Trying to understand something un-understandable: Suicide

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By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer | Rose Law Group Reporter

A survey published this morning in The Salt Lake Tribune found more than a third of Utahns know someone who died by suicide, 42 percent know someone who tried.

Along side the report, this headline: “Doctor who drowned his wife found dead at Utah State Prison; lawyer suspects suicide.”

A woman who worked for me for five years in the 80s struggled with bipolar disease, and I witnessed the wild mood swings resulting from that disorder.

She was a giving and helping person, loving to present friends with surprise gifts, and Christmas was her favorite time of the year.

She got pregnant by a man who abandoned her, and I decided to do what I could to help. I attended Lamaze classes with her and, at her request, attended the birth of her son.

In appreciation, she gave him my first and middle names.

Today, Phil is serving several years in an Arizona prison on various criminal charges.

Two years ago we had coffee at a local shop. I had left my car lights on, and the battery was dead. Always willing to help someone, she provided her car to jump-start mine. That was the last time I saw her.

 Come Friday, I will be at a Scottsdale park for a memorial service. My old friend took her own life.

It’s doubtful, but if Phil is allowed to attend, I will tell him it’s time he begin living a life that would make his mother happy again.

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