Aftermath: The Legacy of Suicide

Aftermath: The Legacy of Suicide

Filmmaker Lisa Fitzgibbons grew up with the uneasy feeling that things were not as they seemed. Then she finally learned that her father had committed suicide.

Surprised to discover that she is not alone, she reaches out to other survivors and meets two people who also lost their fathers to suicide at an early age.

Robert describes the 30 long years it took to force the truth into the open. Anne-Marie still regrets her refusal as a child to kiss her father goodbye before leaving for school that last morning.

We listen to their stories, presented simply and compassionately against a background of poetic images. In speaking of their experiences, buried emotions resurface. Hope is reborn as all three come to terms with their fathers' death - and with their own lives.

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Ratings: 6.64/10 from 76 users.

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49 Comments / User Reviews

  1. John Krisfalusci

    Suicide... a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Oh wait.. was it the other way around? ROFL

  2. PaulGloor

    Suicide is so very often the most selfish act anyone can commit. While millions dredge on amidst their problems, those few who decide suicide is the answer only succeed in compounding the difficulties and suffering of those close to them.

  3. Mike

    I used to see it as a selfish act. I believe I was trying to talk to anyone else who may be considering it.. The negative ripple effects of a suicide can be very long lasting and reach many people. However, I see it now as an act of desperation. It starts as a 'thought' to try escape pain/depression and it escalates to more thoughts. This is why professional help is needed. Our thoughts only look for quick fix and doesn't care about the long term consequences.. Those considering suicide need to get help.. Not just in dealing with the depression but in changing the direction of the negative 'thought' processes..

  4. Renevonn

    As someone who has mulled over the thought of suicide many-a-times, I've come to understand that a person's stance on the subject really depends on their view of how life is supposed to play out. If you honestly believe that this life is all that you're going to get and after you're dead, you are DEAD, then you'll most likely see suicide as a bad thing.

    On the other hand, if you subscribe to the idea that life is a transitory system like smoke or foam on the water, you'll probably not be so inclined to view suicide in a negative light. After all, the only experience, or the only sort of experience I believe you go through after you die is the same experience as first waking up.

    Going to sleep and never waking up (death) is the just the flip side of waking up having never gone to sleep (birth). They follow each other.
    In that sense, you can't really commit suicide in any meaningful way. You just can't escape life and enjoy dark nothingness because that's not an experience, nature abhors a vacuum.

    That being said, if anyone wants to commit suicide, I personally see no reason to stop them, they are perfectly within their own right to decide when its time to check out. Its sad if they're young and never really gave life a chance, but they'll be back and as far as I'm concerned, if you've sat half-way through the movie and the first half sucked, odds are its not going to improve in the second half and there's no problem in leaving the theater and going to a new one. It is a personal conviction that my life is going to end when I, not anyone else, am damn well ready for it to be over.

    Think about how good of an arrangement it all really is.
    You go through a life, enjoy all the wonders, then die.
    When you are born, you've no knowledge of what came before, which means all the joy and wonder will never lose its luster ^_^

  5. Elina Rubin

    As a person who learn 3 years ago about real reasons behind so called "illness" of my grandmother and then her death 15 years after she got "ill" 27 years after her death, being in my 40s, I can relate what people in this movie went through in their life, even though reason my grandmother died was not a suicide... Actually what happened to her from the beginning to end was not her doing - she didn't do it to herself... and my parents and aunt and granfather and granmother herself all were lied to and nobody knew the truth... Well maybe my granfather did, but I not sure... But still I also was told that I imagining things and there was a secrecy... and I too felt and was "exiled from the reason". Learning the truth about what happened helped me to understand lots of things and I believe things like that shouldn't be kept in secret as it is important to understand for younger generations about what happened to their family members.

  6. Matt Kukowski

    Better to talk about it i guess than holding it in. Like anything.

  7. Daniel Simpson

    No Givingup Here..Life Is a Challenge So Livit..Up and Downs..As u see ,Suicide is the Issue,,Why not Storys of Familys getting together ,After Being Apart for long time..Where are These Storys.??

  8. Daniel Simpson

    Having a reason To What Matters..Why Dont we See More movies and Shows ,Celebrating Familys getting Back together or Finding Your Parents and Realizeing After 48 yrs Your mom Still Dont Care..But Now she does..Where are these Storys..Something Good for a CHANGE...

  9. carol christooferson

    My father commited suicide in 1974 . My son commited suicide in 2009. Now i have no past and no future.

