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Understanding Death and Suicide - Part 2

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Two weeks ago, I met parents who's 11 year old boy committed suicide. And I talked to the mother and I said "what happened?" How does an 11 year old commit suicide? Eleven year old. Gorgeous child! There's a whole life ahead of them. She said, "I don't understand it. He was a happy, healthy, normal child." "He always did what we wanted." And I said "ha?" "Could you repeat that?" I wanted her to hear it. And she said he was a happy, healthy, normal child "who always did what we wanted". And I said "tell me what happened in the last 24 hours of his life". And she said "nothing". I said "tell me anyway". She said, "he came home from school", eleven year old, "he made one of his long faces - you know an unhappy miserable day and he was kind of roaming around the house", obviously something happened. Before dinner the father confronted him, said "what's the matter with you?" and he confessed that he brought 2 bad grades home. Nobody asked how bad is bad or how come, or was it a bad subject or he didn't get along with the teacher - discuss what's happening! The father said he tried to teach him a lesson. And so he said to this 11 year old, "if you don't care, we don't care" and they decided to have dinner and nobody was allowed to look at him during the meal. And you watch an 11 year old guy swallow a meal and desperately look at his brothers and sisters and mom and dad and everywhere he looks, they look away from him. And he was obviously heart-broken. And that's my interpretation. He went to his room, hoping desperately for SOMEBODY to come. Nobody came. When mother made her rounds, to tuck the children into bed and kiss them good-night, she decided to teach him a lesson. And she skipped his room. Never tucked him in, never kissed him good-night, the next morning he shot himself. But in the language of grown-ups, "nothing happened, he was a happy, healthy, normal child, who always did what we wanted". And that is the tragedy of our generation. Because if you raise with "I love you, if", children take things very literately. And children believe, that they are only loved, if they bring good grades home, "I love you, if you make it to highschool", "boy, would I love you if I could see my son a doctor". "I love you if you can bring the right boyfriends or the right girlfriends home" - and they have to belong to the right denomination - you know, all the ifs and ifs and ifs. Any human being that was born, in a family that ploughs 'if' will have problems in life. Horrible problems. Because they ALL become prostitutes. You prostitute yourself with good behaviour - do you understand, the word 'prostitution' in what sense I mean that? You will believe that you can buy love, with good grades, that you can buy love with good behavior, that you can buy love if you look pretty. And your need for approval will always be insatiable. And you ALWAYS be unhappy for the rest of your life. That's why earlier generations had less problems, because they had grandmas and they had grandpas and they had 3 or 4 generation people in the house and there was always somebody - you know - around the clock, a grandma, that loved you totally and completely - no matter how dirty you came home, she loved and talked to you. There was never an 'if' attached to it. Any human being, who has experienced unconditional love once, will be O.K. If... it doesn't have to be... you know... necessarily a mother or father, who were also raised without unconditional love. And because of the depression and the hardships parents had, they only decide that you should have it better. And therefore, you should go to a better school, you should have an education, you should have more security. As if that would help you at the end of your life.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 27 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: EKRFoundation
Director: EKRFoundation
Views: 102
Posted by: tinaki on Jul 12, 2010

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross talks with high school students. Taken from the 1981 video, Understanding Unconditional Life. Dr. Kubler-Ross talks to high school students about death & dying. Specifically talking about the best way to approach a dying patient, as well as suicides in young people. For more information, please visit,

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