Ariel Castro – Mixed Emotions Regarding his Suicide


I was in class tonight about 9:00 (Philosophy – World Religions) when my phone vibrated with a top headline from my USA Today app – “Ariel Castro Found Hanged in Prison Cell.”  For those of you (like me, normally) who don’t pay much attention to news because I find it too depressing, Ariel Castro was convicted of kidnapping, and raping, over a decade ago , 3 women in Cleveland, Ohio.  He fathered a child with one of them.  They finally escaped when they were able to break part of a door and yelled for help.  On August 1, 2013, Ariel was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years, prompting one of his victims, Michelle Knight (a young mother, who was lured into his house with the promise of a puppy for her young son and then held captive for 10 years, where she was impregnated five times and beaten so severely that she  miscarried five times) to say “His hell is just beginning.”  Well, apparently Ariel decided, for whatever reason, that he did not want to live any longer, so he hung himself in his cell and was found at 9:20 p.m. and pronounced dead at 10:52, thus ending his life at the age of 52.

Driving home from class, I had mixed emotions; part of me thought “yes, this is a good thing,” but immediately chided myself for that because, as a Christian, I believe that God loves every one and that it hurts Him to be separated from any of us.  By his actions over the last decade, it’s pretty safe to assume he was “lost” to God.  Whether or not he changed that situation after his sentencing is unknown at this time.

I followed this story pretty closely from the time it first broke when Amanda Berry managed to escape because in a way, I could relate to what those three women endured.  Though I was never kidnapped, I grew up with an extremely abusive father (I found out many, many years later that he was not my biological father) and lived with that for over 20 years, before I was finally freed from that when he was put away.  Therefore, I felt I could relate in someway to what these women went through as far as the abuse went.

On another level, with regard to his suicide, I could also relate to that as I lost my brother to suicide on August 1, 2012 and just under six months later, my niece tried to take her own life, initially failed, and then succumbed to complications and passed away just four days after that.  In the aftermath of my brother’s suicide, I had mixed reactions from friends and family.  Suicide is generally a “taboo” subject and those who take their own lives are often thought of as “crazy” or “cowards.”  My brother was neither of those things.  He was depressed, yes.  But that is not the same as being “crazy” according to DSM-IV standards.  Most people who take their lives do so because their pain is so bad at that time that they cannot see another way out of it.  After my brother’s suicide, I found a quote that helped me “Suicide is not chosen.  It occurs when one’s pain is greater than one’s resources to cope with that pain at that moment.”  No one thinks of what will happen to their family and friends after that one last act, because they are not thinking clearly…if they were, they would still be here, working out their issues.

So I guess as I write this, I have finally decided not to concentrate so much on the suicide of Ariel Castro and whether he was a coward by taking his own life than serving out his sentence, but to concentrate instead on his family; his daughter Angie and son Anthony who not only have to deal with the fact that their father plead guilty to 927 criminal charges and will be forever known as a “monster,” but now they have lost their father.  I don’t know what kind of relationship he had with his children, but both of his kids, went to the house to get some personal items before the house was torn down as part of his plea agreement.  Nothing further can be done for Ariel, but I do hope and pray that at some point, his children will be able to make peace with this whole situation and move on with the rest of their lives.  Hopefully, people will not hold this against them, as there is nothing to show that they had any idea of what was going on.

All in all this was a tragic end to a tragic situation and even though his victims may feel “robbed of justice” by this suicide, maybe in a way it will help them move past this and start a new chapter in their lives?

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11 thoughts on “Ariel Castro – Mixed Emotions Regarding his Suicide

  1. Terri says:

    Wow. So my Big Sister is a great , in depth writer. I support and encourage your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Please continue to be an advocate. You speak Volumes .

  2. maureen says:

    A different way to think about this. I loved reading this. Personally, I’m glad we’re not paying to take care of him for the rest of his life. How ironic that he could not handle being “held captive” like he made those women endure.

    • I loved the irony in that too. I also liked one of the quotes Ariel made “I’m not a monster, I just didn’t let them leave.” I seriously had a good laugh over that one. Check in whenever you want to see more posts. Share them if you like…I would appreciate that.

  3. Thank you for addressing the complex struggle between the initial gut response some of us may have…and the reality of the world as God sees it. May he fill us with his wisdom that we may be more like him!!!

  4. Debbie Davidson says:

    I agree that it is the family members who struggle with the unanswered questions when someone feels they can no longer cope and commits suicide. With regards to Ariel’s suicide, I believe he made that decision rather than face the abuse and torture he would have endured in prison. He truly was a monster. I hope and pray that his children receive the counseling they need to recover as whole, healthy members of society.

  5. lisaodaffer says:

    Relationships with a parent are so complex, even when that parent is abusive. You make a good point that while Castro’s victims have returned to loving support of families and friends, his children have had every tattered scrap of happy childhood memory destroyed. The burden of coming face to face with their father’s crimes and the loss of their childhood home (both spiritually and physically) must be nearly overwhelming. They are victims, too.

  6. Suzanne says:

    This was a well thought out, articulate response to a tragic situation. It is encouraging to hear the Christian maturity that comes through and the sensitivity to the family. I applaud the significant progress in your own recovery that has resulted in the depth of insight related in this article.

  7. Tambra says:

    Well done, Char! Thank you Char for bringing the surviving family members into the picture. They are often forgotten and cast aside simply because they are related to a “monster”; someone with mental health issues. A very painful place to be. May God continue to bless you on your new path in helping others with this very “taboo” subject.

  8. ann demuth says:

    hi charlene, i am glad to have read this and glad i had received an email from joyce at gift from within telling me a little bit about you and welcoming you. i am also a member of gift from within and have found it to be a great resource for my own struggles with ptsd and an abusive family background. i also belong to the writer’s group but have not been very active in it for awhile.

    my own history includes a long period of depression in the past when i thot, tho never attempted, a lot about suicide. i also have a current friend who continues to struggle with depression and suicidal thots. i feel for you and your tragic experiences. and i am glad you are reaching out to others about this very important issue.. i know it will help and may very possibly save lives.

    best wishes to you.
    ann demuth

    • It’s all about prevention, education, and getting the word out to erase the stigma that is associated with mental health illnesses and suicide. The two have a direct correlation and if mental health were not as stigmatized as it is, more people would get help and hopefully, less will choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  9. […] Ariel Castro – Mixed Emotions Regarding his Suicide. […]

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