  10. Dan Burns

    About five years ago a woman jumped of a bridge in front of me. I realised she was going to jump when she hopped down onto a ledge, I held out my hand and said 'stay with us' three or four times, she was looking down. Then she look over to me, her face was full of serenity her eyes shining like a masters, she turned, looked down and jumped. It was pretty surreal. But its a moment in my life I treasure.

  11. Dan Burns

    About seven years ago a woman jumped of a bridge in front of me. I realised she might jump when she hop down onto a ledge, it happened pretty quickly. I held out my hand to her and said 'stay with us'. She looked over at me, her face looked so serene her gaze gentle, then she looked away and jumped. It was surreal and intense. But its and moment I treasure.

  12. fhade

    When my Jesus committed suicide-by-police I was depressed for a few months too.

  13. RandomnessThoughts

    My father killed himself when I was 6 yrs old. All my life I have wondered why I wasn't worth living for. In my relationships, I have held on tighter to people and done whatever I could to make them happy, even if that meant giving up what made me happy or what I wanted. I am now 37 yrs old. I have 2 sons and everyday I look at them and think there is nothing in this world that could ever make me choose to leave them. Nothing.

  14. Elina Rubin


  15. Larissa Pelletterio

    My father committed suicide when I was 4, and my older brother was 6. We were told how he 'died' 3 years later, by our abusive stepfather. Needless to say, the effects last a lifetime, and they are not positive. Self esteem issues, the need to please, to excel, yet sabotage every success.. the list goes on. I have often considered it myself, yet I am still here. Depression is not a weakness, but a debilitating dis-ease that is still misunderstood by society, and now exploited by the pharmaceutical industry. Highly sensitive people, those who see life a little differently than the masses are high risk for this affliction. Sometimes it can be sublimated through art and other creative expression, but often the feeling of being "odd" in a practically insane society, takes a strong hold. "How can one be normal in an abnormal world"-R.D, Lang. All I can say, is we're in good company. Some of the most creative, provocative and talented people suffer from depression. I just hope we all stick around to keep remembering the beauty that we're capable of recognising and creating, and not letting the Black Dogs take us down for good. Peace.

  16. Constance

    The only reason I do not commit suicide is that my parents still are alive. The natural way of things is that the children are supposed to burry their parents, not vice versa. When someone dies, one changes their form of existence. Nature recycles spirit and matter. It is not about sleep-and-wake-up cycle, it is about the transformation of forms of existence.

  17. M A

    I've often thought about suicide in my darker moments and I have to disagree with what you're saying. I am not a believer in anything after death save my body being eaten by worms ect... To me, I would wake up in the morning: a) get up and face another day b)don't get up c) slip into the sweet repose that only death offers.
    To me, death was a release and there didn't need to be an encore. Existence itself seemed exhausting and bothersome.
    Suicide, especially in a depressed person's mind, can't be processed rationally like you've described above, it's a thoroughly chaotic, emotional experience and often logic has no bearing on it, depending on how depressed you get.

    These days, if I get a recurrence of something like that, I try and remind myself that depression is a sickness and that a healthy mind wouldn't jump to suicide as the always available option c). But the few times I've experienced the true tunnel vision that is depression, I also know that it can creep up on me and blind all rationale.

    Food for thought, anyways.

  18. Lucy Harper

    Why do you live then if you think there's no reason!

  19. Katherine Minott

    You are a wise, tolerant soul. I appreciate your comments here. Very thought-provoking. Thanks.

  20. M A

    I don't live for what comes after death, if that's what you're wondering. I think there is reason; I think trying to be the best human being you can be while you are here is ample reason to be alive. :)

  21. Kay Gibbs

    I understand exactly how you feel and are thinking. The keyword here being sabotage. I lost my father when I was 19 to suicide. My mother had bouts of suicidal behavior. I started digging and found history, films, a lack of edcuation, and poor thinking habits at the root of their problems, television being the biggest problem in affecting their behavior. Knowing why he did what he did has been invaluable to helping me stop my own acting out of their habits.

    Wallowing in self pity kept me stuck in a rut, but there was a pay off. It got me attention, help, not that it wasn't necessary, it was but I needed to learn to think for myself about what was happening to me and my family.

  22. Kay Gibbs

    Some people often exploit the depressed suicidal person. Much creativity has been born of the depressed personality, climbing his way from his obscure hell into success and popularity. They don't much care what happens to the object of their exploitation. It is their own obsession with success and popularity that drives their behavior leaving death and destruction in its wake.

