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The ramblings and observations of a kidney transplant recipient, although not necessarily for that reason.

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Friday, September 15, 2006
This is a break in the Mexico story just to say that my mother's cousin, Mary Jo, died yesterday. I don't know what relation that makes me....2nd cousin or something? Our families were not that close. I had never even met the woman, but my mother did know her and in the past couple years had to deal with her quite a bit because when Mary Jo's mother (my great Aunt?) died, she had left some money to my mother, aunt, and uncle. Mary Jo was the executor of the estate so there were many dealings with her during that settlement of inheritance. My parents had visited her home in the past year or so and really enjoyed Mary Jo's company. She seemed like a very nice, normal lady.

It turns out that Mary Jo, age 60, was taking medicine for depression. I'm not sure which one, but apparently one of the side effects of this med was that you can become paranoid/delusional. Wenesday night, while she and her husband were sleeping, she sat up straight in bed and said, "Ted, I will not allow you to put me in an institution." Ted was confused. There had never been any talk of institution. Ted never regarded her has either crazy or unable to take care of herself, and had not ever even thought of the idea. Mary had never shown signs of the above mentioned side effect before. This was the first time it ever came up, and Ted was surprised, but it was the middle of the night. Tired, confused, and not sure how to react, he calmed his wife, laid her back down, and went back to sleep himself.

When Ted woke up in the morning, Mary Jo was no longer in bed. It was not really that uncommon as she usually woke before him. He did his morning rituals, bathroom, kitchen, coffee. Ted couldn't find his wife anywhere. He looked around, front yard, car still there, back yard. Back yard. I have no way to describe what Ted saw in the back yard, I doubt very many people on earth have seen what Ted saw. All I can say is that what Ted saw was a result of Mary Jo waking up in the middle of the night, pouring kerosene all over herself, and lighting herself on fire.


I can't fathom a scenario led by depression or delusion that could lead someone to commit suicide by SETTING THEMSELVES ON FIRE. I completely understand there was motivation for suicide. I've been there.....but slit your throat, shoot yourself, jump of a bridge, pour a bottle of anti-depressants down your the fuck can you decide to set yourself on fire? I don't get it. I can't even imagine what DELUSION you could have that could lead you into that. Maybe you think your body is covered in bugs and you're trying to burn them off? MAYBE???

"Mother fucker" is all I can say and I almost never say that unless I'm driving.

Ted, I never want to see what you saw.
posted by othur-me @ 5:02 PM  
  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Liz said…

    Mother fucker.

    That IS a weird story.

    When I get depressed, I usually sleep for 14 or 15 hours.

    I feel sorry for Ted. Are they sure it was the meds? Killer, you should chime in on this. That seems so extreme; to have gone from "normal" to a suicidal in 8 hours...

    What was the drug or do you have to refrain from disclosing?

  • At 11:52 PM, Blogger othur-me said…

    Liz - it's hard for us to get any real details because it's such a distant part of my family. It's hard to ask people who are practically strangers any deep details about her mental state and such. It's wierd. I don't get how any line of thinking, stable or unstable, drives someone to setting herself on fire.

  • At 4:28 AM, Blogger Jane said…

    My first thought after(OMG how horrible!) was that her husband did it.

  • At 9:41 AM, Blogger othur-me said…

    Jane - I was talking with some friends about it last night and that thought did come up. But...if he was going to kill her and later claim she committed suicide, it just seems like he would have picked a more common form of suicide to emulate.

    Setting someone on fire isn't exactly form of murder that happens all of a sudden and then you quickly try to come up with an excuse. Its the kind of murder you plan, then leave the country once you do it.

    Still it is a possibility, but whether its a bizarre murder or bizarre suicide....someone has to be completelly crazy here.

  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger Killer said…

    I know that suicidal tendencies are a major side effect in anti depressants with children, but I did not know it was bad with the elderly.

  • At 6:01 PM, Blogger Jane said…

    Has the coronors office officially ruled her death a suicide?

  • At 9:44 PM, Blogger othur-me said…

    Jane - I don't know. Apparently the obit is supposed to come out tomorrow. I'll let you know what I find out.

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger rawbean said…

    Wow that is an unbelievable story. She must have been completely dillusional to have done that.

  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger othur-me said…

    There was nothing in the obit of how she died and I can't find any news stories on it.

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Jester said…

    Believe it or not, this isn't actually an uncommon occurence...

    Ancient cultures viewed fire as a "soul cleanser" and used it in purification rituals.

    In more recent times fire was also used to purify souls, see also burning witches at the stake.

    Think of the death and rebirth of a phoenix in flames.

    These are very powerful images that we have all been exposed to, that reach our subconcious and stay there.

    While her delusions are unquestionable, it's not so hard to understand a circumstance in which a person would think the only thing left to do is set yourself on fire.

    Also, she could have just been cold.

    I've seen what Ted saw (not your 2nd cousin, but another person) and yeah, you want to avoid that as much as possible.

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