Thursday, March 27, 2014


I am angry. It takes a lot for me to get angry but an experience I had this past weekend at my brother's heartwarming memorial art exhibition at Hyde Park Library in Hyde Park, New York has me uncoiled.

Amid the bittersweet beauty of the paintings brightly lit and hung with care; the tears, hugs and laughter among friends and family (including new friends brought in by the library), one gentleman stepped forward to speak to me. He had known my brother, although not closely, he said. He spent part of the last two weeks of my brother's life with him. They rode together in my brother's car discussing the difficulties my brother was having. They spoke of my brother's lessening options about housing, healthcare, travel, depression and my brother clearly stated that one of his choices would be to end his life. No one in my brother's close circle of friends or family had any inkling that this was something he was considering.

Tears sprung to my eyes as he recounted this conversation and mumbled about how he wasn't so close to my brother and didn't know who to call or what he should do. I called my sister over to continue the conversation and I bowed out. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to scream. I wanted to ask him why he didn't say something to anyone?

According to the MAYO Clinic and other suicide prevention sites, if one speaks of suicide they must be taken seriously. Speak up even if you might lose the friendship because you will save a life.

If you believe someone is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt:

  • Don't leave the person alone.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what's going on.
  • If a friend or family member talks or behaves in a way that makes you believe he or she might commit suicide, don't try to handle the situation without help — get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. The person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed.
Furthermore, taking action is always the best choice.

"When someone says he or she is thinking about suicide, or says things that sound as if the person is considering suicide, it can be very upsetting. You may not be sure what to do to help, whether you should take talk of suicide seriously, or if your intervention might make the situation worse. Taking action is always the best choice."

There are suicide hotlines everywhere; such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The telephone number is:  

I know this chap had no ill intentions. Perhaps he felt uncomfortable since he didn't know my brother very well and wasn't sure who to call. Maybe he wasn't even getting the story right since he seems to have told my sister and I two different versions. So, all I can say to those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation, please err on the side of caution. That person's family will be forever indebted to you. 

Steve Crohn's Paint Palette. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment! I'll write about what you'd like. Let me know.