My Father Killed Himself | Medpage Today

Advice from a physician and suicide survivor

+My commentary is below. Go to the link to read Medpage report.

I was in graduate school in 1996 when my father shot himself. He was the fourth suicide in my family of origin. As far as becoming a mental health counselor or psychologist goes, his death was the last straw for me. I got my MA and lived off my share of dad’s inheritance before signing up for Social Security.

Fear that I was hard-wired to become the fifth family suicide led me into psychotherapy. My suicide prevention plan included no firearms, sharp knives, or rope. Being a veteran enabled me to see a counselor at my local VA Clinic. I spent 18 months in therapy until my therapist and I both agreed I was no longer a threat to myself or others.

Three months later I was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. Oregon has an assisted-suicide law that I refused and still refuse to participate in. God has work for me to do on earth and then He will call me home.

As a kid I remember Grandpa had 22-cal. bullets strewn on top of his dresser. None of the adults said any thing about this. Now I know that was his way of crying out for help. The last time I saw Grandpa alive was when he passionately embraced Grandma before she left town with Dad to visit relatives. He was saying goodbye to her.

After Mom died Dad lived alone in the house. He called me one evening and asked how we were doing, etc. I thought he was rather upbeat in affect. Perhaps he was ready to stop grieving and get on with his life. No. He was saying goodbye to us. His attorney called me the next day to tell us he had shot himself in the garage.

My dad, his dad, and two of Dad’s uncles shot themselves. The last thing a suicidal person needs is talking to someone like me. That is what I thought after these suicides and now I am going to be 76 next month. Perhaps things will be better in my next life.

— Read on

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