Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Plath's Son, Nicholas, Commits Suicide

I remember Kurt Vonnegut saying something once about being the son of a suicide. He considered suicide himself (as most of us do) and even attempted it once, but in the end, he figured it was a poor example to set for his children. Kurt said that as the child of a suicided parent, in the back of your mind, whenever you have a problem, you consider suicide as one possible option.

Lost your job? Commit suicide. Wrecked the car? Commit suicide.

I'm not sure why, but I have always remembered that. The article below from the NY Post certainly makes one wonder. God bless you, Nicholas. Good journey.

Plath's Son in Suicide

Nicholas Hughes committed suicide at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska, last week 46 years after his mom, poet Sylvia Plath, killed herself. He was 47.

From the time Plath died in February 1963, her husband, poet Ted Hughes, tried to protect their children, Frieda and Nicholas, from their mother's fate and fame.

He burned the final volume of her journals, angering scholars and fans, and waited years to fill his kids in on the details of her suicide.

And only near the end of his own life, in his "Birthday Letters" poems, did he share his side of modern poetry's ill-starred couple.

"In 1963, you were hit even harder than me," Ted wrote Nicholas in 1998, mere months before dying of cancer. "But you will have to deal with it, just as I have had to."

Plath became a cult figure through the novel "The Bell Jar," about a suicidal young woman.

Nicholas Hughes, who never married and had no children, hanged himself on March 16, State Troopers said. A fisheries biologist, he spent more than a decade on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks faculty but left about a year ago.

Frieda Hughes told The Times of London that her brother, who was younger than she, "had been battling depression for some time."

Nicholas Hughes earned his master's from the University of Oxford and his doctorate from the University of Alaska. At the time of his death, he was involved in a study of king salmon.

"I would really like to see him recognized in his own right, not just as the son of two famous people," said friend Mark Wipfli, an aquatic ecologist at the University of Alaska.

"He was an incredibly wonderful person."

No comments: