There was an editorial in our local paper today due to the recent suicide of, former star NFL linebacker, Junior Seau.
It reminds us that a suicide occurs every 15 minutes-about 34,000 a year.
I'm often reminded about "Richard Cory," a narrative poem written by Edwin Arlington Robinson that was first published in 1897. The speakers are townspeople who admire Richard Cory. It describes a person who is wealthy, well educated, mannerly, and admired by most everyone. Despite all this, he takes his own life.
"Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean-favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich-yes, richer than a king,
And Admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head."
Lessons: you can't judge people by their appearance-there's more to a man than what appears on the surface; money can't buy you happiness; we can't always predict or control suicidal behavior; and individuals who we think are at the highest risk are NOT always the ones who actually kill themselves.
And finally, for all who might be considering suicide...It's OK to ask for help. Please ask.