Today’s the last day of National Suicide Prevention Week, so I have to ask myself—is there anything we could’ve done to prevent Rob from doing what he did?
In the days after his death, the answer seemed obvious: YES! For God’s sake, I was with him the day before he killed himself. Shouldn’t I have picked up on warning signs? Shouldn’t I have asked him if he was depressed or how he was sleeping or if he was still going to AA meetings? Shouldn’t I have offered to give him money or get him meds or take him to the emergency room like I did a year before? Shouldn’t I have done something? Anything?
Shouldn’t we have been able to nip his mental illness in the bud when he was a little boy and get him on the right combo platter of drugs to smooth him out? Shouldn’t we have thrown him into rehab where he could’ve received proper treatment and then maybe he would’ve turned his life around? Shouldn’t we have done more? How could we have let a thing like this happen? Did we fail as his parents?
Seven months later, the definitive answer to that question is NO! In my heart of hearts, I know we did everything we could’ve done. Woulda, coulda and shoulda can go fuck themselves. We couldn’t save Rob because Rob didn’t want to be saved.
He took his own life, accidentally on purpose, in an impulsive moment, and if it didn’t happen then it would’ve likely happened in the future. With all the close calls he had in the past, it was kind of amazing that it hadn’t already happened.
I get that this week is a big awareness thing for a very important issue and it’s great to shine a light on how to better understand this national crisis. I also get how this week represents an effort to remove the stigma attached to suicide and to support those who survived a suicide attempt. I get all of that and wish everyone well.
And maybe reading this blog might help someone who struggles with some of the same demons Rob struggled with, and he or she can find some comfort here. That would be wonderful and my greatest wish.
But I don’t think we could’ve prevented Rob from taking his own life. Nobody could’ve. He had made up his mind. He was determined. He wanted the pain to stop. He was out of here. End of story.
Benjamin Franklin or whoever said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” never met Rob, and therefore didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.