Suicide in the obituary?
My sister killed herself on Saturday. We weren't close. She was 48 and miserable for the last 40 years. My parents are refusing to list her true cause of death in the obit; they want to say she died of a short illness. I'm against that because it's a lie.
They're devastated, so I'm not pushing the issue. However, I cannot go along with their decision.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||10/30/2013|
OP, what ever did you do to her at age eight?
|by Anonymous||reply 1||10/28/2013|
I agree with you, OP. Maybe they can write " ...died of her own hand."
|by Anonymous||reply 2||10/28/2013|
Julie, regardless of the announcement's wording, you can still mention it at the wake to everyone you meet.
"She offed herself, you know."
Don't give up hope.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||10/28/2013|
I've seen "died at home" which covers many situations. "Died suddenly" when a neighbor's kid was in a one-vehicle SUV crash.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||10/28/2013|
Amish men "take the rope." Amish women "take the gas."
|by Anonymous||reply 5||10/28/2013|
If the family chooses not to disclose the death as a suicide:
Avoid using euphemisms such as “died after a brief illness” or “died as a result of an accident.”
Making no statement about the cause of death is better than stating something misleading. Be aware that if the cause and manner of death have been determined by the Medical Examiner they are a matter of public record and can be accessed by media or others who request the death certificate.
Not openly disclosing the cause of death sometimes forces friends and family to “pretend” the death was not a suicide when it may be obvious (or known) to others involved.
Families who choose not to disclose the death as a suicide isolate themselves from the support of other people who have survived the suicide of a loved one.
Stating outright that the individual died by suicide will do the following:
Immediately end all the rumors and innuendo that often accompany an untimely death – especially the death of a teen or young adult; Allow friends and families who are also suicide survivors to come forward and provide support from their own personal experience; Allow mental health counselors and others to begin postvention activities that may help prevent suicide contagion/reduce the possibility of future suicides; Assist in reducing the stigma associated with suicide.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||10/28/2013|
Obituaries are often euphemistic. This is understood by most people.
Why do you feel the need to broadcast her cause of death? It's insensitive and unseemly at best.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||10/28/2013|
R2 thinks she's Edith Wharton.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||10/28/2013|
My sister killed herself a few years ago at 48. My sympathies....I *do* know what this is like.
Having said that, it's rare to list the exact cause of death in this curcumstance. I wrote my sister's obit and simply said "died unexpectedly."
|by Anonymous||reply 9||10/28/2013|
Assist in reducing the stigma associated with suicide."
Why would you care if there's a stigma if you're dead?
|by Anonymous||reply 10||10/28/2013|
I think a family should be given a lot of leeway on something like this. If "a brief illness" makes them feel better, let it be. I am assuming they can justify this as not being a lie if the illness in question was mental illness.
r9's "died unexpectedly" strikes me as being the best option. I don't think I've ever seen an obituary which directly referenced a suicide, except in cases where the person was famous in same way.
Not too long ago a friend of mine killed himself, and there was no reference at all to how he died. They wrote something like "Bob joined with the Lord on August 5th." I thought that was fine, too.
Still, if you're family really wants the "brief illness" line, just let it be. Obituaries of average people don't need 100% accuracy for the historical record. Anyone who really should know the truth, will.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||10/28/2013|
r9, yes, a friend of mine killed herself and they also used "died unexpectedly" in the death notice. I'm not sure how it works but I don't think "suicide" is considered an official cause of death, at least as far as what would be listed on the death certificate. It would be gunshot wound or asphyxiation or overdose of medication or whatever method they used, and getting into that kind of detail in a death notice would be a little grisly. Anyway, I think a coroner or an inquest would have to be involved in order for it to be officially established as suicide for legal purposes, and that probably wouldn't be finalized before the death notice went up.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||10/28/2013|
Leave it alone. This is so much easier for your parents than having to field all the questions surrounding a suicide and knowing that people, well-meaning people are talking about it. Same thing happened in my family, My cousins also probably about 48 or 50, also a very miserable,person her entire life did a double suicide with her husband. No one had seen her in decades, we only heard from her when she sent hate mail. We were told not to tell anyone, it was too hard for my aunt and uncle to deal with the questions and the sympathy. When my uncle passed away a few years later and my cousins name appeared in the obit as deceased, it was natural for people to ask, we simply, said it was a tragic auto accident and left it at that. My aunt has passed away since then so I don't suppose it matters if I tell, my other cousins, her brother and sister certainly don't care one way or the other.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||10/28/2013|
It's extremely rare that a suicide is reported as such in an obituary. They normally say something like "So and So died suddenly."
