The man across from me could’ve been any man.
He served me tea. We small talked and then he told me about how is son killed himself by jumping off the bridge in Limerick into the River Shannon. He recounted the days spent on the river searching for his son. He talked about the man who found his son and how he came to the funeral.
“And that’s not the end of it,” he said.
Three months after his son jumped in the river to his death, his wife did the same thing, leaving the man with five kids to raise.
We sat in the Limerick office of the Samaritans and talked for nearly two hours. The Samaritans operate in England and Ireland. “Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.”
For the past few months and into the foreseeable future, much of my time has been dedicated to the financial crisis, which seems like a pin prick compared to the bomb that was dropped on this man’s life a few years ago. If anyone should be mad at the world, it’s the man.
He broke down several times. But he cried the hardest when he was talking about how beautiful his first granddaughter is and how she pulled the family together. In fact, his family is closer than ever. They volunteer more. They value many things more than money.
“I think this (financial) crisis might be good for society. For us to get back to what’s important.”
Talking to the man was one of them most amazing experiences of my life. I felt that he had been through the fire and come out with this wisdom to share.
Tom with the Samaritans in Ireland and Patricia with Living Goods – an organization that supports family members of someone who died by suicide – made my day of interviews happen. It was a gift. For their support and for their great work, this Tuesday I’m donating $10 to the Samaritans.
Suicide shouldn’t be a taboo subject. Treating it as such only makes it worse on the families who had a love one die by suicide. That’s another thing, we should all know, don’t use “commit suicide.” People commit crimes. People die by suicide.