Saturday, June 25


As a member of a large multi-generational military family myself, and the aunt and cousin of suicides, let me just say that when I spoke of the family "wrestling" with Col. Westhusing's alleged suicide, I was attaching no shame to the act. I watched dear ones of my own who lost a child to suicide grieve for what they viewed as their own lack of understanding and failure to act, and to this day they struggle with the idea that if their love had been greater, their sons would not have left them.

The families of suicide victims (and yes, in most cases I consider them victims -- of despair, of hopelessness) characteristically reexamine every aspect of the suicide's life, wondering, "What did we do wrong?" It's a side effect of love lost, a feeling of abandonment, along with grief, anger (even at the victim) and bewilderment.

It's ironic, but over-achievers and self-critical perfectionists have a higher risk factor for suicide than the general population. Col. Westhusing, by all accounts, definitely qualified. Perhaps the very nature that made him such an exemplary human being also drove him to despair at his inability to make the difference he so wanted to make in the mess we call Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the intention, he should be honored. For the failure, he cannot be blamed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't know Ted Westhusing. You didn't grow up with him. His love for his country and for his family was ENORMOUS. He was a problem-solver. Being a devout Catholic and family man, he would have never considered suicide as a viable option. You are hurting his family and friends by reporting such nonsense. The investigation into his death is ongoing. How do you sleep at night?

3:13 PM  

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