Now it’s the only scent I wear.

Today on the mountain, I was thinking about all this. About how you hated coffee. How you loved black licorice. How you went all out when decorating for Halloween.

About how you used to cut my hair. You used army surplus horse clippers and cut my hair using the eyeball method. And after every haircut I looked like an extremely young naval officer.

I remembered how you used to whistle while you hiked in the mountains. You were a terrible whistler.

I remember how you used to smoke cigarettes when you didn’t think anyone was watching. I remember your favorite beer. Your favorite movies. Your favorite ballplayers. Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Your favorite Bond movie. Your favorite book. “Chesapeake Bay” by James A. Michener.

So these are the things I thought about while I was climbing a staircase of rocks on Mount Cheaha.

I spent the whole day hiking upward. Remembering. Replaying your life. A life that ended when you pulled the trigger.

And then something happened to me.

Deep into the afternoon, I was getting tired. I was nine miles into the trail. My foot slipped. And I fell down a staircase of rocks. I broke my fall with both hands, and tumbled onto the ground.

I was bleeding, but not badly. Covered in dirt. My hands were scraped. And I was embarrassed.

So I just laid on the ground. Gazing at the sky. I don’t even know why. I should have gotten up, but I was too stunned. The blood on my hands and hip was seeping through the fabric of my clothes.

Then I got off the ground.

I think all that matters in this life is that you get up after you fall. I know it sounds trite, but it’s true. And even if you fall again, you keep getting back up. That’s the deal. That’s what it means to be human.

You fall. You bust your butt. But you stand up again. Repeat.

Somehow, just by doing this, you start to learn stuff about what it means to be a person. You get stronger with each disaster. A little wiser. And less afraid of falling again. A little less anxious.

I dusted myself off. I wiped the blood with my T-shirt, I took a sip of water, and I kept hiking.

Because today is an important day. Today is the day I remember the gift you inadvertently gave me when you took your own life.

Today, I am no longer the little boy whose father died by suicide. I am a man now. A man whose life ambition is to help others who have fallen. The way others have help me. And that was the gift your suicide gave to me, John Dietrich. You made me want to be a helper.

I don’t know if I’m actually helping anyone or not. But do you know what? I’m not lying on the ground anymore, and that’s something.

Today I climbed a mountain. Not just literally. But figuratively, too.


  1. PMc - September 15, 2022 7:42 am

    Dear John Dietrich, you have an awesome son, and I think he is so kind and caring because of the depth of pain he felt without you all these years. He doesn’t want anyone to experience pain so he is always in a mode of trying to lift us up. And you know, he does in his writings and is never shy about telling us he loves us. What a wonderful man he is…I know you are proud and one day you will get to tell him so.
    Peace and Love from Birmingham 🙏♥️

    • Carol from GA - September 15, 2022 8:37 am

      You are the epitome of a “helper” Sean… and I know your Daddy thinks so too. Thank you as always for making the rest of us feel better.

    • Anne Arthur - September 15, 2022 12:38 pm


  2. Debbie Johansen - September 15, 2022 7:58 am

    Thank you, Sean. Thank you for being a guy who helps.

    I love your writing and have bought 3 of your books so far. I plan to use your words to teach my kids to be writers. Thanks.

    Debbie Johansen, an old lady school teacher, 2nd grade Reading/Writing/Language/Spelling

  3. STEVE MOORE WATKINS - September 15, 2022 8:16 am

    Pitru Paksha. Hindu tradition of remembering our ancestors began September 10.

  4. Ed (Bear) - September 15, 2022 8:18 am

    You are helping me every time I read and see your work. I’m glad you got up and literally figuratively climbed a mountain..

  5. Nell - September 15, 2022 9:25 am

    Thank you Sean.

  6. Robin - September 15, 2022 9:51 am

    You help others every day. Keep up the good words🙂

  7. JOHN D'ANTONI - September 15, 2022 10:02 am

    Your Father committed suicide, Sean. Mine just left, and left me wondering for years what was wrong with me. I have written repeatedly in my personal journal, or as I call it, my “stream of incoherence”, “There is dark and empty hole in my life where the memory of my Father should be”. Every day you help me put some of that darkness aside. Keep climbing.

  8. E H - September 15, 2022 10:04 am

    You most definitely help Sean! I appreciate your willingness to touch on darker subjects that seem to be taboo. Keep shining your light!

