Suicide, So Many Questions

Last Friday, September 30, 2016 would have been the 60th birthday celebration of my sister, Linda, my only sibling. Linda took her own life fourteen years ago, in 2002, at the age of 45.

I share a poem I wrote September 2002.

I Got A Call the Other Day

I got a call the other day From a lady unknown to me; a total stranger on the line Linda is dead, she said

Jumped from her 7th story apartment balcony Splattered below, in broken pieces Coroner came; scooped up what was left She was no more

Apartment is emptied; ashes have been scattered No body to view; No stuff to sort; No questions answered Linda is gone

My Mom informs me my Dad is struggling with what he may have done to contribute Linda jumped on Father’s Day, could be an indicator? or Incest, violence, alcoholism, abuse, hatred of kids... Hum..............Perhaps; Struggling.........Doubtful

What is family? What was family? An only sister with no contact for over 7 years? Not seen in 16? A Mother who wants to know when I will be reconciling with my Father?

Linda planned this, the lady said Since February, at least, “How to” books by her bed No machines for her; no half-ass attempt She got it right

I got a call the other day From a lady unknown to me; a total stranger on the line Linda is dead, she said


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over ONE Million people die due to suicide every year. ONE Million. Stop, take a breath and think about what you just read.

On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.

From my perspective as a mental health worker in the United States and globally as a humanitarian aid worker, that number is much higher. Suicide is massively underreported, often as an “undetermined death.”

As was the case with Linda, mental health disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide.

I close with a quote I truly believe in my heart.

“Suicide is not chosen, it occurs when the pain exceeds the resources for coping with pain.” Anonymous


Karen Stewart

Twitter: kjoverseas

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