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suicide of a friend
Old 05-19-2017, 12:04 PM   #1
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suicide of a friend

My mother came home today and told me that one of her friends at the senior center had committed suicide.

No major health problems, and this woman had nursed her husband through a major illness two years ago. This friend did say that she and her husband don't have much in common.

So sad.

How does one make sense of this?
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:10 PM   #2
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You don't. Sick people who don't know or believe that there are people who care, or help available sometimes make that choice. Depression is a terrible disease that kills far too many.

The "permanent solution to a temporary problem" is never the proper decision.

I'm sorry about DM's friend.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:45 PM   #3
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I'm assuming "broadway" (OP) is talking about someone that's in her senior years.

I find her suicide surprising in that I always connected most suicides with those much younger and usually male.

A childhood friend, but I did not stay in contact, committed suicide. He was unfaithful repeatedly to his wife and when his wife did the same, he couldn't deal with it.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:53 PM   #4
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I post a lot on a widows/widowers board since DH died 6 months ago. There are some really sad people. Your mother's friend's husband apparently survived the major illness, but long periods of caregiving can isolate someone from outside activities and relationships because someone needs you 24/7 and you're afraid to be out of the house even to buy groceries. The the caregiving is over and what's left? It was your whole existence. If the husband survived it may have been the first time she realized she was in an unhappy marriage indefinitely.

The people on the widows/widowers board commonly say, ""I don't know why I'm still here, I'm just going through the motions, I spent all day on the couch, I'm just marking time till I go", etc. TWO people reported having headstones made for their spouse's grave and including the spouse's death date as THEIR death date, too. Even CS Lewis, writing about his wife's death in "A Grief Observed", said that he felt like a shop missing its starboard engine. Add to that other factors such as money worries, the infirmities of old age, identifying yourself as half of a couple your entire adult life, and burnout from caregiving and a lot of people are left really hurting. Your mother's friend may have been grieving the death of her marriage because she finally faced it.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:43 PM   #5
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Yes, the husband survived.

My mother has only known this woman for about 2-3 years.
The woman I am guessing is in her mid to late 60s does participate in some of the activities at the senior center so she wasn't totally isolated. And apparently one of her children visits her every weekend.

Just very sad.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:47 PM   #6
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Yes, the husband survived.

My mother has only known this woman for about 2-3 years.
The woman I am guessing is in her mid to late 60s does participate in some of the activities at the senior center so she wasn't totally isolated. And apparently one of her children visits her every weekend.

Just very sad.
Maybe she was just informed she had something terminal. I'm not going to rule out going that way if I'm facing something very painful or debilitating. I know I don't want to live like my mother did with Alzheimer's. Her last three years were as a vegetable and couldn't even speak.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Elbata View Post
I'm assuming "broadway" (OP) is talking about someone that's in her senior years.

I find her suicide surprising in that I always connected most suicides with those much younger and usually male.

A childhood friend, but I did not stay in contact, committed suicide. He was unfaithful repeatedly to his wife and when his wife did the same, he couldn't deal with it.
The suicide rate among older men is very high.
Preventing Suicide in Older Adults | Mental Health America
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:33 PM   #8
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Late 60s and checking out via suicide seems sad but no one knows what goes on inside the head of another. I think our society holds suicide in such a negative light when sometimes it is actually a very generous gift so others aren't burdened. I'm sure others may not agree due to religious or personal beliefs but I see nothing wrong with one ending one's life if there is sickness, pain and suffering that can't be alleviated and or if there is no quality of life.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:14 PM   #9
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What goes on in the mind of a suicide doesn't always make sense to the rest of us. I just finished a novel where one of the main characters, a widow about to turn 70, takes a bunch of sleeping pills and alcohol and throws herself off the deck of a cruise ship. While everyone else sees her as a lucky woman with tons to live for, and one man (whom she cannot stand) is eager to marry her, she sees herself as "elderly," having lost her beauty, her husband, and- most importantly - her sense of purpose.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:23 PM   #10
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I have seen perhaps facetious comments here over the years about the Smith and Wesson solution if one runs out of money, and moving to a place where assisted suicide is legal if one's health goes bad, and other references to ending one's life at some point. I think it is sad but that is an option some of us have considered, apparently.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:28 PM   #11
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My best friend (when we lived in Florida) committed suicide by firearm 6 years ago.
Perhaps a little different than what we're used to. He was from Sweden and the absolute picture of health at age 70.
As an example, he was a volunteer soccer and hockey referee for young senior teams and did that five days a week, right up to the year he died.
Rapid onset Parkinson's for a physically and mentally healthy person was so sad. Always totally independent and happy, he struggled to be strong for his loving wife. As he gradually disappeared from the many activities he shared with us, I continued to stay close... and as the disease took it's toll, we would go for long car rides and just talk, until one day, as I went to pick him up, he came to the door and told me he couldn't do that any more. The shaking and spilling and lack of control made him so self conscious that he didn't want to impose his infirmities on others... even his best friend. It was two days after we left our FL snowbird home that he took his life.
I cried... but I understood, as did his dear wife.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:31 PM   #12
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My best friend and next door neighbor did it in 2009. Turns out life insurance pays out for suicide if the policy has been in effect long enough. He was a home builder, hopeless and broke. For him, it was a business decision. His family could keep the house and survive with the proceeds.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:02 PM   #13
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Have often wondered if the late Justice Scalia's death was actually suicide, perhaps brought on by a bad diagnosis such as Alzheimer's. Someone who lived by their intellect is perfectly justified, I believe, in refusing to live with its being stripped away.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:12 PM   #14
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Nursing a spouse through a major illness late in life can put an enormous strain on the wife. I wouldn't rule out depression.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:16 PM   #15
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Nursing a spouse through a major illness late in life can put an enormous strain on the wife. I wouldn't rule out depression.
I am pretty sure that was what it was.

But the husband survived, so why the depression? I could understand the depression if he died. She did say that she and her husband didn't have much in common. Apparently his only interest is fishing.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:06 PM   #16
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I am pretty sure that was what it was.

But the husband survived, so why the depression? I could understand the depression if he died. She did say that she and her husband didn't have much in common. Apparently his only interest is fishing.
I would think that it is compounded. If the marriage was unhappy, and she felt obligated to bring him through the illness and exhausted after the ordeal and facing more years in an unhappy marriage and worrying about going through the caretaking again, I can see how she might succumb to depression. Sounds pretty bleak.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:32 PM   #17
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We rarely hear about suicide, it's a taboo subject that rarely gets reported in the news. We can hear of gang shooting deaths nearly everyday in Chicago, but practically never a suicide.

Sometimes I think authorities or newspapers fear reporting it would make it contagious, but how else are we to even recognize the potential without education on the commonality of it.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:43 PM   #18
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And to think they may have been a pill or two a day from leading a much better life.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:54 PM   #19
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It's sad to spend your whole life with somebody who you have nothing in common. I think maybe there was something more that we are not privy to.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:32 PM   #20
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It's sad to spend your whole life with somebody who you have nothing in common. I think maybe there was something more that we are not privy to.


Not really. Often opposite attracts. It's not unusual for couples to have different passions. In fact, the best marriages are ones in which couples are comfortable pursuing their own passions. He may have had other qualities that kept the marriage together. We can never underestimate loyalty, devotion, stability and reliability in a partner. I am not sure what nothing in common means. Does that mean that they don't enjoy the same things? If so, it's pretty easy, in my view, to form your own circle of friends and pursue your own passions. A spouse can't be everything. The lady may have had other issues going on and often people that have difficulty bouncing back from bad situations do have some other mental health issue for which they need to seek help.
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