  9. Ronald Blankenship - September 15, 2022 10:17 am

    You ARE helping someone… me for one. Thanks

  10. stephenpe - September 15, 2022 10:21 am

    Chesapeakei is my favorite Michener book, too. I probably read it three times. This was a good one, Sean. We love you,buddy.

  11. Jocelyn P - September 15, 2022 10:25 am

    Every-time I read your column I feel better even if only for a few mins. So on a daily basis you become my feel good and think better source. Cheers! I love ya.

  12. Oliver Rhett Talbert - September 15, 2022 10:29 am

    Keep gettin’ up. You’ve got this.
    I’m at the age where every fall reminds me of an old guy I saw on the hard linoleum floor of a grocery store where I shopped regularly. BIG old guy. Slid on a piece of lettuce. I saw him on his back after the fall, waiting for an ambulance. I’ll never forget the terror in his eyes that seemed to say,
    “This is it. I’ll be on my back – somewhere – until the day I die.”
    Get up until one day you can’t. Then start thinking of a New Life.

  13. Ernie in River City - September 15, 2022 10:34 am

    Thanks. You’ve helped many. Me. My bride. Others whose email address I have and use when I think they could use your help. We’re grateful. Keep encouraging us to get up again. We need it. And you.

  14. Dolores - September 15, 2022 10:35 am

    Hurt equals discontent: discontent takes many forms. Anger and self pity are just two: both are extremely prevalent today.

    If we care to look, not one of us has led a charmed life. We’re all the walking wounded. The enemy has seized the opportunity of our hurt. Along with our disconnect from God, our unbelief. Sadly we’re now living with the bitter fruit of the removing of God nearly everywhere.

    I wasted most of my life bouncing between both sinful feelings. Even in our messes, God is trying to deliver a message and redeem what was once a tragedy. If you finally take the focus off yourself, he’ll plant a purpose in its place, usually one of servitude. And that’s where we begin to climb the mountain of healing.

    The Bible defines faith as a self-emptied, dependent assurance in God’s character and promises. Not faith in self, in another human, in an organization or faith in your faith. But in God.

    “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”. I believe Jesus meant figuratively…perhaps literally too.

    Meanwhile your stories of encouragement, including your own, are sorely needed for many who’re still camped at the base of their grief. Hopefully gazing upward.

  15. suzi - September 15, 2022 10:37 am

    “Get yourself up, brush yourself off and start all over again.”
    again and again and again❤️

  16. Climb every mountain - September 15, 2022 10:42 am

    By hook or by crook, most find their destiny in life…but some do not. Be grateful you found your’s, and keep up the good work!

  17. Jean Daniel - September 15, 2022 10:49 am

    Sean, I met you figuratively a few years ago and you have been there every morning for me since. Your daddy missed knowing a great man. I want to tell him a few things. John, your son is full of love. He loves you. He loves dogs. He loves the homeless. He love the children who are fatherless due to their own actions such as yours. He has compassion for sick children, single hard working moms and dads, old people and young people. And he has the cutest little wife. You would be proud of him, John! But then I think you know all this already.

  18. Bonnie Stanfield - September 15, 2022 10:51 am

    You helped me just now. Thank you. I will print this and continue to read it when the sadness creeps in.
    I am sorry about your Dad.

  19. Becky Oates - September 15, 2022 11:01 am

    You are a hero, Sean … my hero!! And Jamie is just simply precious!! ❣️

  20. Helen - September 15, 2022 11:04 am

    I bet your father has a big grin on his face now. ” you got it”

  21. Roxanne Taylor - September 15, 2022 11:06 am

    Sean, your writing speaks to my soul. You have the ability to use your words to make me cry. I hope one day my writing will move people too. My mother attempted suicide twice when I was a child, and both times I found her. Luckily she wasn’t successful. I am thankful for the encouragement you share with all of us. God bless you Sean, sure hope I can meet you some day.

  22. Ann Thompson - September 15, 2022 11:12 am

    You definitely help! Yourself! And others.….
    keep on picking yourself up and dusting yourself off then share it.
    I appreciate you.

