As found on this site.
"Dear Senator Reid:
First I would like to thank you for your work in extending UI benefits to millions of us Americans who depend upon these for basic survival. I also applaud your work on passing health care. I know these were tough tasks, and ones which you put yourself in the line of fire in order to get passed.
Senator I hope you will read my letter carefully. This is probably the single hardest thing I have ever had to sit down and write. I know that you personally know the pain of being a suicide survivor. I am writing today to share my family’s real life tragic experience of the 2009 economic crisis. I am also writing to plead to you for help for a group of us that the Congress has forgotten about - those of us who need a Tier 5 Unemployment Extension because we have exhausted all of our 99 weeks of UI benefits. Those of us who cannot find jobs regardless of how qualified we are, or how hard we look. The country has been deceived into believing that everyone has been looked after with the 60 day extension recently passed. In fact there are millions of us out here who have exhausted all four levels of UI benefits and are scared and suffering. Millions of living and breathing human beings who feel pain and shame, more desperate than we ever imagined we could be. Many of these desperate and scared people without UI benefits will be faced with a very real option that they will consider – unfortunately I am speaking of Suicide.
My dad, S, killed himself March 16, 2009 because he ran out of money and could not find work. My whole family had been devastated by the economy. He was 61 years old and could not take it anymore. He could not figure out how to keep the electric on, buy food, or keep a roof over his head. A day before his electric was to be shut off, and 2 weeks away from eviction, my dad took the hardest walk of his life. He left a note on the dining room table for my sister and I. His suicide letter said “I love you. I had to do this. I ran out of money. I wish you both luck in your lives”. He left the door unlocked with the door key left in the lock. He carefully laid out two suits for us to pick from to bury him in.
I almost caught my dad in time, maybe another 10 minutes and I could have saved him Senator Reid. Dad walked 2 blocks down to the Belmont Memorial Pier in Long Beach at 10:15 am, and walked into the men’s restroom midway down the pier. He took a glock hand gun and shot himself in the head. We called the police when we found the suicide notes. I cannot explain to another human being the depth of pain I feel inside. I will never forget the image of police and coroner’s cars in front of my dad’s condo. I will never forget the looks on the officer’s faces when I walked in. I will never forget hearing the words “they found your dad’s body”. I could not believe what they told. I made the coroner show me his face. They argued and warned that I shouldn’t see this. But I had to, it was my dad, I wanted to understand what was going on. After shifting through many frames cautious so I wouldn’t see the death scene photos she found one with just his face showing, his head was wrapped in a towel. He looked sad and old and asleep. I will never forget the spectator I crossed paths with as he walking out of the restroom laughing because there was not enough of my dad on the restroom wall to entertain him. I will live with horror of this in my head forever. The beach and piers are a really bad place to me now. I avoid the pain they remind me of. I remember looking in my dad’s refrigerator to see how much food he had left. I was desperate to understand what happened at 10:00 am that led us into this horror. There wasn’t much food there. The lights were going off soon, the heat and so on. He must have been terrified. How do you take your last walk knowing you will never touch earth again? How do you walk in that restroom door knowing you will never see daylight or the ocean or your family? I have a million questions Senator. Did he pray? Was he feeling alone and hurt? I will never know the answer to any of these. All I know is that dad left a note in his pant pocket with my phone number for the police to call me when they found him. I know that I will feel really lousy every March 16th and every Father’s Day. On top of this my family could not afford to bury dad. Thank God distant family helped us do what we could not here. Most of congress will never have to figure out how to bury their loved one after a suicide because they have no money.
On a blog for those of us praying and hoping for a Tier 5 Extension I read about another person who has exhausted her benefits. She is, or possibly was by now, 50 years old and had no family other than two dogs and a cat. She was writing about her despair and her only remaining option. Unable to find work and with no UI benefits she has $850 left to her name. Her plan is to take her three pets to a local no-kill animal shelter and give them over, along with her last money to look after them. She is then going home to commit suicide. I wrote back on the blog as did many people and begged her to reconsider this. We offered to be an ear or shoulder and share her fear and pain.
I have called and spoken with most of the senator’s offices and spoken with aids in each office. I relayed my family’s own story of pain and suicide. I also explained about the suicidal woman with the pets. Almost all of these aids acted as if they were bored or indifferent to my call. Each one offered a carefully crafted monotone exit line. However, I spoke with Mike in your Reno office. Mike stopped and listened to my story and my pain. He was the only person I crossed paths with that responded with kindness and compassion. He was kind enough to help me understand the process, and what you are doing to help us seeking a lifeline through Tier 5 Extension. I asked Mike if I write this letter could he please get it to you.
Congress continues to ignore the need for a Tier 5 Extension. I pray you will make this your mission to pass a Tier 5 Extension. There are millions of people out here terrified and suffering. While Congress delays and debates and ignores many of these people will perish. One of these people was my dad. He is not just a tragic story, he was a real living human being to me – he was my dad. Please Senator stop one more person from reaching such a dark and desperate place.
You have my permission to use my story in any manner which you feel appropriate Senator. I ask that you please not use my name or the location of my dad’s death. We already experienced a second page newspaper story the day after dad’s death.
You have my respect Senator. I sincerely hope you will fight for us – we need you right now!
**A note to those who have not been impacted by the current depression and a note to those who are living comfortably (as in no threat of being homeless or hungry anytime in the foreseeable future): You have an obligation to help out your fellow unemployed human beings. It would be an immense help if you would copy this letter, send it to your representative, then command that the EUC program be extended through years end (at minimum) AND that an additional tier of benefits for the long-term unemployed (aka 'the 99ers') be added. Like it or not, eventually we will all have to deal head on with this issue. The growing number of homeless people are going to have no choice but to begin to take from those who have, especially if services for the needy continue to be cut. The answer isn't to deny them the right to safe shelter and food. The answer isn't to turn this country into an us versus them wild-wild-west atmosphere. The answer is to HELP in any way one can. And a great start is to help those of us in this situation by writing and/or faxing - regularly - your representatives. Thank you.