Aging and Suicide


Today a release in the Albuquerque Journal Staff Wire headlined “Brother, Sister Die in Likely Murder-Suicide.” Police identified the victims as Kenneth and Shirley Robson, both of whom were in their 60’s. The brother was a caretaker for his sister and they lived in a mobile home. Police detectives speculate that either health or financial problems prompted the murder-suicide.

Perhaps their problems might have been spiritual. I wonder if loneliness and fear were the motivating factors. Our society is one that promises a “safety net”. But what is the safety net for despair? Did the brother in seeking help for his sister get handed a lot of forms with stern admonitions about qualifying for help. Was he met with hard faces at the agencies where he went for help? Did he belong to a church? Did the church look beneath the surface to see the despair? Or were they just overlooked by all these organizations of help as a an unnecessary impediment to their mission.

People over 80 have the highest rates of suicide in the country. Why? They are too often left alone to cope on insufficient incomes and illness without people who befriend them.

While there are many people genuinely trying to help people like the Robsons, I don’t think that government agencies or even churches are the best way for them to get help. Neighbor’s who look out for warning signs, who visit even though they have busy lives, who try to understand the neglected and desperate are the foundation of help. It is so easy to turn a blind eye to the desperate.

How often when I have tried to help someone who seemed needy have I been rebuffed or perhaps my help was abused; the need was feigned. As a consequence I have found myself looking away from problems and letting myself grow cynical. When I do this I miss the chance to help someone genuinely in need that God is calling me to help. I am sure that what I have done is a terrible thing in th<a
Let's look around us and notice those in need. Those who aren't visited, who remain alone day after day and remember what our Lord said about helping our neighbor and the widow and the orphan. Let's not wait for the agency to step in but get them the help they need.

Please let me know what you think about the Robson's. It may be that nothing could have been done. Yet again something might have been done and wasn't. God forgive us if that is true.

3 thoughts on “Aging and Suicide

  1. I know alot about suicide. I have tried to kill myself so many times, I’ve lost count. I did it because of the pain of living, hopelessness, and utter despair. I went to a church. I stood before the church and told them that I needed a friend. I spoke to the pastor after services. All he did was stand there. I could see in his eyes, that he just wished I would go away. So I did. I have no idea of why I’m alive. My brother committed suicide. Shot himself in the heart. That right there should say a whole lot about why he did it. I had reached out to him earlier, before the shot himself. My son hung himself last year. All the pain of this. But when you reach out to others to help you, they mostly smile and say OK then run away as fast as they can.

    • Dear Friend,
      I am so sorry to hear of your exeriences of trying to get help with suicide. I am reaching out to you. I am sending you an email so we can get in touch. I do care about you and I too have been there. Where it seemed that no one cares enough to help. God bless you my friend.

      • I’m on medicine now. I’m bi-polar and it runs in my family. Thank you very much for caring. I’m not suicidal anymore since I got on the correct meds. But I would love prayer to help me over my son
        s death.

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