  23. Allison Cobb Gilmore - September 15, 2022 11:19 am

    Sean, you can stop wondering whether you’re helping anybody. The answer is a big loud YES! Your columns make me laugh or cry or want to hug a dog or try to be a better person. And sometimes your columns make me do all four of those things. And your column today has reminded me that when I do fall down — literally or metaphorically — to just get back up, dust myself off, and then help someone else who has fallen down.💙

  24. Μαρία Βαστιάνου - September 15, 2022 11:26 am


  25. Joy Jacobs - September 15, 2022 11:27 am

    Whenever you talk about your dad I think about my friend who’s son committed suicide and left a wife and 2 beautiful young boys. I think of those 2 boys and say a prayer for them because I know from reading your stories that they’ll never recover from the pain. ❤️ Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  26. Jean Sherrill - September 15, 2022 11:28 am

    I hope you are not hurt. I saw what I thought was a picture of your father on FB? You look so much like him . When you look in the mirror you can see your father. Those of us who have lost our fathers remember so many things about them. Your column blesses me every day!

  27. Paula - September 15, 2022 11:29 am

    I so appreciate your posts. You are gut honest, reminds me of my family in Texas. I am sorry your father committed suicide but left you with a desire to remember him in so many ways that are precious.

  28. Susan - September 15, 2022 11:36 am

    Thank you for being a helper,Sean, and bringing us happiness and light into each day!♥️♥️

  29. Sally Ann Sisson - September 15, 2022 11:36 am

    My father didn’t commit suicide, but he died of a massive heart attack back in 1954, when I was 3 years old. If it had happened now, he would have just had a quadruple bypass and been done with it for years to come. He was a workaholic who was warned what would happen, but continued in his quest for money. I have resented that most of my life. I love the way you talk about your life; it makes me regret that I wasn’t able to do that.

  30. sjhl7 - September 15, 2022 11:45 am

    You help, Sean. You help people get through the day. You help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. You help by physically being there and by teaching lessons from a distance that need to be learned.

  31. Susan - September 15, 2022 11:48 am

    Thank you for being a helper, and bringing light and happiness to us each day!♥️

  32. Trilby - September 15, 2022 11:54 am

    I agree.

  33. Nena - September 15, 2022 11:57 am

    You are a mega helper! I am so proud of you.

  34. Matt Ovaska - September 15, 2022 12:03 pm

    When I gave my life to God, I was reading thru the Bible, just to find out what good things God had planned for me. I stumbled on the the gifts. The gift of healing, prophecy, and HELPS witch jumped off the page. HELPS, I didn’t even know what that was. For over 40 years, I have enjoyed letting God help folks through me. Wonderful…I should write a book. No, most folks wouldn’t understand.

  35. chipnoon - September 15, 2022 12:09 pm

    Thank you.

  36. Diana - September 15, 2022 12:10 pm

    I look forward to starting each day reading your work. You are definitely a helper. Thank you.

  37. 🇿🇦🇿🇦Norma Den - September 15, 2022 12:21 pm

    Sean, you will never know how many lives you have helped, saved & just made happier with your daily messages. If you never do another thing in your life other than lift peoples spirits you will be welcomed at the Pearly Gates with arms wide open by all who have gone before you & remembered ever after by all you have helped. Today alone you helped me climb a virtual mountain. God bless you always.

  38. Irma Brown - September 15, 2022 12:23 pm

    Sean, You are a great help to us all. Every day you give of yourself to others. You are a Special young man. Not only do you love us. We love you. Thank you, God Bless

  39. Brenda Francis - September 15, 2022 12:25 pm

    My father committed suicide 44 years ago on December 22. I still have his bottle of Old Spice after shave. Love your writing Sean. Keep it up.

  40. "Tree J" Convery - September 15, 2022 12:31 pm

    Thank you Sean… Yes, yes indeed you are helping others, thank you for having the courage to share your truth & touch my heart… COVID knocked me & my family down 5 weeks ago, it was a tough bout. We’re all ok now; I just got 2 negative tests 5 days apart. My lungs aren’t better yet, blood oxygen levels below normal still. Lady, tired, feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been a tree hugging loving climber for 25 years; love the outdoors, never have I laid around this long. I’m tired, weak, muscles atrophied. Guess it’s time to get up & go for a hike, start there & go from there… Thank you brotha, it means a lot. 💕 💕 💕

  41. Anne Arthur - September 15, 2022 12:35 pm

    Deep. That’s deep, Sean Dietrich, your thoughts, your writing, your life. Yes, you are that man. The man who is wise and so helpful to everyone he meets, in person or in written word. Kudos to you. It’s an honor to know you through your posts.

  42. JackieD - September 15, 2022 12:35 pm

    You are helping, Sean…more than you probably know. Your stories and reflections bring hope, encouragement and inspiration. God bless you as you continue your journey.

