Sam: His Mother's Suicide

Sam recalls the day his mother died as a “sunny Monday.” He came home from school at 3 p.m. and needed to use their one family car for a job interview at a restaurant. His dad often carpooled to his job. Sam opened the garage door.

Then I saw mom laying in the front seat and so I . . .carried mom out to the patio. Then the phone rang, and it’s someone from the restaurant asking, “Are you coming in to interview?” [I answered] “No, I can’t make it today.” Then I go back. I don’t know what to do, except I’m not going to a job interview. The phone rang again and it's dad. I said, “Dad, you have to come home. It’s a terrible emergency. Come home quick. Call an ambulance.” I always felt sympathy for dad taking the taxi for half an hour from downtown not knowing what to walk into. But then I had the blessing of being with mom for maybe five plus minutes before I heard the sirens way far away getting closer and closer. I had the nice experience of just holding mom and waiting until someone else figured out life for me. Then the ambulance and police arrived and then the neighbors and I don’t know who else. By the time things were wrapping up, there were over 30 people in the circle.

Several neighbors met Sam’s sister, Joann, an eighth grader, at the school bus stop. Joe then gathered both children and drove to Miriam’s parents’ home. When they arrived, his grandmother immediately knew something was wrong. Sam remembers that night as the longest night in his life. He observed, “You keep thinking, is this a dream? What’s happening next?”

Joe provided an explanation for Miriam’s suicide. Her “boyfriend” who was older and wealthy had given her an ultimatum that she needed to leave her husband and children and go with him or he would end the relationship. Joe believed Miriam could not decide and took her life by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage.

More of the Story: Grieving