Is killing ever justified…I have thought deep and long…

                                                       …but am still at the start point.

She lay writhing as the waves of pain assaulted and receded. Every night, I buried my head under the pillow, yet heard her moans piercing, like needles through fabric.

Six weeks, Mom had withered and Dad aged.  Mom’s cancer was killing Dad.

One night, a shadow wavered past my opened door. In bare feet and crumpled pajamas, I followed.

It was Dad, in one hand her medicine and in the other, a heavy revolver. I crept silently back to bed, my heart pounding out of my rib cage.

There was a loud crack, followed by soft sobs, then silence. I’ll never forget the acrid smell of cordite that filled the house that night. The note said suicide.

For fifty years, I refused to recount or revisit that tragic event. Today, looking down on the wrinkled face and shriveled body, which lay, gasping away the last breaths of life, I had to know…about that terrible night.

“…the insurance money…we decided…I was the better caregiver…you needed me more,” croaked the voice, before breaking into whizzes and coughs. “That is why…your Dad took his life.”

********** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2012 **********


  1. I lost my breath for a moment there, until the chills that ran down my spine moved my body back into action!

    Such a strong love for his family, making sure they were provided for. I can clearly see the undecidedness of the question now. That’s a toughie…and may never be truly answered. He did it because of he loved them – he should have stayed because he loved them. It’s a torn debate.

    Very beautiful story

    1. Dear Christine,
      Thank you for visiting, reading, mulling and commenting.
      Perhaps the answer is there but we need to ask the right question…if we only knew.
      All good wishes,

  2. Tough choices but who is to say it is right or wrong. Understanding love and self-sacrifice – only the one experiencing it can truly propels himself to make a choice by his action. Some see it as selfishness while others empathize his plight. Hope that God will have mercy and turn these painful events to make us stronger.

  3. I tear up reading and commenting.
    Though painful… what a self sacrificing show of love. I hope you find peace with this… painful as it is.
    My heart hurts, and is in awe of such unwavering love.

  4. Hello again I was posting on my phone and hit the wrong key!! As I was saying I saw my parents die, years apart, I saw how my mother withered when my father died and went down on fast spiral loosing all spark of life. Finally she had three strokes and lost contact with real world we had to have her put into a home, we as family found her the best we could a place run by Nuns and a happy place. But when I visited with the children she did not really know us, occasionally we would get a tiny spark of recognition only for it to disappear as quickly as it arrived!I selfishly was upset and annoyed at the fact I had travelled so far with three small children on two trains and two long walks , ( double that for return trip too) and she hardly or even did not know us. I did these visit fortnightly and sometimes my husband would take us in the car at weekends. Finally she died and I do hope she is now with my Dad who she truly loved. I and I guess that my brothers and sister do too ,feel guilty that we did not have at home with one of us . But none of us could provide the 24hr care she needed……
    Then again in 2010 I had to watch a very close friend wither away with cancer and die, her last four days , those were the only days she allowed me to be with her , and I was, were terrible , agonizing ….don’t ever tell me that some one “past peacefully ” if they had cancer! Yes I am still angry so forgive me. I cannot take up your space here with my grief but this post of mine may explain a little, do not feel any pressure to read it though. Anyway back to God and assisted suicide I do not profess to have any answers but I do dare to ask God why he lets some people suffer so it is not good, it is not kind, it is not fair.She also left behind a sixteen year old son.
    I am sorry for the rant ……… I came to your blog because you have visited mine a few times and this time you left a comment so I came to have a peek and found this post. I shall subscribe to your blog. I wish you health and happiness and if your post is true I pray you were not too badly affected and that you were not too young when your mother passed. It is so hard to loose your parents or parent at any age but when so young it can be catastrophic and live marring.I pray you have survived well.
    Please for give my out pouring and thank you for your wonderful post.xx

    1. Hello my dear,

      Please forgive me my awkward words below.