  43. Suellen - September 15, 2022 12:38 pm

    You are helping more than you will ever know. I’m more than 3 1/2 years into taking care of my husband who had a stroke. I’ve been really struggling the last few weeks. I’m so tired mentally, emotionally, physically. I just don’t see an end in sight. But with bible study and devotions, talking to my Lord a LOT, and reading your column every day I am still hanging on.

  44. Teri Easterling - September 15, 2022 12:38 pm

    Yes, Sean, you DO help people in so many ways. One of the most important ones is that you remind us of our common humanity and that we need to be kind and tender-hearted to each other and not to judge each other. Blessings to you and Jamie!

  45. Lynn Bryant - September 15, 2022 12:40 pm

    You help many by your words, many more than you know. Keep writing! I enjoy immensely!

  46. Lori Sammartino - September 15, 2022 12:47 pm

    Oh, Sean. You’re helping!!! Big time. What resonated with me is how you’re an overcomer in a situation that many end up getting “stuck” in. Permanently. You show us the possibility in front of all of us to make the choice to not claim the victim card but instead to hunt for the hidden gem. The one that’s available to us in any situation. If only we’re open to looking for it. Seek and you shall find. That’s the lesson you helped me learn again today. Bless you in your ongoing work of helping others heal.

  47. Emily wilbert - September 15, 2022 12:48 pm

    Thank you for your gentle and evocative prose. Thank you for your topics

  48. Sean of the South: Cheaha | The Trussville Tribune - September 15, 2022 12:49 pm

    […] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]

  49. JojoM - September 15, 2022 1:00 pm

    Wow, that is deep…thank you Sean.

  50. James Stamps - September 15, 2022 1:01 pm

    I believe your story will encourage many. Keep climbing mountains.

  51. Bill - September 15, 2022 1:05 pm

    Morning, So I”ve stayed at the Straighter Hotel in Durango, seen the room at the top of the stairs above the Diamond Bell Saloon. Where women still wear fish net and ostrich plumes, showing more cleavage than I can look away from. This was the room that Louie Lamoure stayed and wrote, supposedly with the door open, listening to the banging on the bar room piano glasses chattering old men wetting their whistle after riding around checking on their cattle and fences. Ive been there and , well I get it,but I take pause and think, what an intuitive man to draw such inspiration from, a holiday inn express, you know ,I am going to soak it in ,in a different light the breakfast bar,the people with the kids going to travel ball, obviously I have been missing something.
    Enjoy Your storieBill Crawford

  52. Karen - September 15, 2022 1:08 pm

    Sean, how wonderful
    That you are able to take a heartbreaking tragedy and find the good that your father gave you. Bad things don’t happen for a reason but how great that we can make something good from something so bad. It is what defines who I am and who you are.

  53. Just a girl treading water for the moment - September 15, 2022 1:17 pm

    Dear Mr. Deitrich,
    “I don’t know if I’m actually helping anyone or not. But do you know what? I’m not lying on the ground anymore, and that’s something.”

    On a day when I am feeling like all I am doing is the bare minimum because that is all I can do, the answer is YES! You are helping someone. Probably lots of someones. I just recently discovered your writing and signed up for your emails. I have not read any in the past few days (they are saved in my inbox right for later, when/if I have time). Today, though, I decided to take the few minutes to read what you had written. I will keep getting up and dusting myself off and trying again. Thank you for the encouragement today. Keep on doing what you are doing because you are helping someone.

  54. Priscilla Rodgers - September 15, 2022 1:19 pm

    I’ve been reading your articles for awhile now and I always read the comments also. They are just a few of the people God uses you to touch their lives, would bet there are many, many more each day. Thanks for being obedient and speaking to us.

  55. Marcy - September 15, 2022 1:23 pm

    Hooray for you Sean!

  56. Robin Jones Cotton - September 15, 2022 1:25 pm

    You are helping. You need to know that! Someone close to me decided to end it all in a hasty decision and he didn’t die. Now he lives in icu permanently disfigured physically and mentally ! Please keep him and his daughter in your prayers ❤️

  57. Geneva - September 15, 2022 1:44 pm

    Ahhhh…..finally, the one most qualified to, has beautifully put into words what I’ve been trying to articulate for awhile…”and that was the gift your suicide gave me…..etc, etc” I’ve often told my husband, after reading your column, that it is incredible how much good has come out of such brokenness…your Dad’s, yours, your Mom’s….and it’s evidence again that God never wastes pain. He has used it to hone the talent He gave you and out of it, brought so much good to so many. Thank you for blessing us every day with your words. Keep on writing….

