It made me laugh when I recognized the room. Nothing had changed in the 20 years since I'd been there last, even the same paint was peeled in the same corners. Of course when my mother was in psychiatric lockup it was because of a breakdown having to do with a disease, something far easier to comprehend, even with the little green men and taking dogs. This was my father, the man with no fear, the great Scandinavian stoic who had suffered a lifetime of indignity with a raised head and focused eye.
They didn't even have a meeting room. There we were in the
patient lounge, surrounded by cuckoo nesters, discussing what would
become of daddy. It would be a come to Jesus meeting. We were to tell
him everything we felt about his suicide attempt, explain to him that
this was unacceptable.
“He needs someone to talk to besides his
children,” I said; “he needs camaraderie with people who have lived
through similar tragedy and survived.”
The shrink on duty
explained that while there may be some therapy involved, 97% of
depression was dealt with through chemistry. It was then I decided that
if that’s what the world has come to, suicide wasn’t necessarily
unacceptable after all.