Elder suicide looks us in the eye, thanks to columns written by Leslie Linthicum in the Albuquerque Journal.
The facts: In the northeastern community of Roy, Geraldine Ray, 89, was found lying face down on her bed with cotton balls up her nose, plastic filling her mouth, and packing tape across her lips. The state Office of the Medical Investigator called it a homicide, despite two suicide notes in Ray’s own hand. The woman’s daughter was arrested for murder. Her family never believed that for a moment, neither did Linthicum, and science backed them up. Charges were dropped.
OMI didn’t think a person could kill herself that way. They must never have met a willful woman. I come from a family of willful women, and you’d be surprised what they can do.
I had just returned from eye-opening visits with elderly relatives out of state, so Linthicum’s column hit me in the heart.
Cousin Betty (name changed), my role model, was gorgeous, successful in her job, known by everybody in her Roswell-sized town, married with two boys and managed the perfect home. She now has macular degeneration and can no longer drive, she’s diabetic, and she’s had one hip and both knees replaced, not entirely successfully, so she walks with a cane. Four months ago, her husband died.