  58. john crawford - September 15, 2022 1:44 pm

    Hey Sean—you are helping. thanks

  59. David Britnell - September 15, 2022 1:45 pm

    Thank you Sean!

  60. Lee Taylor - September 15, 2022 1:50 pm

    YOU HELP!!!

  61. Maria Ritchey - September 15, 2022 1:52 pm

    Everyday you make a difference. ❤️

  62. GiGi - September 15, 2022 1:56 pm

    Thank you once again.

  63. Stacey Wallace - September 15, 2022 2:00 pm

    Sean, you help me every day when I read your column. I know that your Daddy is so proud of you. Love to you and Jamie.

  64. PL - September 15, 2022 2:01 pm

    Man you are a gifted writer Sean. What an article.

    I believe being ‘a helper’ is one of the most important aspirations a person can have. Keep on keeping on Sean. God bless.

  65. Karen Godbey - September 15, 2022 2:03 pm

    Dear Sean,

    Thank you for baring your soul and sharing your journey. So many men won’t acknowledge what it is to be human. Emotions are neither male nor female. Especially hurt. Its obvious when men are pretending,… except to themselves. I hope that your open-heart’d columns encourage more people, both male and female, to walk through life without those self-inflicted limitations.

    I look forward to your daily column and thank you for giving it to the world. I know it came at a cost. You are a blessing to me.


  66. Pam - September 15, 2022 2:10 pm

    Wise words. And eventually, we forgive our parents. We look back and realize how young they were when they did the thing that rocked our world. And we can see the options they couldn’t at the time. God Bless you Sean.

  67. Belinda Graham - September 15, 2022 2:19 pm

    Your lesson today is so important for all of us too. Thank you for sharing your life and your “life falls” with us, so we can see our own in a more empowering way. Your stories of reaching out to others in daily life are wonderful examples of how simple it truly is to reach out to others with a word, a smile, a gift of food or word of encouragement. We can each make the work more beautiful with our own unique beautiful gifts of personality. Love your stories!!!!

  68. Philip Riggins - September 15, 2022 2:24 pm

    Wow Sean, your words of pain and wisdom are always so powerful. Life is about learning about dusting off and moving on.

  69. Mike and Melissa Red - September 15, 2022 2:25 pm

    ….and what a helper you are, Sean. Your blog connects me with my humanity Every. Single. Day.
    . Thank you. Holding a space in my heart for your Dad, John Dietrich.

  70. Susan - September 15, 2022 2:29 pm

    Yes you are helping in oh so many ways. As I get older I truly appreciate thoughtful posts, optimistic posts, reflective posts, and joyful posts. You supply all of those. Todays post takes me back to my best friend who did what your Dad did, but only last year. I’m still coming to terms with it. Yes you helped, especially about getting back up again. Thank you, you helped.

  71. Deborah - September 15, 2022 2:29 pm

    Beautifully written! Thank you.

  72. Judy - September 15, 2022 2:35 pm

    Good to be reminded God is always there to help us get by up even it take time to do so. Bless you for helping othere get back up.

  73. Bill - September 15, 2022 2:39 pm

    Today…while I struggle mightily with a neurological disease,..you helped me not to be your father to my two sons. Thank you.

    • Karen - September 15, 2022 3:00 pm

      Sean, a father stated that despite having a neurological disease, he will keep on being there for his boys. You do matter and found a way to find a way to survive your father’s own death.

    • Carmen - September 15, 2022 6:32 pm

      God bless you, Bill.

  74. Barb Edwards - September 15, 2022 2:41 pm

    Yes, you are most definitely helping and giving hope.

  75. DAVIS DAVIS - September 15, 2022 2:45 pm


  76. Dede Martin - September 15, 2022 2:47 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss Sean. You are a helper with your words. Reminding all who read what we learn in the journey of getting back up, dusting ourselves off and putting one foot in front of the other.

  77. Toni - September 15, 2022 2:56 pm

    You are indeed a helper.
    My friend lost her husband less than 2 weeks ago. She is sad and depressed. Today I will tell her it is okay that she is still falling down as long as she keeps getting back up.
    So you have helped me to know what to say to her, and by doing that, you have helped her in her grief.
    Thank you for using your pain to help others.

