I had a very good friend commit suicide two years ago. I’ll call him Larry. Larry was the last person I would have ever expected to take his own life. He came from a close-knit family and had a close-knit family of his own, and many good friends. I rarely saw him when he wasn’t smiling and joking around in a genuine way that, reflecting back, I don’t see as a cover-up for some hidden interior turmoil. He was a strong Christian whose love of God was the primary focus of his life, and he had retired from a long career of teaching and was financially well off. Larry had it all.
Then something happened I really can’t explain. Larry had made a minor mistake on the tax form for a business he owned with his son. He told me what the mistake was and that he had corrected it with the IRS, but it was haunting him. “Pat, I know it was not significant, but I can’t get it out of my mind. It is like a voice that won’t shut up. I have been depressed and anxious for several weeks now, even when we were meeting for breakfast with Jerry last week.”
From that point, there was a rapid deterioration in my friend. He was hospitalized several times; in one instance, he didn’t recognize his own family when they visited him. We talked on the phone several times, and I prayed with him. I thought I could help him because I had been where he was just three years before that. Then one day he went out to the garage and hung himself. I was devastated.
On my next blog, I’ll explain my understanding of depression and suicide.