    Mental toughness is necessary in our society today. NLP, mind control, we are all being manipulated by it in one form or another. Might as well prepare yourself and program your own brain and mind before someone else does.

  23. Kay Gibbs

    oh dear, you do have a past and a future. Your future may be without them but you have a future. I know how you feel, I went through those same kinds of feelings. You will want to stop feeling that way eventually and move on when you have grieved enough.

    That's interesting my father committed suicide in 1974 also, April.

  24. sknb

    nevermind...delete comment

  25. sknb

    It shuddered me to the bone to hear someone write what I have thought so often.

  26. Med

    That was so touching

  27. April Deeana Hughes-Spann

    I lost both my father and my daughter-in-law to suicide. I can truly relate to this wonderful video. The pain is so different from a normal death. My father was 49 and my daughter-in-law only 20. I miss them both every day.

  28. William

    Stunning. Our sister and my parents first daughter took her own life at age 37 in our parents home. So there was no deception. Only the pain we will have to live with that we weren't able to do more to help her.

  29. William

    Beautifully filmed. Absolutely stunning. Our beautiful sister Lori took her own life when she was barely 37. Unlike the families in this documentary there was no deception. She experienced major depression for several years and killed herself in our parents home. That was in 1998 and the words of one of the young women in this documentary speaks to me and how I feel to this day about our loss.
    "Feeling outside the margins of life I am a mourner. To be a mourner is to open the world of one to the other." It's not easy.

  30. sillilil1

    Excellent film! As one who has contemplated and attempted to commit suicide many times, I am so thankful that i did not succeed. This film is a testament to the lifetime of pain that was avoided, due to my failure.

  31. Mohamed Saleh


  32. heishell

    Since my cousin committed suicide last Easter at the age of 28, leaving behind a wife, a 3 year old son and a 6 month old daughter....I have always wondered the actual effects of suicide on children. Thank you so much for making this documentary and sharing your stories!!!

  33. Alla Ravi

    Gibbs it is easy to say to have a future, the thoughts of the past are so powerful, that they slowly make harder even to breath, I know most of the people who go to the point of no return after losing all, but there are some come back strongly, people who come back have a strong support life for every moment of their life which others do not have.

  34. touched

    My Step Father commited suicide a few days ago. I feel so strange and weird.. in fact, I don't know how I feel. Through this very recent tragedy, my family has one advantage, me. I am a uni-polar. I was diagnosed with this emotional disorder a few years ago and it's through my depression and very strong suicidal tendencies that I have helped my mother cope. At 33 years old, I have struggled to hold onto life for so many years now. Every morning is a question, "do I live, or do I die?" I have read through the comments from this documentary and am chilled to see how many people think/thought as I do/did about suicide. I'd like to ask all of you who are or may be suicidal one question.... has anyone in your family ever done it? I am a person that has believed, through my entire life including childhood, that suicide is ok. It's like a cancer, or AIDS, or a heart attack, just another way to move on, but then someone did it my family. He did it just a few days ago. All of those years fantasizing about my suicicde, when would be the right time, how would I do it, would anybody really care, and then someone beat me to the chase. To all of you who are like me, that believe in suicide, please re think it. It WILL hurt everyone around you, you WILL be missed, you SHOULDN'T do it! 33 years of wishing death on myself, and now I get it. I wasn't close to my step father at all. None of the family was because he was plainly said, completely on another planet. But he made me see. To my suicidal friends.... please don't it. please.

  35. Running

    It's like waking up in the morning and deciding you wanna die. Or going to sleep hoping you will die in your sleep and not wake up, than waking up angry that you are alive. There are many moments when you would rather be dead than like this. Depression can eat you alive. Me, I think after this life comes another, like sleeping and waking up a different person.

  36. C B

    Sorry for your pain and loss.

    As a father and someone who's been severely depressed and suicidal many times I can almost guarantee your dad didnt think you werent worth living for. He felt hopeless, that he would never get better, and that you and everyone else he cared about would be better off without him in their lives.

    As I type that I realize it's almost impossible for someone who hasnt been deeply depressed and suicidal, let alone a family member of someone who took their own life, to understand, but it's almost always the case.

  37. bringmeredwine

    You're so right about not doing it.
    I don't do "it" because friends who lived thru a loved one's suicide described it as being "like a bomb going off", leaving bystanders deeply wounded for the rest of their lives.
    I'll wallow in my own misery, put on my "normal" face, and just keep on living.