  78. Pam - September 15, 2022 3:13 pm

    You help people every day!!!!!

  79. Randall Kemp - September 15, 2022 3:16 pm

    You help me Sean. My father shot himself too, 35 years ago. I am nearing the age he was when he shot himself. As my life has more troubles, as all lives do, I understand more of what wore him down. I miss him, your writings help me a lot.

  80. Karen - September 15, 2022 3:18 pm

    Sean, so very sorry.Hang my head sorrow for you.
    Smells, fragrances, really do bring our memory front and center. I hope you bought a lifetime supply.
    There are many many impulse decisions in life the are felt until the end of our time here. Hope you can rest in peace , too. Gods got this one.

  81. Donna Barger - September 15, 2022 3:19 pm

    What a beautiful lesson to learn and share!

  82. Jeff - September 15, 2022 3:40 pm

    Thank you.

  83. Cynthia Russell - September 15, 2022 3:40 pm


  84. Diane - September 15, 2022 4:04 pm

    I so relate to this Sean! I lost my dad at 13, and 55 years later, I still feel the ripples that he left…I will always feel the loss and live the lessons.

  85. Maggie Priestaf - September 15, 2022 4:26 pm

    You may never know how many you help…until eternity. Thank you…

  86. Virginia Westlake - September 15, 2022 4:35 pm

    You ARE helping! Always remember that. You will never know how much!

  87. Anne Trawick - September 15, 2022 4:49 pm

    This may be the most important article/ blog you’ve ever written.

  88. Robyn - September 15, 2022 5:07 pm

    Every time i think you have written the best article so far, you top it. You are such a blessing to us. Thank you for being. Y9ou and sharing that gift with us.

  89. Rebecca Souders - September 15, 2022 5:07 pm

    Helping? You betcha!

  90. Donnie - September 15, 2022 5:10 pm

    Oh yes, Sean, you are helping many someone’s every day! What a wonderful tribute to your father. You so often take something tragic and put it in a uplifting perspective. God bless you and your dear wife. You are a treasure.

  91. cheryl singers - September 15, 2022 5:18 pm

    I remember that day long ago, Sean. And I weep with you. Good that you lean on the good memories even when you can’t avoid the bad ones. Blessings on you, sir.
    Cheryl Singers.

  92. Ann Syfert - September 15, 2022 5:47 pm

    As I was reading all the comments, a beautiful song came to my mind. I found it on YouTube, so I’m sharing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lVzeS5i8WQ We love you, Sean. You have helped me more times than I can count. So Thank You for using your gift to the Lord.

  93. Gloria Van Nostrand - September 15, 2022 5:52 pm

    So poignant and thought filled. Sean you help LOTS of people every day. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with this at such a young age but my, what a fine man you’ve grown into. So look forward to your insightful pieces each day. God bless you.

  94. AnneLise - September 15, 2022 6:30 pm

    Another beautiful piece: sad, thought-provoking, insightful, inspiring and uplifting. Thank you, Sean, for sharing yourself and for your wonderful writing. May God continue to bless you and Jamie with peace and love. 🙏💕

  95. Linda Lewis - September 15, 2022 6:38 pm

    Oh, Sean, I know how you feel. July marked the 28th anniversary of my son, Chris’, suicide. He was 22 years old. The pain is horrendous. My heart remembers the pain. Your story gives me support and hope. I will keep getting up. Thank you.

  96. Faye Hutt - September 15, 2022 6:42 pm

    You’re helping! 💕

  97. Lesli Roper - September 15, 2022 7:23 pm

    Yes Sean, you help people or at least A person. More specifically, my person. I read your column everyday & it either makes me cry or makes laugh, usually both. Your empathy for people came from a hard place in your life. You could have stayed bitter but you chose to allow God to use you & your experiences to bring joy, love & understanding to others. Your writings have spoken to me on a different level for the last 5 months, I’ve been on chemo & radiation . So I wanted you to know that, yes, you help Someone everyday! By the way I’m a lifelong Alabamian so I relate to writings!

  98. DeWayne Wells - September 15, 2022 7:39 pm

    Love your writing Sean and the hope it gives to everyone who has endured a tragedy and is still alive to share lessons learned. Keep it up, brother. Grace, Peace and all God’s blessings to you and Miss Jamie.

  99. Kathy - September 15, 2022 7:48 pm

    You do help people. And you’re a grownup.

