Ever since Trish Lane told me during our talk about a blunt Reader’s Digest article that convinced her that suicide wasn’t an option, I wanted to find it. It took just seconds. Several websites have posted it as a warning, or a plea. I’ll paste it here, and soon enough someone will let me know whether I’m infringing on copyright and need to take it down.
One note: I was curious about the article’s author as well and wanted to speak with her. What responses did she get over the years? What more would she like to say about her work and the people she met? However, Renee T. Lucero passed away in 2010, according to an obituary on the website of The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Washington state. “Our little songbird has flown the nest,” the obituary says. It does not mention the cause of death, but it does say she was a nurse and published an article on suicide prevention. Here is the text of that article, called “Before You Kill Yourself”:
You’ve decided to do it. Life is impossible. Suicide is your way out.
Fine — but before you kill yourself, there are things you should know. I am a psychiatric nurse, and I see the results of suicide — when it works and, more often, when it doesn’t. Consider, before you act, these facts:
Suicide is usually not successful. You think you know ways to guarantee it? Ask the 25-year-old who tried to electrocute himself. He lived. But both his arms are gone.
What about jumping? Ask John. He used to be intelligent with an engaging sense of humor. That was before he leaped from a building. Now he’s brain-damaged and will always need care. He staggers and has seizures. He lives in a fog. Worst of all, he knows he used to be normal.
What about pills? Ask the 12-year-old with extensive liver damage from an overdose. Have you ever seen anyone die of liver damage? You turn yellow. It’s a hard way to go.
What about a gun? Ask the 24-year-old who shot himself in the head. Now he drags one leg, has a useless arm and has no vision or hearing on one side. He lived through his “foolproof” suicide. You might too.
Who will clean your blood off the carpet or scrape your brains from the ceiling? Commercial cleaning crews may refuse that job — but someone has to do it.
Who will have to cut you down from where you hanged yourself or identify your bloated body after you’ve drowned? Your mother? Your wife? Your son?
The carefully worded “loving” suicide note is no help. Those who loved you will never completely recover. They’ll feel regret and an unending pain.
Suicide is contagious. Look around at your family. Look closely at that 4-year-old playing with his cars on the rug. Kill yourself tonight and he may do it 10 years from now.
You do have other choices. There are people who can help you through this crisis. Call a hotline. Call a friend. Call your minister or priest. Call a doctor or the hospital. Call the police.
They will tell you that there’s hope. Maybe you’ll find it in the mail tomorrow. Or in a phone call this weekend. But what you’re seeking could be just a minute, a day or a month away.
You say you still don’t want to be stopped? Still want to do it? Then I may see you in a psychiatric ward later. And we’ll work with whatever you have left.