Friday, February 27, 2009

Illness Suicide Pact

Warning: this is a tough, sometimes forbidden topic to bring up - the topic of illness and suicide. Raising the topic of suicide is by no means an endorsement of it. And I don't believe that talking or reading about it pushes people to do it. I am a believer that what you don't acknowledge can be more harmful than what you do. In this spirit, I offer an article about a couple who entered into a suicide pact. Read it if you want to. Don't read it if it will disturb you. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please get help - see a therapist, a clergy-person, or call a suicide hotline like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

Can you imagine a set of circumstances that would drive you and your partner to decide that double suicide is the only solution left?

I can. It's terrible for a couple to bear the debilitating illness of one partner. When both are sick and suffering, how is that to be borne? Illness, pain, and loneliness without resources or community can make "dusty death" seem like a better place than the "walking shadow" of life. I think some who suffer debilitating illness at some point, maybe only once, think about suicide as a relief.

Most don't take action. Some do. It's not for us to judge. Only to try to hold with compassion the realities of people's stories and wonder along with the writer in the story below -- what went through their minds at the end.

from February 11, 2009

Inquest told of couple's suicide pact

A pensioner was found dead in the back of his car following a pact with his wife that they would both end their lives, an inquest has heard.

Dennis Bramble, 85, of Garnett Avenue, suffered from a heart condition and his wife, Dorothy, was terminally ill with cancer. Mr Bramble did not want to be on his own should his wife die.

On the evening of October 6, 2008, the devoted couple had sat in the back seat of their car parked in the garage and taken morphine and temazepam to send them to sleep. It was then intended that Mr Bramble would turn the car engine on.

The following morning Mrs Bramble was found crouched down outside the garage by her daughter, and Mr Bramble was found dead in the car.

A post-mortem examination found he had died from a mixture of morphine and temazepam in his system. The car engine had not been turned on but the car headlights had been.

Mrs Bramble told police that she and her husband had gone into the garage at 6pm the night before. She said she had struggled to get out the car and when she finally did it was daylight and her husband was still breathing heavily, at which point she realized it was all 'going wrong'.

A diary documenting how bad things were for them both was found. Mr Bramble was becoming forgetful and Dorothy was often in agony with her illness.

It is still unclear what was going through his
mind at the final moments.

I'd like to know:

Have you ever reached the point of utmost despair and contemplated suicide? What kept you from taking action? What made you choose life?

1 comment:

kendraro said...

Barbara, I have been enjoying your blog, especially the "Jerk" posts. I wanted to respond on this one because I have struggled with depression off and on for most of my life and I think that when your serotonin levels get to a low point, suicide is where your brain goes. There is so much about brain chemistry we don't yet understand. For myself, I have always had some strong enough reason to not really consider it an option. When I was younger I had a sweet little puppy that no one else could care for like I could and now I have a son, I can't imagine leaving him. But I do understand the feeling of no way out of an untenable situation. And I don't know how I would feel if I were elderly and terminally ill, sometimes I think we show more compassion towards our pets...the most important group to reach concerning suicide, IMHO, is adolescents, because they have not have the life experience to to know the most important thing about these feelings: THEY PASS! THINGS CHANGE! So, to anyone out there who is suffering from depression and thinking about suicide, please hang on and trust me that you do not have to feel this way.