  100. DiAn - September 15, 2022 7:54 pm

    Sean – You help someone – including me – every time you write! Please keep it up. Your columns are inspiring and help us all to enjoy and celebrate the ‘everyday things’ that happen. So Thank you for these apt observations, for sharing, for taking the time to write them. – DiAn

  101. Bobbie Gordner - September 15, 2022 8:50 pm

    You never fail to affect my heart, mind and soul, Sean.

  102. B.e.Blue - September 15, 2022 8:58 pm

    God bless you both.

  103. Linda Moon - September 15, 2022 9:08 pm

    I love a young man who hikes trails and climbs their mountains. Maybe it’s because of his father’s suicide 18 years ago. Yes, Sean Dietrich, you are helping me remember that. Do you remember when I visited my Daddy’s gravesite in Talladega? That was because of you. So, my young man and I have been helped by you. And I have no more words now…just tears.

  104. Tracy Ann Nelson - September 15, 2022 9:22 pm

    Excellent Sean.

  105. Suzanne - September 15, 2022 9:26 pm

    You are helping. Just keep getting up, keep telling us your stories, and keep living life. That’s the best tribute you can pay to your dad. He taught you how important it is to keep going. My brothers anniversary is very soon. Just like you I will keep going and helping where I can. We are all in this life together and every little kindness keeps someone’s heart beating a little longer.🙏❤️

  106. Debbie - September 15, 2022 9:27 pm

    Sean, we can love you, accept your love, thank you for all the good you give. But, you have got to accept yourself as the kind and generous man you truly are. Please quit doubting yourself, open your eyes and heart to Sean, like you do to everyone else. We love you. 🙏❤️

  107. MAM - September 15, 2022 9:58 pm

    I believe that Helper must be your middle name. You impact the lives of so many with your skilled writing every day. Thank you, Sean.

  108. George Culver - September 15, 2022 10:32 pm

    Hello Sean — George here from the Historic Talladega Ritz. Loved the powerful story of your recollections about your Dad while atop Cheaha — a mountain I virtually grew up on, when my parents ran the Bald Rock Lodge in the summers of my childhood. I know the trails, the vistas, the rocks and the air. I understand well how the energies of that magical piece of Alabama fuels the blood-flow in your head and mental images begin to flow — to who knows where, but they flow. It’s a sacred place for me, and perhaps for you too now. Since you and Jamie moved to B’ham, I often wanted to recommend that y’all rent a cabin at Cheaha State Park for an enchanting little getaway, yet never saw the opportunity. Maybe you might now. If make reservations, be picky about the select few smaller cabins with breathtaking vistas facing west near Pulpit Rock. Warm regards to you and your bride kind sir. George
    PS — Here’s a toast to your next appearance on The Ritz stage!!.

  109. Scott - September 15, 2022 10:58 pm

    Man, you are helping. I am in the fall of my life, had retired and sort of lost my way. Kids were grown and on their own and I had just reached the point that I didn’t feel that I was contributing much anymore, only consuming and not in a good way. Pretty much reached the point that I thought it was time to go. Then I started reading your writings and realized that I was being selfish. How much suicide hurt the ones you loved most, it wouldn’t in any way be fair to them. So, I found a new career, a new purpose in life, and quit the the pity party. I owe this to you dude, you rock! Never doubt yourself Sean, you are doing more good than you will ever know. God bless you.

  110. Bryan - September 15, 2022 11:14 pm

    Beautiful. The message found many homes today.

  111. Ann - September 15, 2022 11:49 pm

    You have and do help soooooo many….this column…I wish I could give you a big hug ..for solace and gratitude!

  112. Richie Burnham - September 16, 2022 12:01 am

    Sean, you are helping people more than you know, or ever will know. You bill yourself as a simpleton, a country bumpkin, a ne’er-do-well, with no smarts or talent. You are FAR from any of these things ! Now I’m not saying Einstein is rolling over in his grave fearful of your arrival at the pearly gates, and the intense intellectual gymnastics that would ensue. But I am saying you possess the ability to weave your personal story into the life and experiences of the every man, and woman, I had to get my political correctness in order, in a way that is relatable to everyone. No easy feat, seeing as how we are all so different, and yet we are all SO much alike. This is where your Brilliance comes in Sean. Unlike most scholarly scribes you are able to discern the common ground we all share. With your everyday wit, humor, and wisdom you pass along thoughts and ideas many of us haven’t conjured up ourselves. Or maybe have, but are afraid to think, let alone say out loud ! To put a fine point on this meandering before we both lose interest and drive off a cliff at the same time, I’ll close saying this. I’ve been the fat kid in school, the underachiever, the loner, the kid standing alone at the school dance. I’ve had more jobs than I can count using all my appendages, that’s fingers and toes for those from the north, you know, above the Florida State Line. I’ve lost way too many loved ones, two and four legged. I haven’t lost anyone to suicide, but I know people who have, and I know people who have talked about it, thank GOD they are better now. And thank GOD for you Sean Dietrich. You have helped me understand there are so many more just like me, and it’s ok, and it always will be. Richie Burnham