  38. Alv V

    It's hard enough being suicidal from unbearable pain inside, and it doesn't get much better by feeling guilty from hearing people talking about those being left behind, while having to continue an existence that makes no sense and obviously is hurting the people that care anyway. That just produce the thought that family and friends are better off if I finish it once and for all, instead of just talking about it.

  39. Conny Lake

    they are not 'better off' without you, they are better for having you in their lives. its just that you feel you are not worthy to be in their lives or your own.
    I don't know you, but I would not like to find out that you are dead.

  40. Rim Gook

    I know how you feel. Mental illness has plagued me my whole life. I am 42, everything I own fits in a bag, and I am living with my parents. I often feel it would be a great burden lifted off my family if I were to finally have to courage to end my miserable life. I have pretty much accomplished everything I set out to do..(musically and artistically) its time to go. Alv, you look young...hang in there ok? Or try. I know its really hard. I of all people know. Not an hour goes by that I dont think of a bullet slamming thru my head or a rope tightening down . or a host of other ways. But you have to hang on. Set goals and promise yourself to achieve them. Its what still keeps me going. And know that someone cares. I care. seriously.

  41. Please God Why

    Alv V there is hope for people like you with borderline personality disorder. Get a psych referral ASAP. If you can't afford that get a book on ACT or DBT therapy. Believe it or not a simple workbook can get you on the road to deciding to live.

  42. Don Dressel

    I use to look down on people who committed suicide because I lost my wife to cancer at the age of 31 but after losing a close family friend to suicide at 19 years old and having emotional issues of my own in my mid 50's I have a lot more empathy and understanding of what these people go through!

  43. Honey-pie

    I lost my father to suicide just before my 9th birthday, I wasn't told how he died and I wasn't allowed to go to the funeral. I read about it on the front page of the local newspaper, but I didn't quite understand what a hosepipe from the exhaust of the car in the garage meant, so I asked my mother every single night at bedtime, how did he die, but she would never tell me, saying she would tell me some other time. I eventually found some more newspaper clippings when I was fourteen and I confronted my mother and she told me the truth. It wasn't until the funeral of my maternal grandmother, when I was 34, that I was told that my paternal grandmother, my father's mother, also killed herself and it was my father who found her with her head in the oven when he came home from school, he was ten years old. That made me so angry and devastated that my father could do that to me and my younger brother, after it happening to him at such a young age.

  44. sean

    thanks for your honesty. go well out there & good luck

  45. Gadea

    This was just such an emotionally tough video to get through.
    I want to thank the people that made the video and those that
    shared their story. It has helped other people, who are on the edge,
    more than you can know.
    Thank you very much for covering this subject, that few want to
    talk about, but that affects so many of us.

  46. Lauriesheri

    An excellent documentary. Only those of us who have lost a parent this way can truly understand the pain, the devastation. Like the courageous gentleman in the film, I, too, was denied a piece of my history. My mother chose to not tell us how my father died, nor did she ever talk about him after he went. It wasn't until decades later when a close friend said to me, "you had the right to know - it was your right - he was your father," did I realize the injustice.
    I feel so bad for the gentleman whose Mom, I guess it was, backhanded him for simply trying to rationalize the death, which had never even been explained to him. This was unforgivable - taking her anger at her husband out on her child.
    The silence around suicide is certainly indicative of the shame that stupidly goes hand in hand with it all too often. I have been in that boat, unfortunately, simply unable to speak about it some fifty years later. I applaud these three people for breaking their silence and trying to lift the stigma once and for all.

  47. Brother William

    We need to fight to help remove the societal stigmas of depression. Too many people are suffering alone and they don't know where to turn for help. My brother committed suicide and it was completely unexpected. He always seemed like such a happy young man. No one knew of the demons he faced. I created a website to help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety in my brother's memory. Help is always available!

  48. jon

    No its not a selfish act. And even though i will be pained by it for the rest of my life, it was not a selfish act. Maybe we live in selfish times. Not sure. But the pain she endured just bacame too unbearable. Love you. J.

  49. Hona

    Suicide is the logical end of a thinking problem. Because the sciences refuse to admit that they have no explanation for the existence of thinking, or why it works in the way it does, we have the problems we do in addressing suicidal tendencies. My wife has bipolar disorder and this information is important because it allows me to bring a little certainty to a place where certainty has another meaning. We deal with her condition mostly by ourselves. What she needs, is a constant conversation, and I give her that. Stay strong people, Jesus is coming.

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