      I have seen your blog and you have talent wrought from your deep, no doubt. I shall not tread there. Many have already said that which needs saying. No words I have to remove even one straw.

      Lay your heart to HIM open and raw. It has worked for many and for me, and perhaps we can count you in.
      His peace, I give you,

      P/s I know words are a poor tonic…

  5. Hello Eric I am new to your site. I was saddened deeply by this post the terrible effect that the suffering of a loved one has had on the family as a whole. The tradgic ending of a life, and the guilt of the survivors. It makes me wonder what God is playing at setting such painful situations to test us. I pray this is a work of fiction but I fear it is all too true. I know how hard it is to watch loved ones struggling to die the most recent last year. I have seen exhaustion, pain and fear in both my parents eyes before they died

  6. My heart goes out to you so much. I feel speechless, I can’t even imagine. I am so sorry. I have no words to comfort you, really. Somehow, i feel like nothing we say matters on this one. it’s about what you said. & it is so beautiful to recount it. So painful, & yet, your title says it all…closure. I wish i knew what God is doing, but, all i know is that there’s gotta be more. And I know you are very aware of this & involved, but especially when pain knocks, hold your faith dear, embrace the gift of Mary’s comfort, & know that Jesus is real. I can’t even imagine this. even typing this now, all my words seem so empty.

    You know, to a certain degree, I envy you… To have recounted & revealed your most painful memory to the world, with your name & picture attached… There must be a sort of freedom that comes after that, very few men have ever felt. I envy that. I wish i were as brave as you. I wish for that sort of closure. You are very blessed. And you bless many people all around you. Even on this site, i feel so very blessed to have stumbled upon your page. It’s so inspiring. I’m so in awe of you & your life’s triumph. An incredible witness.

    In my prayers, unwritten truth

    1. @unwrittentruth
      I wrote this reply for you

      To grieve for an unknown is to reveal one’s humanity
      In our daily distractions, we lose opportunities many
      It cools me these poor words touches your humanity
      Carry not this burden, you already have many
      If you witness one bent under, recall your humanity
      Give a thought and remove one straw from many

      Peace be upon us, Eric

  7. Eric this is so beautifully written and heartfelt. I agree with you that we are not the ones to cast rocks on those who struggle with these burdens. We are taught that we are never given burdens that we cannot carry…life would show us otherwise. All we can do is encircle those living through heartwrenching difficult times with humanity and love. I also agree with Peter (gs) that it is a wonderful thing that the WWW and blogging allows us to share and reach out to each other… well done buddy – Love Jane x

    1. Hello Gunjan,
      Thank you for the visit and comment.
      Terrible choices are placed at people’s doorstep…I drop a small pebble hoping for ripples that say > don’t judge, ever.
      Peace, Eric
      P/s Good luck and take care with the meditation.

  8. Eric
    There are some losses that are much more devastating just due to the nature of them. The depths of despair that invade the world of some people is beyond our comprehension. Wonderfully written.

    1. Dear Anita, you have succinctly encapsulated the theme. And thank you also for your compliment. Peace, Eric
      P/s Looking forward to your next short story. Loved that flash fiction about breakfast with the grans.

  9. Eric, a tragic story, a painful memory, share here so eloquently as only you could do, I feel. If this was YOUR story, you have my prayers for your peace of mind and comfort. There were one or two families in my home community who experienced similar traumatic life-takings. We do not know what is right, what is best! We can only reach out in compassion to the survivors.

    1. Dear Rose (yes, I trawled through your blog and managed to lift your name),
      What an eloquent compliment. Thank you.

      Several readers have hinted that they would like to know whether this is a true story and whether it is my story. Please do forgive me if I retain certain confidentialities. I write based on my life experiences and the experiences of people close to me. I also think I am a keen observer of people and events.

      You too have witnessed heart-wrenching events that forces one to confront certain questions. God bless your fortitude.

