Two things strike me about the death, at 84, of the prolific writer, Kurt Vonnegut:
The first is that he was willing to talk about his suicide attempt many years ago, and that later on, nearer the end of his life, he proclaimed:
"My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I'll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children."
The second point is that Vonnegut’s mother did kill herself, just before Kurt went off to fight in World War II.
The first item is important because depressed people who can be open about their suicidal wishes can get help. If others are willing to talk about the suicidal ideation, the attempts, and the deep depression that leads people in that direction with those who are depressed, then help is already on the way.
The second item is important because when there is one suicide in a family, it’s often a telltale sign that there may have been other suicides previously, and a warning that future family suicides may follow. This may be true because of genetic tendencies toward suicide; because one person’s suicide gives a lesson on how to end depression to a later generation; or simply because of the sorrow and grief that follows a parent’s suicide – a grief that may become depression and is never-ending.
On both counts, while it’s sad to learn that Vonnegut has passed away, it’s a lesson in how a depressed person can eventually overcome suicidal wishes and live on for himself and his family until other causes end his life.
Read more SharePosts about Kurt Vonnegut from our community: Community Pays Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut
Published On: April 12, 2007