Terry Mollner: Father’s final act showed him to be truly free
To the editor:
I want to deeply thank Laurie Loisel for her guest column “One family’s decision to tell the truth about suicide.” My father took his life. Our mother had died a couple years earlier, he was taking a pile of pills, and there was nothing left but misery, with the prospect of soon living in some old folks home and not in our longtime family home, deep in our ethic community.
He also thought it was not sensible to waste the money Mom had saved to keep his body alive when his life was over, and thought an early exit would be very helpful in his six children’s lives. He left a beautiful note with no self-pity, took an overdose of sleeping pills, went down into the garage, turned on the car, and went to sleep forever.
At Saint Joseph’s Church in our Austrian-Hungarian community in Omaha, Neb., my father, Hienie, had ushered at the 11:30 a.m. Mass each Sunday morning for over 50 years. He was, from all observations, a devout Catholic man, adored in our community as the lovable butcher, owner of Mollner’s Meat Market that he ran with his two brothers, Emerick and Leo, after his father died.
Yet, in his final act he gave priority to what he thought was best, rather than give his power to an authority. He had become what his father, at age 17, had come to America to become: a fully free human being. That was why the first words that came out of my mouth, when I learned of his suicide in a telephone call, was: “Dad! I am so proud of you. I stand taller because I stand our your shoulders.”