Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Time My Uncle Committed Suicide

When I was a toddler and he was in his thirties, my Uncle Charles committed suicide.  He was my mother's brother.  I knew him, but I was too young to remember him.  I don't know how he did it.  No one ever told me, and I never thought to ask.  He was out of state at the time, and his wife (ex-wife?), Janie, was at home with their three young children.

I remember being young, maybe six or seven, and asking my mother why Uncle Charles had killed himself.  "Because he knew he was worth more dead than alive," she said.  She explained to me about life insurance policies and how he'd had one.  She also explained that debt collectors had started calling my grandmother as soon as he died, but she had been smart and refused to give them anything.  The non-transference of debt was one of the most important life lessons I learned as a child. 

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