Dear President Trump,
Late last night we found out that our close friend’s nephew killed himself. This man was prone to isolating and so it wasn’t too odd that he’d not been responding to calls and texts, but the family was getting worried so they asked for a welfare check. We don’t know any details yet, but he was found dead in his home and it was clear he committed suicide. We never met this man, but for years we’d heard about his struggles with mental illness and his sense of betrayal by his parents and their struggle to support him and hold all his anger and distress. His parents are about to have their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend and it was already going to be a bittersweet day because their other son died years ago as a teenager. As I understand it, the man who killed himself was convinced his parents loved the other son best and had a deeply conflicted relationship with his father. The last day anyone saw him alive, he and his father fought and the father apparently, uncharacteristically, yelled back. I feel so badly for the father; even though the man was carrying the seeds of his own destruction and watering them diligently himself, I imagine his father will not be able to help blaming himself for the timing. And now the parents are about to mark 50 years of marriage without their sons, which must make the world feel like a very upside down and unfair place to be for them.
I realize none of this has any direct link to you but his death and all the pain it is causing and will cause is on my heart today and writing to you about anything else would not have felt right. There are about 121 people who commit suicide in the US every day and if we conservatively estimate that each of them were closely tied in with at least 10 people, it means that over 440,000 people are directly affected by the 44,000 people who take their own lives each year. It would be really good if you remembered you are president to all these hurting people and if the rest of us remembered that we don’t know who exactly is suffering and tried to do a better job of being kind just in case.
May we all be safe from our demons.
May we all have enough happiness to hang in with life.
May we all be healthy enough to get help when we need it.
May our lives unfold and intersect in the context of care and support.