My uncle killed himself several years ago and that's what his family put in his obituary. He was a sad old drunk too.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||10/28/2013|
I can think of no occasion where a cause of death is listed in obituary, outside of an obit for a notable person.
OP, who is paying for the funeral arraignments, because part of that fee covers the cost of printing the obit. If your parents are paying, or if its money your sister left behind, then you really have no say in the matter.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||10/28/2013|
OP you wrote that you weren't close to your sister so what is it to you to let your parents decide. Who is it going to hurt anyway ? You sound like a not easy to deal with man...
|by Anonymous||reply 16||10/28/2013|
Technically, suicide is not a cause of death. It just points to who was the person responsible for what caused the death.
For example: asphyxiation is a cause of death. This can happen by strangulation by a stranger (murder), hanging oneself (suicide), drowning (accidental, purposeful - via murder or suicide)...
You get the point.
So under no circumstances should an obituary say that it was a suicide. That's a news item. Not a remembrance.
Think about it. No obituary says "so and so was murdered." It's tacky. The obituary should have a feeling of peaceful remembrance. It's not a news item. It's not gossip. It's not finger pointing.
That said, I also don't think that it should contain lies. Several of the euphemisms listed above work nicely..
|by Anonymous||reply 17||10/28/2013|
"I can think of no occasion where a cause of death is listed in obituary, outside of an obit for a notable person."
Cancer seems to be an exception. I've seen, "After a decade long fight with breast cancer xxx passed away Peacefully in her Springfield, X home."
|by Anonymous||reply 18||10/28/2013|
Newspaper obituaries in my area don't list cause of death. They are a brief summary: name, age at time of death, survivors, and arrangements.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||10/28/2013|
My cousin once had a job at the State Bureau of Records coding cause of death off the death certificates for the state's vital statistics.
She said heart disease and cancer were the most prevalent, but suicide was "up there" too.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||10/28/2013|
Bob joined with the Lord on August 5th."
Hmm. As far as I know, Christians consider suicide a mortal sin, so I wouldn't be so sure he "joined with the Lord." On the other hand, I doubt "the Lord" exists in the way they imagine, so it's probably a moot point.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||10/28/2013|
OP, one enters the single word "suddenly" in such cases, if any "explanation is wanted." That is all one needs to do. It removes judgment, prying eyes, and unnecessary explanations, while letting everyone know that the family didn't see it coming.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||10/28/2013|
It is not necessary to fight the fight of removing the stigma of suicide in one's sister's obituary. Even the word "suddenly" I suggested is not necessary - the family need not feel it owes any explanation to anyone, and that is called discretion and privacy, not falsity. This is not a public person, for heaven's sake.
You can share information orally if you want. And once one person hears it everyone else will.
FInally, I actually am a suicidologist - I've spent 25 years studying suicide. And please know that "the stigma of suicide" is relevant only in terms of addressing risk factors and developing interventions. One wants suicidal people to talk about it, get help. Once a suicide is completed, it is the feelings and sensitivities of the family that matter; the dead person is beyond help or harm either way. And unfortunately, given the horrid way people approach the subject, there is nothing wrong with a family seeking privacy, especially during the time leading the the funeral arrangements.
Good luck, OP.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||10/28/2013|
Give the eulogy.
"Sis always was a do-it-yourself kinda gal."
|by Anonymous||reply 24||10/28/2013|
I, for one, always want to know if the stiff died of the syph.
Sometimes I "sign the guestbook" on the online obituary and ask the question, "Hey! Did your stiff die of the syph?!"
|by Anonymous||reply 25||10/28/2013|
OP, why don't you join her?
|by Anonymous||reply 26||10/28/2013|
[quote]I agree with you, OP. Maybe they can write " ...died of her own hand."
