I mentioned my own close approach to it in Out of the Closet, and how I reacted to my friend’s suicide in this comment.
Eric shared more details of his heart-wrenching story.
“I too was severely depressed and was saved from killing myself by Beethoven.
“I had decided to do it and stayed out very late thinking about ways. I got home and decided to listen to The Emperor concerto for the last time. I lay on the floor with my ear to the speaker with the volume very low so as not to wake my mother.
“When the second movement started, the notes were so lovely that I could feel the combination of Beethoven’s depression combined with great hope and that hope spread through me and changed my mind.
“Life became even more difficult and I dropped out of high school and took up lots of very dangerous behavior. But I was a fighter at that point, and just kept on digging myself out.
“I am still undergoing that process today.”
I’ve pointed out before what courage it takes to reveal such a story, especially when the battle still has to be fought every day. Now I have something to add.
Eric and I were lucky. I was weakened by pacing back and forth along the river bank, unable at last to decide if I had the courage to drown myself. Eric’s strength was restored by Beethoven. We were saved by something unintentional.
We had hidden our decision from those who loved us most. Only something unintended could have stopped us.
Our parents would have been devastated if we had not been stopped. They would have felt such guilt because they had not noticed our suffering, or had under-reacted.
We fear for our loved ones, our children most of all, and we rightly try hard to keep those fears to ourselves. But while banishing fears of imaginary harm, we must remain alert to what can be very subtle signs of another’s pain.
We must learn how to ask, gently and with enough insistence when we sense a loved one’s pain so that we will get the chance, if they are lost in misery, to try to help while help is still possible.