      Luv, Eric

  10. I am blown away at how the WWW and blogging is bringing these deep questions to light, sharing with others so we can learn about ourselves. What a burden to carry for so many years, and to finally touch it, and find it remains, but no longer has the weight it did. I watched my mother waste away in ICU on a respirator, pacemaker, feeding tube, etc. for 104 days after surgery for Ovarian cancer. There was more than once I thought just two minutes with my finger covering the vent… but then the law would have called me a murderer. She died before dawn on Easter Sunday, I still find meaning in that. Blessings to you and your family … Peter (gs)

    1. Hello Peter,
      It is an honour to have you visit and share your own terrible experience.
      The law is a straight jacket and religions tend to be a little dogmatic, at times – I reckon. If society does not reach out to help, then it should not fold arms in judegement or worse – cast rocks.
      God bless and keep us from being tested,

  11. Wow, this is a beautifully written piece with a little twist at the end. I enjoyed reading it very much. I came to your blog after you liked a poem on my blog. This piece is pretty cool.

  12. A very sad story.It makes me more sad that something like this happened to me once. Although I thank god that it did not pull through to such an extent. Yet, although it was a sad story, I was still mesmerized by this.Your posts are amazing and I hope you continue to do so. thank you for liking my post as well.

    1. Thank you for your visit and sharing something about your life. I am glad that it did not go the full tragic length as this tale.

      I appreciate your compliment about my posts and shall continue to bring Life, Love and Family stories and poems.

      Please also look out for me as I plan to visit your blog, Eric

  13. As I read through, I found myself hoping this wasn’t a true story…I know somewhere that I’m indulging in wishful thinking.

    Piercing and touching.

    1. I am not one to pass judgement but we need to look deeper into similar human predicaments. When society abandons and leaves a person to his/her own faculties, we should not be quick to cast rocks at their decisions.
      Thank you for your visit and comment, Eric

  14. Somehow it seems to be a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea: dad, unable to cope with pain and sorrow, kills himself and mum is dying. Who is going to look after the poor orphan then?
    But still a sad, beautiful story, well written and with a poignant, unexpected end. (I like sad stories!)
    Steph xx

    1. Human laws are clear…but I often wonder about God’s part in this. I am a firm believer that suicide is very wrong – that our life is not ours to destroy. Yet, there are times when that belief is shaken (not demolished, but shaken).

      Thank you my dear, for your compliment on my writing. Oh, sad stories…you like a good cry once in awhile. Therapeutic, I reckon.

      Luv and hugz, Eric

  15. This…is beautifully written. I tip my hat to you…if I was wearing one…Lol. Lovely and sad, but always lovely to me when someone’s mouth shuts and allows their heart to speak and write. 🙂 God Bless You.

  16. What a sad, sad commentary! They have a system in this country where, when the aged caregiver is getting to a point where they cannot handle the stressful sickness of their partner, the sick partner is taken into what they call “respite care.” This allows the caregiver a time of healing so they can carry on to give their care to the loved one. However I have to agree the stress of seeing your partner for life suffering would never be removed from consciousness. Another good blog to make us all think.

    1. Hello Ian,

      Yes, most countries, including Singapore, have good systems and facilities in place to help the poor and sick. Though, there are many more where the help facilities are found severely wanting – even in developed countries.

      I wonder still…is the taking of life ever justified.

      Peace, Eric

      Incidentally, this story has its genesis about 50 years ago, when medical and social care as we know it was in infancy.

  17. I followed over to your blog after you ‘liked’ one of my poems. I especially like your descriptions of senses in this piece. It brings the reader closer to the moment. If this is a true story, you have my heartfelt condolences for your pain. Children deserve so much from the world.


  18. Oh, what a painful story. I know that these kinds of things go on, but to read it in such eloquent words. . .whew!!! I of course don’t know if this is auto-biographical or just a story, but I think it will speak to people who know of or were in a family where this type of thing has happened.

    For me, it reminds me of the day in 1972 when my 14 yr old brother died a very tragic death. The family would never be the same.

    Godbless You Eric!

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