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Friday, 22 August 2014
Suicide. One man's Experience.
With the tragic news of Robin Williams' demise still fresh in our minds, and much talked of in the press, the subject of suicide is again being widely discussed.
I think there has only been one case in my family; at least to my knowledge.
My uncle and aunt were 'eccentric', to say the least. They lived about 200 yards down the road from us in my native Surrey village, in a house that was OVERFLOWING with furniture. Sofas were stacked in rows in the sitting room, and the small dining room (well it seemed small) contained at least two huge roll-top desks as well as goodness knows what else. There was a permanent feeling of 'chaos' in the house.
Eventually my uncle went mad, and was taken away (around 1960?). The last thing I remember him saying to me was how upset he'd been to see children running away from him in fear.
My aunt visited him regularly, and on one occasion was seen by a senior psychiatrist who tried to give her comfort by saying that 'he would soon be home'.
This preyed on my aunt's mind so much that she eventually decided that she'd had enough. There had in fact been no hope whatsoever of his ever returning home, and the psychiatrist's 'kindly' assurance had been the final straw.
Before taking her own life she had become totally irrational. Amongst other things, she posted envelopes filled with cash to all her siblings, and bought several enormous joints of beef that just hung, uncooked, in her pantry; I still have no idea why.
One day a neighbour phoned to say that he'd noticed several bottles of milk on her doorstep, and she hadn't been seen for a while. We were then living on the south coast, and immediately drove up to Lingfield to see what was going on.
As the smallest it was my duty to enter the house via an open window, and I found her slumped in an armchair with her mouth covered in white powder from all the pills she'd swallowed. I was probably about 13 or 14.
Her action was all her own doing, but for years I blamed the psychiatrist. I do also think that the milkman should have averted someone (albeit too late to do any good); and what her butcher thought she was up to, I really cannot imagine.
With my aunt no longer around, my uncle's London-based (long lost) sister suddenly appeared on the scene and bled him dry of money. She also emptied the Surrey house of anything of value, before eventually inheriting it, and selling-up. In a previous will my uncle had apparently left me £1,000 (a lot of money in those days), but by the time his sister had finished with him all that had been changed. Hey ho; what you've never had, you never miss.
As children, my sister and I spent quite a lot of time at my aunt and uncle's house, but I think even then we knew that they were a bit strange. Maybe this is why I wasn't really surprised about their ends.
I'm now wondering if I should have written about all this.
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 50 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live between an ancient cottage in a tiny village in perfectly tranquil French countryside, and a bijou townhouse in Brighton UK. In France we have plenty of fruit trees, all situated amongst a view that takes the breath away, in the UK we have a handkerchief sized patio. We also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!