Peter Ginter left us too soon. This website has never posted a story about a funeral before. The reason that you’re seeing this announcement is because of the courage that the family has shown in talking about Peter’s departure. Janet; Peter’s widow, has allowed us to share the following message as it was presented at the funeral on Thursday October 4th.
Message about Depression
Darcy received a message the other day from a friend offering her condolences. Along with that, she included a message that someone in her life had written about their own experience with depression and suicide. After asking her permission, the family thought it was fitting to share those words, just changing it a bit to reflect Peter.
Sometimes we worry that when people find out that Peter died from suicide, they will think he was crazy, unstable, or that there must have been some sort of abuse or dysfunction within our family. That was not the case. There are moments when Peter’s suicide doesn’t make sense. Why would he commit suicide when everything in his life was going so well? We have realized that it is our society’s misunderstanding about depression and suicide that lead us to that conclusion. We use language “committing suicide” or “taking your own life” as if it is an intentional, deliberate, and rational process. Sometimes people who die from suicide are called selfish or weak.
None of these things about suicide are true. If someone loses a 10-year battle with cancer, we talk about how bravely they fought against the disease and how they were an inspiration to everyone around them because of this fight. People with depression are fighting a constant battle as well. Often it is one that they fight alone because it is not visible to the people around them. Sometimes people lose their battle with mental illness through suicide. They are not selfish, and they are not weak. Anyone with a mental illness fights bravely each day and they should be remembered as brave fighters regardless of the circumstances of their death.
Peter did not want his life to end. He enjoyed going to Phoenix and golfing and sharing chocolate bars with his grandchildren. But there came a moment when the pain of depression fell upon him so heavily that he was not strong enough to lift it off him. It doesn’t mean that he didn’t love his family or want to continue his life. He just wanted the pain to stop. For people with a healthy immune system, illnesses like the flu are often easily overcome. For someone with a weakened immune system, routine illnesses can be fatal. Peter had an unhealthy brain. During a time of deep pain and sorrow, that someone with a healthy brain would have been able to overcome, his brain was unable to. But the circumstances of his death do not affect the life he lived. Just as we will not be ashamed of the way he lived; we will not be ashamed of the way he died. Depression is something that afflicts many people, and just because it can end fatally does not detract from the lives that those who struggled with depression lived.
Thank you Janet and thank you to your family for allowing us to share this story.