Huh, huh, huh, huh... hee, hee, hee
|by Anonymous||reply 27||10/28/2013|
[quote]Hmm. As far as I know, Christians consider suicide a mortal sin, so I wouldn't be so sure he "joined with the Lord."
Not all Christians, R21. I'd even venture to say not even most. This isn't 1372.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||10/28/2013|
"She voluntarily entered Heaven with her own hand."
|by Anonymous||reply 29||10/28/2013|
Died of a hard landing while flying off a five story building.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||10/28/2013|
So, R28, you're poking fun at R21 for not knowing which of the myriad delusions in your magical book of scary stories you still swallow without the slightest trace of critical cognition, and those you chose to throw out as too nutty even for you during an accidental moment of lucidity in the past?
|by Anonymous||reply 31||10/28/2013|
My small town seems to like: "Was gathered up by some angels and taken home to our precious Lord."
|by Anonymous||reply 33||10/28/2013|
After they submit the obit, call the paper, etc. with a last minute edit: "A beloved sister and daughter has been called home early to Heaven. May she now find the peace she never found on Earth".
|by Anonymous||reply 34||10/28/2013|
Whenever I see "died unexpectedly" or "died suddenly" I think it's suicide. Very few death notices actually discuss suicide.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||10/28/2013|
R31, please show me where I said *I* was a Christian. I have less than no interest in ANY religion for my own path.
However, I have studied both old and modern religious tenets (including Christianity) enough to know what the poster above me blithely stated is untrue.
And since R21 made light of the thing in the first damn place, what's your damage from MY making light of his/her comment?
|by Anonymous||reply 36||10/28/2013|
R35 Actually, when I read those, I think OD. Which I guess is sort of like a suicide.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||10/28/2013|
[quote]Hmm. As far as I know, Christians consider suicide a mortal sin
As far as I know, mortal sin is a Catholic thing and doesn't get a big sell in most mainstream Protestant Christian sects.
As for merging with the Lord, or whatever, let grieving elderly parents say what they want to about their adult child's death.
Atheism is like evolution, you don't have to get all het up and righteously indignant about it other than when loonies try to force their religious fantasies into schools. Truths stand perfectly well on their own merit.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||10/28/2013|
They don't need to list a cause of death.
When I see a younger person's death and nothing listed, I often think suicide. If it's not suicide, I think the family should list a cause of death...or say, you may make contributions to the cancer society...or The Heart Association.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||10/28/2013|
When a Christian's loved one commits suicide, the family usually decides that at the last minute, the victim reconsidered and ask for forgiveness. Christians feel fine about sending most people to hell...except their own.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||10/28/2013|
In my opinion, women rarely hang themselves. Am I wrong about that?
|by Anonymous||reply 41||10/28/2013|
How about, " ...blew his brains out last Thursday after a three-day bender of booze and pills. His brain blowed out real good!"
|by Anonymous||reply 42||10/28/2013|
Why hello there David Sedaris.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||10/28/2013|
I'm not sure, R41. If anecdotal evidence is any indication, women do hang themselves.
They rarely shoot themselves, that's a male thing, at least statistically.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||10/28/2013|
R17, after my many years working in vital statistics research, I can say that your concoction of made-up concepts is overly simplistic and does not align with World Health Organization or National Center for Health Statistics rubrics for reporting. Once again, creative writing should be left outside the realm of reality.
These rubrics for cause of death differentiate between cause and manner, as you state. However, in all major compilations of causes of death, injury deaths (whether unintentional, suicide, homicide, undetermined) are take precedence over the specific ways in which people were dispatched. Therefore an asphyxiation, since it nearly always results from an external cause - non-acute results of aspiration leading to pneumonia is an example - is categorized either as an unintended injury death (accident), suicide, homicide or undetermined intent. These external causes are the ones appearing in tables of leading causes, along with heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD, diabetes and other diseases and disorders.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||10/28/2013|
There was a Rabbi I. My town of national repute who's gay son died from aides back in the 80's, he did a lot of tap dancing around the truth to keepers from knowing, but if you read the obituary, it's pretty obvious.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||10/28/2013|
No one needs to know this, OP.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||10/28/2013|
[quote] These external causes are the ones appearing in tables of leading causes, along with heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD, diabetes and other diseases and disorders.
