Thinking About How Others Would Be Impacted if I killed Myself

Chapter Nine

My brother Gary’s suicide is still embedded in my mind, and I experience periods of regret to this day, which makes me very sad. I have to accept the fact that the memory of it will never go away.

Gary was four years younger than me and was a combat engineer in the Army.  He was part of a team that would move into neutral or enemy territory and make ready for later teams of soldiers to have a little fortress, so to speak. It was dangerous stuff.

When he returned home from Nam, about 1968, he moved in with his and my parents, on Whitegate Avenue in Sunland, CA., still within the city limits of Los Angeles. Gary was a tough guy, started a gang called The Eagles, and twice I took him to an emergency room, once to get his jaw wired and another to do the same to a wrist. All the Philpott boys were boxers; my dad trained us to do this when we were really little. I still pound the body bag and work the speed bag every Wednesday at the gym. Our brother Bruce ended his career as a cop as chief of police of Pasadena. After he died, we found boxing trophies in his closet won in a boxing league formed by L A cops plus the county’s sheriff’s department.

Gary and I were very close, and I blame myself for not acting when we found out he shot himself in the hand. My parents were very concerned and started getting him help at an Army hospital. But one day, early in the morning, he drove to a Lutheran Hospital in San Fernando Valley, parked his VW Beetle under an American flag, and shot himself in the head. My mom, dad, brother, and I were shocked to the core, and we each blamed ourselves for not taking action earlier.

You can see where I am going with this. Yes, what about my family members, my five kids, eight grand kids, three great grand kids, and here their relative, and a long-time pastor, killing himself. Then my ex-wives, my present wife, and all my friends at the church, all the kids I coached at high schools in Marin here, and more as well. How would my suicide impact them? Certainly not good, and some likely very badly.

Right now I am sitting here typing this and I am not feeling good at all. I am almost shattered to even think like this. To be truthful I have wanted to write this little booklet a long while ago, but always seemed to find ways not to.

This is likely the number one reason that when I have considered doing myself in that this issue comes up. I may seem like a real basket case to you reader right now, but let me say I am far stronger now in my desire to continue living than ever before. Please do not worry about me.

I am putting this little chapter toward the ending of this booklet so as not to upset any reader. But it is this reason, the possibility of hurting and damaging others who know and love me if I killed myself. Especially my dear daughters and son, these would be shattered and would never get over it.

Also, I am presenting this chapter so that others who might be considering doing away with themselves to stop and think about how this would trouble others, those who love and know you, even those who you do not feel good about.

Now then, as we near the conclusion of this short series of essays, if you reader are mired in a desire to kill yourself, stop and think it over. Give a family member or friend a call and start talking with them, be real about what is going on in your head and heart. You do not have to feel embarrassed about this, it takes courage and strength to reach out for help.

Feeling, thinking, or planning to take your own life is not at all unusual, especially in this crazy mixed-up world we are living in. I mean, it goes with the territory. To have thoughts or a desire to end it all is not surprising, and I would guess that a sizeable percentage of the population today is experiencing such things, especially the young people. You would be surprised if you knew how many of the people you know are going through some rough spots.

Last Sunday at church, we had a congregational meeting following the morning service. At one point, while making a summary of what was coming up, I talked about writing this book. And wow, so many looked at me and nodded their heads in agreement. Turns out, I was not the only one who had these disabling ideas in their heads. It was at that point, when with the heads nodding and a couple of thumbs up, that I knew this little booklet had to get out.

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