I mentioned in a recent podcast that one of my friends recently committed suicide. He was same-sex attracted (SSA), single, and in his fifties. This is a tragedy, and I hope to understand better how it happened.
I hope some of us can work to keep others from suffering a similar fate!
Eryk and I first met 15 years ago when he joined our church. He was one of my housemates for a few months back then, so I saw him daily.
As an introvert, Eryk read a lot and kept to himself. It was difficult getting to know him, even living in the same house. The only time I ever saw him express strong emotion was when one of his relatives died.
Over the years, I stopped to talk to him at church but never on a deep level. He had lived alone for several years and apparently felt distant from the few friends he did have. After his last close relative died, he found himself in a very emotionally painful situation.
Eryk had no spouse, no children, no parents, and only a distant half-sister. Many people were suspicious of him as an older single guy. His other SSA friends didn’t pay as much attention to him now that he was in his fifties.
Eryk became dangerously depressed, and no one was close enough to effectively do anything about it.
Looking back, I can certainly put myself in Eryk’s place and understand how he could become depressed. But I didn’t take the time and effort to notice and take action.
The day before he died, I talked to Eryk after church. He appeared intensely disturbed, but he would not let me in. He said he was busy and moved on.
By then, it was too late. When Eryk did not show up for work, his employer called the police to report him missing. The police broke into his apartment and found a gruesome scene that one officer described as the second-worst he had ever seen in his 20-year career.
At Eryk’s funeral, I saw several other single guys in their fifties who I suspect are also SSA. I’m sure they all thought about the pain in their own lives.
Brothers, how can we prevent depression and suicide from happening with other older single SSA guys? How can we relieve their pain and give them something to live and hope for?