Death: Too Close to Home - a Travel Nurse's loss of Family Member


By Jennifer Traub

May 2, 2019



Too Close to Home – a Travel Nurse’s Death of a Family Member by Suicide


The effects of mental illness and suicide on its sufferers and their love is all too familiar to me.

I had a cousin named Stefan

Whom I grew up with and was like a brother. He has had a huge influence on my life. He had tons of friends, was good looking, smart, funny, and the life of the party. Stefan had it all. Little did any of us know what was truly brewing below the surface.

He suffered with severe depression and masked it with drugs and alcohol. He portrayed he was happy and had it all together while remaining too proud to ask for help or acknowledge he even had a problem. Perhaps he viewed that as a sign of weakness.

I was on my first travel nurse assignment in Fresno, California when I woke up to the news that Stefan had committed suicide at age 32 years old and was found on the bedroom floor by my aunt and cousins with a rope around his neck. He had suffered in silence.

It has been 3 years since his death,

..yet the wound is still fresh. There are so many unanswered questions  I have including what demons he faced and where he is now. It is incredibly painful to have someone you love leave you in such a drastic way. How could you choose to take your life? Isn’t life all we have?

My message from this horrific experience is this

No one is better than anyone else. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your job is, what you look like, how much money you have, etc. As drastically blunt this is, we are ALL going to die, so therefore we’re all the same. You would think given that logic, we’d make existing a little more pleasant for one another.

Growing up and living in the world, and this country could be very tough. Especially today. Society sets a bar of what people feel they should look like, be, or have. They are constantly bombarded with images of this on social media and the internet. If they fall short, they feel like they don’t measure up and are a failure. They feel they shouldn’t exist.

My message to you is that is so wrong

Success could be defined in so many different ways even if it includes just being a good freakin’ person to someone else and performing random acts of kindness for people even when no one is looking. If you’re going to be anything in this life, be kind. Many are facing daily battles that you absolutely know nothing about. Being kind could go a long way even if you don’t realize it. It could even potentially save a life.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The CDC reported that in 2014, there were more than 40,000 deaths by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all ages.

There is no one cause for suicide. Risk factors include social isolation, substance use, mental illness, and situational crises.

If someone you know is considering suicide, talk to them. Listen to them. Let them know that you are there with them and that they are not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24 hours everyday

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