Nobody asked how the death should be categorized on a table of leading causes, Assburger. We're talking about an obituary.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||10/28/2013|
What difference at this point does it make?
|by Anonymous||reply 49||10/28/2013|
R46, which town do you live in? I'm sure we've all heard of it given its national reputation.
Also, were the aides ever tried for the killing?
|by Anonymous||reply 50||10/28/2013|
OP she was your sister but she was your parent's baby. Everything she has been through including her death has to be a crushing loss to your parents. I say go along with them, they have enough to cope with now.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||10/28/2013|
R23, you say you're a "suicidologist" yet you have apparently failed to succeed.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||10/28/2013|
When my father died (1998) we faxed the Wash Post the obit we had written as a family. We were at the funeral home and faxed it from there. He had died from heart failure that he had after a major heart attack years earlier - but I don't think we mentioned it. Just said long illness. The Post obit writer called the funeral home and asked to speak to me. He said the W Post doesn't post an obit without a cause of death.
Me: He died of heart failure
Him: Everyone dies of heart failure
Me: You are pretty insensitive there Mr obit writer, aren't you? Can't believe you said that. You got a Dad? Cause of death on the death certificate was heart failure. Not going to make something up!
Him: Well, I guess. Hangs up. He wrote a decent obit -but only slightly followed what we had written.
They no longer have this policy. They have death notices that families write and pay for and their obit writers do the ones of the notables. Which my dad was to some degree. He deserved it.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||10/28/2013|
" in all major compilations of causes of death..."
You mean except obituaries, which is the topic at hand.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||10/29/2013|
R6, if the parents don't want to make their kid a poster child, they shouldn't be expected to do so. She's dead and they are living. As far as OP, he admits that he was not close, so why not leave it alone? He should be supporting his parents, who don't expect to outlive their children.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||10/29/2013|
Many years ago a teenage girl I knew killed herself. She had been in and out of mental hospitals for deep depression. Her moron of a brother, an NYPD cop, left his gun laying around the house.
They were an Italian family. They were telling everyone who would listen she shot herself but what was very strange is it seems that it's an Italian tradition to dress up a young girl who dies in a wedding dress and sure enough, there she lay on display at the wake, decked out like a bride. I had never been to a funeral or wake or anything like that before and when it was my turn to look at her in the coffin I actually gasped out loud to see her in there like that.
What was even worse was that every stupid freakin' relative including her mother was saying she looked better than she had ever looked when she was alive. It was easy to understand why she was so depressed in the first place.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||10/29/2013|
r35, seeing "died suddenly," I think heart attack or stroke.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||10/29/2013|
[quote]My parents are refusing to list her true cause of death in the obit; they want to say she died of a short illness. I'm against that because it's a lie. They're devastated, so I'm not pushing the issue. However, I cannot go along with their decision.
OP, how is it that you plan to "...not go along with" your parents' refusal to have the obit state suicide? Are you going to insist that the paper run a competing obit composed by you & referring to suicide? Or are you just going to have "SHE COMMITTED SUICIDE!" printed on the backs of the little prayer cards distributed at the funeral?
If anyone asks you what happened, you could quietly & privately tell those people the truth if you felt it important that they know. Otherwise, please leave your poor parents alone & don't add to their grief.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||10/29/2013|
how about you just don't put out an obituary? what a weird thing to do... writing up and publishing a statement in a newspaper about a family member that died, like it's a rule? wtf, never understood this. i feel like so many people don't know how to live.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||10/29/2013|
Freak show, it is a way to inform people who knew the deceased and/or the family that s/he is dead, without having to contact each person individually (and, in the process, probably missing a whole bunch of people you didn't realize the dead person knew).
|by Anonymous||reply 61||10/29/2013|
OP is an obese misogynist, which explains a lot.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||10/30/2013|