I recently took my 13 year old granddaughter to NYC for her “Grandma Trip.” On June 2, we went into the Kate Spade store at Rockefeller Center and she bought a small clutch purse with a wristlet. The store was delightful with lots of color, light, and feminine beauty.
On June 5, I opened my phone and read Kate Spade had died by suicide at the age of 55. My granddaughter and I looked at each other with shock. We walked back to the store to see how employees might react to the news. There was no obvious difference.
Then, on the June 8, Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and CNN host, died of suicide at 61. Mental health issues were again brought to the forefront of conversations.
On June 6, a friend of mine, Tom Jensen, took his life by suicide. He was 67, a symphony conductor, comedian, and radio talk show host. I was so saddened to hear of his decision. Not only is it tragic he felt he had no other options, but he will never breathe again, and I will never get the opportunity of seeing him when I get to downtown Denver.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) U.S. suicide rates increased more than 25 percent since 1999. Blah, blah, blah. How does that statistic matter to the spouses and families of Kate, Anthony, and Tom. Rich or poor, exemplary or average, and healthy or well, life can be very heavy, and it is obviously getting heavier. Money, talent, and loving relationships must not be enough to lighten the load and maintain hope.
We need to challenge the American dream more appropriately called a nightmare. A client in despair once asked me, “I’ve reached the top of my career, what else is there for me?”
Right now, I have no answers, only emotions. Although, I do believe, if given the opportunity, we can each offer hope and alternatives to those who have hit the wall. But, I also believe, once many make up their minds, they will find a way.
What I know for sure: The one making the decision and carrying out the plan to kill him/herself is truly the only one responsible for his/her death.
I also know there is no balance between the peace they gain from death and the pain and chaos they leave behind.
May God Bess America — a little bit more.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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