So you can read my books

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Ghost of Hemingway here.
I noticed yesterday as I read Roland's computer journal
he wrote of suicide.

I have a good word to say for suicide --
Three actually

I committed suicide at the age of sixty-one.

If you are considering suicide ...


Most gut-wrenching problems you encounter will thankfully be short-term ...
although the darkness they give birth to seems to threaten to last forever.
Do not choose a solution for them that is
long term and permanent.

The good thing about suicide is that you can always do it tomorrow.

The overlooked thing about suicide is that it is infectious.

There have been five suicides in the Hemingway family over four generations --

my father, Clarence;

my siblings Ursula, Leicester ... myself;

saddest of all, my granddaughter Margaux.

The generation skipped was not. Not really:

My youngest son, Gregory, died in 2001 as a transsexual named Gloria, of causes that make a mockery of the term "natural."

I recall the time that I, in one of my arm-around-shoulder moods,

congratulated him for his fine attempt at a short story, which Greg had stolen word for word from Turgenev --

one of the masters I prided myself on knowing.

Yes, I knew he had done it.

But I was trying to ... to build a bridge I had torn down with my own actions and words.

One moment cast a shadow, one long enough for Greg to write that he was glad that I was dead so
"I couldn't disappoint Papa any more."

The moment came on Greg's last visit just after the death of Greg's mother, Pauline.

She died suddenly, about the time Greg had gotten into trouble
for taking drugs.
I was raw with the loss.

His visit to my home in Cuba went well for a time only because I kept biting my tongue.

Greg confided his plans for medical school.
If only he had kept his mouth shut after that,
but no,
he always had to speak that one word too many.

He spoke of his drug incident.

"It wasn't so bad, really, Papa," he said.

"No? Well, it killed Mother," I said.

He left. I never saw him again.


Those are the monsters you have to kill,
not some mindless elephant or lion.

I remember those heads of tigers and lions
I kept on my wall.
I can still see in my mind
the Marlins mounted next to them.


I told reporters because they reminded me of their fierce beauty.

A lie.

I thought my mother beautiful.
I kept photographs of her.

I felt a man when I looked at the evidence of my skill, my bravery.


If they held rifles that could shoot back,
then I would have been brave.

Tame the anger, the depression in your own soul.
You will bag the biggest, deadliest game in the world.

That is how you prove your worth ...

and save those around you from the poison you would otherwise feed into their souls.

{The photo of Hemingway is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.}


  1. His mother also probably died by her own hand.
    The chances of someone you know completing suicide increase exponentially with each successive death.
    There are situations where I can understand and accept it (while grieving) particularly given our euthenasia laws. As a permanent solution to a temporary problem? No. And I do all I can to give support and alternatives.

  2. No matter how bad, pain will pass. Suicide is never a solution in my book.

  3. Once again, a well written post.
    Suicide damages those left behind much more than the person who commits it. After someone suicides, their loved ones often say they had no idea he or she was having problems. They should have.
    I understand that Depression (like alcoholism) is a medical problem, but millions of people come through it every year without suicide. If someone you love starts giving things away, talks about feelings of worthlessness, or all the trouble they have caused, or speaks of harming themselves, get them help.
    I speak from experience. I lost a very dear friend to suicide and nearly lost a family member. Pay attention to those you love!

  4. Addendum to the above.
    I am reading posts in the order they appear rather than the order they were written in.

  5. A friend of mine also has suffered a few suicides in the family. Genetic? Coping mechanisms can be taught, and faith is definitely a factor -- both can be passed down through the generations. But you're right. It's up to each of us to tame the inner beast.

  6. Some are stronger than others, and can cope. Others cannot, and unless they reach out or someone recognizes the signs of need, we lose them.

    We should not assume everyone has that strong inner core, with faith or not, to battle a feeling that consumes you.

    I've also heard a majority of crisis centers, call-type, offer very little help, due to volunteer status of its helpers. It's useless to put people on phones who are so ill trained they make the situation worse.

  7. Elephant's Child:
    A nasty side-effect of suicide is how infectious it is. Just a glaring headline of it can be a dark catalyst.

    None of us know until that moment comes. In the Old West, settlers often opted for suicide when they were down to one bullet and the Apaches closing in.

    You gave very good Clarion Calls that someone is contemplating suicide -- we ignore them at that person's peril and our own when we look back and think of what we might have done.

    I am sorry you lost that dear friend and very glad you did not lose that family member.

    I understand about reading my newest posts first -- I was just concerned that those who read FREE might take the wrong message from it.

    Depression can certainly be genetic as can alcoholism -- so we should pay attention to any leanings we might have that echo family members' past conditions or actions.

    A strong faith in He who I call the Great Mystery is a definite help when storm clouds gather and the way grows dark.

    You are so right: each of us possesses different pain thresholds and inner strength. We have to mind the individuals in our lives that we care for -- and not brush away any warning signs we might pick up.

    Have you noticed that with grief or pain that your awareness narrows down to a strange tunnel-vision where all you can see is your pain? So many live years in such a dark valley.

    Before anyone volunteers at a help center they should take care to investigate just what resources they are allowed to point callers to.