Suicide By Mistake
Something happened before I was born that changed my life in ways I probably still don't recognize.
My grandfather suicided. Accidentally.
I warn you, this is not a nice story. My grandfather was severely mentally ill. My aunt describes him as the meanest man she ever knew.
Diagnosing from a distance, which I would ordinarily never do, I would guess he was bipolar, especially as that disorder runs in my family. And meanness is typically a symptom.
Duncan, my grandfather, once spent six months in a mental institution after he nearly beat my grandmother to death. He was around 6 feet and strongly built, she was 4'11" and thin. He abused her when the mood struck him, continually paranoid that she was cheating with the neighbor who lived miles down the country road or that she was somehow undermining him or stealing from him. She wasn't.
Once my father reached adulthood, he took steps to save his mother from his abusive dad. After one beating in which Duncan, standing over her with his foot on her chest, held a shotgun to her face, my dad spirited my tiny grandmother off the farm and halfway across the state to his brothers house.
Duncan begged and pleaded to get her back. No one listened. She was safe and never going back.
So he developed a plan that he knew had to work. He took the BB pellets out of a shotgun shell, loaded the empty shell into a 12 gauge shotgun, held it to his head and pulled the trigger. Certain the attempted suicide would arouse enough sympathy that she would return to him, he thought he could promise never to harm her again. Everything would be fine.
My dad found his body a day later. The concussion of the blasted shell wad exerted enough force to kill my grandfather instantly. He had manipulated no one but himself.
The moral to my story is this: when someone threatens suicide, even if it appears manipulative in nature, they need help. Manipulation can be a symptom of mental problems. Don't wait, sometimes accidents happen when anger takes over. Sometimes unintended suicides succeed.
My dad never stopped feeling responsible for his father's death and it colored how he related to others. He feared intimacy and closeness. Especially with his children.