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ROTHENBURGER – We’ve got to talk about suicide, but how do we do it?

A YEAR AGO on Thursday, my daughter Edyn killed herself. She was 38.

A year before that, in the same month, her son, my grandson Mykel, killed himself. He was 16.

We need to talk about suicide.

I promised Edyn that, one day, I’d write about Mykel. One day. “When you’re ready,” she said.

I didn’t know, of course, that I’d be writing about her, too.

We’re not supposed to say people “committed suicide” anymore, because it goes back to the days when suicide was considered a crime or a sin. We’re supposed to say “completed suicide.” As if it were a project.

We spend too much time talking around suicide and not about it. They are victims, not criminals, but the reality is, some people kill themselves. Suicide is a shocking, tragic, final thing. Let’s not gild our words.

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Edyn and Mykel Rothenburger.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6612 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

9 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – We’ve got to talk about suicide, but how do we do it?

  1. Sandra Warner // March 12, 2019 at 3:05 PM // Reply

    Belated but nevertheless heartfelt condolences. An important conversation for sure.

  2. David Goar // March 12, 2019 at 8:20 AM // Reply

    It took great courage and strength to openly reveal your own situation, and its emotional aftermath, in such a public manner and I, for one, offer my unambiguous commendation and thanks for your candour. I trust you know that such a courageous approach DOES make a real difference in helping all of us address more frankly this issue with both compassion and objectivity.

    Although it may be small comfort, please know that I, as all of the others who have submitted comments, am deeply saddened by your unimaginable loss and deeply thankful for your fortitude in writing this difficult piece.

  3. I appreciated your candidness in opening up about this. We need to break the isolation on this issue. There are lots of families, including mine, who’ve had to deal with suicide or suicide attempts. This is a much bigger problem than people realize. I lived in Sweden where suicide was ranked third as a leading cause of death. But oddly enough, in a country which prides itself on protecting the health of its people, little was ever said about it.

    Stay strong, and keep writing.

  4. Alan C. Kuhnert // March 10, 2019 at 9:02 AM // Reply

    So sorry for your loss…as a parent I cannot comprehend what your family has gone through. As an adjunct, I can’t help noticing the rise of anxiety in our youth (including my children) and the increase in medications (legal or otherwise) to combat anxiety.

  5. Depression seems to run in my family some what. I have had two bouts with it’s disturbing thoughts. Six months apart, second time really scared me. It only lasted the weekend each time. Thank goodness. I did go and see my doctor, after a chat in his office. I walked a way with his conclusion and thought well that’s just a dumb reason. Never happened again. So he must have been right.
    So sorry for your loss, I grew up in Kamloops.

  6. Mel hopefully meant “talking” not platitudes folks.
    Let’s hear some opinions.
    For example on empathy and the willingness to forgive and move on…because that’s not a common find.

  7. Val Wouters // March 9, 2019 at 9:03 AM // Reply

    This is well said and beautiful.

  8. Ian M MacKenzie // March 9, 2019 at 9:02 AM // Reply

    Good article. Well overdue in society. Keep talking, Mel.

  9. Donna Daly // March 9, 2019 at 7:41 AM // Reply

    I cannot imagine losing my daughter and my grandson. I’m so sorry.

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