St. Martin

May 14, 2013 1:28 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Coping With Suicide

With the day winding down along Bayou Amy in Henderson, Lieutenant John Bruce and his nephew make their way toward the water.

"I had hung a cross around here somewhere," Lt. John Bruce said.

This is last place John saw his brother James Bruce alive. James' son, Trent, was nine-years-old on that tragic day 12 years ago. John was at St. Martin Sheriff's Office when he got a phone call from his brother, but when he got to the phone, his brother had hung up.

"So we left. It was me and two other co-workers and we left and went searching for him, and we ended up finding him back here on the left. His car was parked at the edge of the tree line, and he was sitting in a chair next to the water. When we found him, he had a shot-gun to his chest, and was just sitting there crying," John Bruce said.

James was a 32-year-old father and military man, and was dealing with financial and marital problems. John spent an hour listening to his brother, and trying to stop James from pulling the trigger.

"He was crying, he was really hurting, he was hurting physically. There was nothing physically wrong with him, but he had so much pain in him that it did not hurt him. And it was right before, right before he pulled the trigger it was like he went at ease. Everything just kind of relaxed and he pulled the trigger," John Bruce said.

John frantically tried to save his brother's life.

"I went running, I grabbed my first aid kit when I came back I laid him down from the chair, and that's when I opened up his shirt to get to the wound that I...I just froze, I couldn't do anything," John Bruce said.

His co-workers took over, and tried to revive James but couldn't. To this day, John grieves.

"You never stop grieving. When you stop grieving, that's when something is wrong," John Bruce said.

"It hurts, it hurts just as much today as it did years ago," Trent Bruce said.

Trent says anyone contemplating suicide should know it's not the answer.

"You hurt so many more people around you than you realize. Where you think no one cares or anything like that, people do," Trent Bruce said.

"I'm hoping that by telling my story, that people won't think that suicide is taboo. This is a real event that people need to work through, and they need to be there for one another. And they need to realize that there is help available. They just need to reach out for it," John Bruce said.

And know that no matter how dark life may seem, there is a light hope and a future.



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