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Suicide Fiasco and Tragedy -- A Home Heart of Compassion Wall Decoration

Story and Color

Photography by

Joseph Cepek

This is a fictional tale of an autistic character named Ellerastie Igbolta. Mr. Igbolta lived his entire life in Fenton, Missouri. The other featured persons are fictional as well. They all have real names, yet the central character has an unusual name due to him being the one of special interest in this disturbing and tragic-ending-to-this-drama. The dates and the place are real. Born on Wednesday, July 3, 1957, he was the middle child of three (3) children. His siblings include an older sister named Ellen and a younger brother named Grendel. Ellen died in 2019 at the age of sixty-eight (68) due to complications of heart disease. Grendel still lives in the Fenton area. Neither of Igbolta’s siblings married. They had dated in the past. Yet, Ellerastie was the only one who received an autism diagnosis.

Igbolta was a fifty-eight (58)-year-old single white male. There was no dating or marital history during his lifetime. Igbolta was five feet seven inches tall (5’7”) while never weighing more than one-hundred and sixty (160) pounds. Straight black hair and a thin pencil mustache further featured in his adult physical appearance. This also was truthful at the time of his death. A diagnosis of autism came when he was aged thirty-nine (39) years from his personal care physician (PCP). EI (his first and last name initials) was verbal yet he did not speak with a Southern drawl accent. Neither one of his siblings did (do) either.

None of the Igbolta children ever went to college. Neither did the parents. When he was growing up, advanced technology gadgetry was not in existence. These include smartphones, iPads, as well as online social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Igbolta did not have extended reading skills. Therefore, he had difficulty understanding many things which he attempted to read on a daily basis. Throughout his lifetime, he never had any genuine friends or acquaintances. This was unfortunate despite him being a genuinely kind and thoughtful person.

When he was twenty-two (22) years old, he earned his General Education Diploma (GED). In the process of doing so, he had an arduous time grasping the required coursework which was necessary for him to earn his diploma. Written examinations were equally as rigorous for him to adequately comprehend and pass with needed scores. Due to him struggling with the presented information, he had to retake some of the required written tests. This was the case for the Mathematics, Biology, Foreign Language (French), and World History assessments that he needed to pass. Fortunately, he passed each of these examinations with a “C” letter grade. This was his best performance even though he tried so painstakingly hard to study the needed material for each course in which he was enrolled. Being a slacker and lazy about his schoolwork were certainly not personal behavior traits of his.

After getting his diploma in 1979, he vowed that he would never attempt to pursue further formal education endeavors. The trying journey in order to earn his GED was enough for him.

However, after the twenty-first (21st) century began, he ever so gradually became feeling overwhelmed by the path of communication technology advancement. As an unfortunate consequence, he increasingly began reasoning that he could never keep up with all of the burgeoning complexity of technology devices and online communication forums. His limited reading skills contributed to him feeling more and more intimidated by such sophisticated technology offerings.

Finally, he decided that he needed to escape from a world which he could never seem to keep up with properly. After much thought and thorough consideration, he wrote a shockingly tragic suicide note. The grim message was written as is follows,

“To Anyone who Finds This Explanation, I cannot survive in a world where I am apparently unable to keep up with all of the information in a post-modern society. I have tried so hard to successfully read books that I am interested in due to me being unable to grasp the authors’ words no matter how much I work at comprehending the printed material. This also applies to magazines, brochures, online webpages, booklets, and household appliance owner’s manuals. This is altogether frustrating and demoralizing for me. I just cannot go another day in this tortuous life of mine. I am sorry that I will leave behind others around me (Ellen and Grendel), but I need to check out of this awful life that I never ever wanted in the first place. I hope that God truly forgives me for what I am about to do to myself.”

Igbolta knew the black ballpoint ink pen print-worded note would be found on the table by his body in the bedroom where he shot himself in the mouth with a personal handgun on Friday, September 18, 2015. The concerned siblings discovered the grisly death scene four (4) days after he had killed himself. A local coroner determined that EI had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound some one-hundred hours (100) hours before his corpse was discovered. There were no illicit drugs or alcohol specimens found in his digestive system organs.

Ellen’s demise four (4) years later was partially attributed to severe depression and grief over Ellerastie’s shocking suicide. Now sixty-one (61), Grendel still receives outpatient psychiatric and spiritual therapy to help cope with both of his siblings’ and parents’ deaths. Their parents, Lester and Thelma (maiden name Eckler) had passed away in 2006 and in 2010 respectively. There had been no suicides in the family as far back as Ellen and Grendel could recall though depression ran through several family members’ mental health histories to a certain (individualized) extent. Both parents died from natural causes due to advanced age. The father and mother had lived to ages ninety-seven (97) and ninety-nine (99) respectively. One of the mom’s siblings had even made it to age one-hundred and three (103).

In reality, technology need never be the cause of one taking one’s own life no matter how complex such gadgetry gets in the future. I myself struggle with being updated with the numerous technology avenues and also feel intimidated by such things in real life. Yet, I would never kill myself if I never successfully am able to keep up with everything there is to know about communications technology in the future. Nobody should ever feel he or she needs to commit suicide over not being able to master all of the world’s manmade technology no matter how advanced it may become in the coming years. Nothing can be further from the truth. People lived for millennia without such gadgetry. They kept on with life by and large. 2022 living should be approached with the same collective attitude.

Additionally, this is undeniably true no matter the level of one’s formal education or reading skill proficiency. Preserving life as much as is possible should always be the main goal for each and every person. This is no matter what each individual’s abilities are. No one is insignificant or a failure as a human being. All of us have varying levels of skills and opportunities in our individual lifetimes. One who never finished high school and has limited reading skills is NOT inferior to one who has a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and can read through a one-thousand (1,000)-page book in less than a week’s time with excellent comprehension. Not everyone is able to achieve the same formal education and vocational success levels. Financial, social opportunity, and learning capabilities are certainly NOT uniformly equal from one person to another. Worthiness as a person does not depend on these factors at all. One being autistic or non-autistic additionally does not factor in the ultimate worth of each person’s worthiness to live in a happy and contented manner. Understanding our differences should enable us all to feel more interconnected with one another since we all are humans with unique levels of gifts and talents.


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