My Dad Killed Himself Using a Weather Balloon

Rachel Paula Abrahamson reflects on her father's life
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2018 11:44 AM CDT
My Dad Killed Himself Using a Weather Balloon
"He tried to protect us all. That is how he said goodbye."   (Getty Images/KatarinaGondova)

Rachel Paula Abrahamson writes that she was interviewed as a person of interest in her father's January death. She didn't do it and, it ends up, no one else did either. Alan Abrahamson's death made national headlines after it was determined that he wasn't murdered during an early-morning walk in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, but instead committed suicide using a gun tied to a weather balloon, which carried away the key evidence. In a piece for the New York Times, Rachel unpacks not so much the death, but her 71-year-old father's "complicated life." The two were never close but became estranged after her parents' 2003 divorce, and she had last seen him roughly two years before he died, when he joined her, along with her husband and 9-month-old daughter, for a brief dinner in New York City.

She asked if he was happy, and he replied in the affirmative. "We drink every night. It’s one big party!" Except she later learned from the police investigation that three days later he searched for "undetectable suicide methods." She reflects upon behavior that, as a child, she read as him being aloof and disinterested. Now, she thinks it was probably depression. "My father was tormented by something. By what, we don't know," she writes. But he did reveal something core about himself in his death. "He tried to protect us all. That is how he said goodbye." Read Rachel Abrahamson's full piece for more on the questions that nag her and the complication emotions she has about her father's relationship with his stepkids. Read more on Alan Abrahamson's death here. (More suicide stories.)

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