Have you been touched by suicide?

*Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Risk factors include mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, alcoholism, or substance misuse. Others are impulsive acts due to stress such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or from bullying.Those who have previously attempted suicide are at higher risk for future attempts.Suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to method of suicide, such as firearms and poisons, treating mental disorders and substance misuse, proper media reporting of suicide, and improving economic conditions. Although crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

I met John in high school. I was a jock and he did not play sports. A met him at a local bowling alley, he was drinking beer and smoking. John was seventeen years old and hand no friends. I do not know why we clicked but we became friends. So much so he went and tried out for the football team. He was tall but thin and became a center on the team. It took a lot for him to commit to the sport but he hung in and played. He never played a sport before. A couple of months in the season I would move to California. John was a senior in high school, met a girl and fell in love. A few months later they broke up. He became depressed. He was lonely with nobody to talk to. He walked down to the cemetary leaned against a tombstone and drank some whiskey. He took a knife and stabbed himself in the heart. Where was his support system? Someone to talk to.

My Brother in law David was twenty-one and in the Airforce. He was having a successful career; he was promoted to Staff Sargent in less than two years. This is quite an accomplishment in the seventies. He would work and go to school to better himself. He came home on leave and spent some time with all his family members. Individual time doing what his brothers or sisters wanted to do. He spent a week camping with his sister and  her spouse. He had five brothers and sisters. After his leave was finished, Dave drove his little yellow Datsun ( now Nissan) back to the base in San Diego. Three weeks later twoAirman were at Mom’s front door. Dave drove to the mountains of San Diego, parked, put a three fifty-seven magnum under his chin and killed himself. What caused him to take such a drastic measure. It was found that he broke up with his girlfriend. He was Airman of the month three months straight. Everything looked rosy and nobody suspected he was depress or angry. He hated guns, but used a gun to kill himself. Why? Nobody will ever know. Guilt was left by every member of our family. Why did we not see his pain?

On Christmas Eve my Father tried to commit suicide. He took three hundred prescription pills and then came out and told my  Mom. She called an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital. I remember Dad laying in the hospital bed with a thick practice hose stuck in his mouth with black stuff all over his mouth. The nurses pumped out his stomach and saved his life. The hospital took him to the psychiatric ward and  kept him on a seventy-two hour watch. We brought his empty prescription bottles and the Doctors found the cause of his suicide: Dad was seeing three different Doctors for different ailments and his body reacted to the pills. It caused him to dive into a deep depression, causing him to commit suicide. Why did not the Doctors ask him about the medications he was taken or other Doctors he was seeing? We did not see this incident developing.

It is important that adult children check in on elderly parents. My mom was eighty-eight years old and my oldest sister thought she was acting a little strangely. She decided to hunt for her prescriptions. She found fifty or so bottles of prescriptions and started calling Doctors.The last prescription the Doctor told my sister to bring her to his office now. My sister packed up the pills and took her to the hospital. Mom was self diagnosing herself and taking medicine she was not supposed to be taken. The Doctor confiscated all the pills and gave Mom the medicine she needed, giving a list to my sister who gave the list to her brothers and sisters so we could monitor her drugs. Lessons learned and prevention of premature death.

There was a time when my Wife’s family and mine had serious health problems but her family would suffer another tragedy. Her younger brother John was in a terrible off road bike accident injuring his head. He would be in the hospital a long time. He was never the same. Once a very active young man his life would slow down. He had a thriving finishing carpenter business. It was a carpenter to the stars. Famous musicians and actors would ask him to work on their homes. His wife would take over the business and help John out. A couple of years go by and John is having difficulty. None of the drugs he was taking was helping. One week John drove over a bridge overpass for the free way  five times. The next week he did it again, the following week he would stop on the road, get out of his car and jump. A friend of his was following him but was to late to stop him. His friend pulled over and could hear him yelling for help. John would die at that bridge. A brilliant, kind mind gone forever . I do not know all the intricacies of John’s story, sometimes drugs and the mind leave no choice for the patient. No matter what you do you can not stop the process of suicide.

Wikipedia  has a great page on suicide and prevention. Cities have suicide prevention phone numbers. It is important people who lost someone to suicide need to get help. Learning to cope with a death of a loved one is difficult especially if the loved one causes his own demise. An astonishing fact: there are twenty million attempts at suicide a year in the world. People over seventy are highly susceptible. Children who are bullied sometimes do not see a way out of their predictament. People must be aware of their families and friends and keep a flow of conversation going. Search if you feel a change in a love one. Do not take life for granted. Pura Vida!


Forgive me
I did not see your pain
Or feel your emotional restraint
Or in your quietness you were engaged
In desperation’s silent rage

In fragile darkness you set your plans in motion
It was time to end the emotional commotion
You found your bridge of relief
You leaped and ended your grief

Forgive me for not being there
To help you in your time of greatest despair
You are in a better place
No more desperation must you face

I hope you found peace