I think my elderly father is thinking of taking his own life...
May 14, 2010 8:04 AM Subscribe
My father recently intimated without saying outright that he was thinking of ending his life.
He's 77, has been living with the after effects of strokes for about 15 years or more and has lost his ability to enjoy pretty much all of his passions.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
He was a renowned debater and was chosen often to adjudicate debates but he can no longer speak clearly (he had the most amazing baritone voice but now his voice is a permanent muted scream combined with major slurring). Growing up, our entire lounge room was filled with books but now he can no longer read more than a page of a book without suffering from severe headaches. He was physically very strong but now can barely walk. He was always in control of his life, until the strokes, but now he has little say in the day to day running of things.
His wife, my stepmother, is going to have a major operation in a few months time which will necessitate my Dad going into a nursing home and he told me that he feels that he is failing, physically and mentally, and believes that this will not be a respite thing but a permanent thing.
He told me that he has lived longer than his own father and that he is scared. I tried to get him to tell me what was scaring him. Was it physically and mentally failing even more or the prospect of going into a nursing home for good or the thought of ending his life by his own hand? He didn't answer the question.
I can understand why he feels that he doesn't really have much quality of life any more and I empathise so much with him. On the other hand, I love him so much. He is such a major part of my life and the thought of him no longer being here is almost unbearable. On the other other hand, I have to face up to the thought that death is a part of being human and we'll all be gone someday.
Should I try to convince him to leave it up to Nature? Should I tell my brothers and sister what I think he's thinking? Should I tell my step-mother that he's implied he's thinking of ending it himself? She told me that he's being talking a lot recently about what he wants to happen when he dies, and that he feels like he doesn't have much time left but I don't know whether he's actually said to her that he's thinking of ending it himself. Should I just say, I love you and it's completely your decision and I'll go with whatever you want?
My father and I worked together for 10 years (that was ten years ago, before his strokes) and he was in the habit of being more open with me than pretty much anyone else, although in recent years he's kept pretty much everything to himself.
I'm very upset about this, although I'm deeply honoured that he felt able to share it with me, even though his actual intentions are pretty oblique at this stage.
Should I tell the rest of my family about this? I'm so unsure. He rang me today and asked me to come around tomorrow so I'll be seeing him then. Should I try to get him to be clearer about what his intentions are? He's not a man to be pushed into something or away from something.
Do I have the right to, or should I, do more than just listen to him?