  113. Jeff and Shelly Rainwater - September 16, 2022 12:42 am

    I lost a beloved niece to suicide a few weeks ago. It’s so hard for me, and so much harder for her husband, three teenage kids, her parents and siblings. She was awesome and we’ll forever miss her. Yes, your story helps. Thank you. Sending you love.

  114. Buddy Caudill - September 16, 2022 12:54 am

    Yes, Sean, you are a helper !
    Many times over the last year or so, your words have been an encouragement to me.
    Occasionally, I will break out in a laugh. This does an old guy good.
    Thank you, Sean, for sharing.
    Buddy Caudill

  115. Michael Edwards - September 16, 2022 1:08 am

    Yes, you do help every day. You are succeeding in your life’s ambition. Hope your hands are ok, and keep on getting back up. Thanks for the geography lesson too—I had no idea there is a mountain in Alabama. I thought it all looked like Mobile on the drive east to Destin!

  116. Mary Hinton - September 16, 2022 2:37 am

    Keep climbing, Sean.

  117. Linda Moon - September 16, 2022 3:53 am

    I would like to read all 114 comments from this post about your dad’s suicide, so beautifully written. The site is not showing the comments to read. I could talk to you for hours about our family dad’s suicide…I wish we could bring him back…..

  118. Karen Snyder - September 16, 2022 4:34 am

    Amen, Sean Dietrich, amen. ❤️

  119. Elgin Carver - September 16, 2022 9:21 am

    The best of your writings that I have read.

  120. Diane McGinnis - September 16, 2022 1:03 pm

    Wow. I have just discovered you, and you are opening these old eyes.

  121. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - September 17, 2022 12:40 am


  122. Susie Flick - September 17, 2022 3:14 am

    Your memories of your Dad are precious; treasure them, the good and the bad. I miss my Dad every day; he was a truck driver and supported a family of 5. I am lucky to have had him for almost 46 years – he died just before his 80th birthday. He passed 5 years after my Mom; before her 76th birthday. She was a nurse before they met and then a stay-at-home Mom while he worked as an over the road truck driver when the four of us were little. She passed the year before I was told I had cancer; grateful to be a survivor for almost 30 years now. I was blessed with wonderful, loving, hard working parents that taught me to love others, welcome friends and family to my home, connect with my relatives and family and be a good person. Life goes on, but we all cherish the “scents” of our childhood.

  123. Debbie g - September 17, 2022 6:46 am

    What a mountain you have climbed
    I cannot imagine life without your work. Encouraging us to be better
    To love all of us
    You are a priceless helper
    We love you Sean and Jamie

  124. Robin Jones Cotton - September 17, 2022 9:24 am


  125. Turay martin - September 17, 2022 11:50 am

    This needs to be said over and over. Keep getting up.

  126. Ruthe - September 17, 2022 2:11 pm

    May our good Father God bless your heart for giving His love and care to others by your talent of speaking through words written to us all.

  127. Brant Riley - September 17, 2022 4:25 pm

    Great story Sean. Loved the reference to your Dad!

  128. Denise DeVries - September 17, 2022 6:22 pm

    What a beautiful , well written story. I loved Cheaha too.

  129. Suzanne Cahill - September 17, 2022 11:12 pm

    You’ve done your mother, your sister, and your father proud. Please believe that, and never forget it.

  130. Sheri K - September 18, 2022 2:03 am

    You are simply the best! You will never know all the lives you touch and how many are made better because of your loving words of wisdom and encouragement. I thank God for you and your heart daily.

  131. Connie - September 18, 2022 1:10 pm

    Your words help me so much!

  132. marthajanecassidey9526 - September 26, 2022 6:33 am

    I’m so proud of you!


Leave a Comment