Would you just have to know?

Fred and Kate have been married for 20 years. Fred is in not-great health, though it’s nothing that appears immediately life-threatening. He’s 48. He takes a lot of medication.

Fred and Kate get into a big fight yesterday morning, then Kate leaves for work. While she’s gone, Fred dies.

The cops come and look at all the medications and say they don’t really suspect suicide. Kate can choose whether to have an autopsy.

Kate says she doesn’t know if she wants to know what he died of for fear it was suicide, because if it was suicide she would “hate him forever.”

A friend of mine told me this story this morning about his friend Kate. I felt that I would simply HAVE to know what my husband died of if it wasn’t abundantly clear. I think not knowing would be worse than any truth.

Would you have the autopsy if it were your choice?

And is anyone else surprised that it is her choice?

Edited to add: Oh, and this story hits home for me for so many reasons. Coming home to find that my husband is dead is one of my most persistent anxieties. Ack.

Is ther any question how he died? If there is, is the state not mandated to perform an autopsy?

Yes, I would want to know.

I thought they would be.

I know when my father died there was no autopsy, but I figured that was because he had already had a stroke once so they would have said it was a second stroke. And he was 65.

But this guy, I don’t know, I assumed there would be an autopsy. When my friend told me the story I was surprised that the wife got to choose.

No autopsy. Won’t change a thing, and might screw up the life insurance. (if any)

Good point.(life insurance) I wouldn’t do it anyway. Knowing wouldn’t change the fact that your loved one was dead. And what JS said about the woman hating her husband forever is kind of disturbing. So in addition to grief you can add a heaping pile of hate to your soul. You think the grief would be enough.

On that note, if there was any question at all couldn’t the Life Insurance people demand an autopsy to look for signs of suicide?

I’d have to know, because if he left anything undone (including my feelings), I’d feel honor-bound to resolve them the best way I could.

Insurance aside, I’d need to know. Therapy would probably be in order, anyway.

Why did the possibility of suicide even come up? Because of the fight? Or because his health wasn’t all that bad?

I’d forgo the autopsy. Dealing with my husband’s death would be bad enough without the added guilt (justified or not), and friends and relatives wondering why I didn’t do something, or notice that he was depressed, etc.

A SIL’s husband killed himself, and she went through all that. “Why didn’t you make him see a counselor? Why didn’t you make him stop drinking? Well, your problems are over now, aren’t they?” Yep, people are that cruel, and stupid.

Is there any difference in the life insurance payout if he deliberately killed himself?

No payout at all in the case of suicide.

Kate killed him.

Wow, I’m surprised it took so long for someone to say something.

I agree.

I would need to know. But I don’t suspect that my wife is capable of suicide; I wouldn’t even think of it as a possibility in this situation, so it wouldn’t occur to me to “fear” it.

The story sounds to me like Kate strongly suspects that Fred did indeed commit suicide. The “hate him forever” comment suggests that she at least acknowledges the possibility and has done some thinking about it. In that case, I can see the desire to maintain plausible deniability and retain her positive image of her husband.

I’m no expert, but I have friends in insurance who say this is a common misconception. After a short period, say a few months, insurance companies do pay life insurance for suicides.

I think just because he wasn’t that old or sick. Not sure what normal procedures are, though.

It sounds like the authorities have enough information to conclude that it wasn’t a suicide. For instance, they could check his pharmacy records and have a good idea how many pills should still be there. They are usually not shy claiming suicide if they have reason to suspect it and they could be offering the option just in case the wife needs the closure of having certifiable proof that it isn’t suicide.

They could also be offering it as standard operating procedure because the time for any tests is NOW, and relatives who come by later with doubts and questions are a pain. Now they can say that they offered at the proper time and anything further that she wants, she can pay for.

This is assuming that they’re offering to do it for free if the wife wants it now.

When I got my Life Insurance, I asked about suicide. My agent said they would pay the full amount after the policy was in effect for two years. (That was 30 years ago, in case anyone’s worried.) But they just don’t want anyone buying a big policy and then committing suicide. They figure two years is long enough to avoid that.

Thats just a schedualing conflict.

If there was the slightest doubt in my mind, I would want to know. Partly because I’m not good with unknowns (separate from the suicide issue, I would want to know how/why he died), but mostly because if hubby had been suicidal, and I had not seen it, I would want to be able to grieve that after his death. I would feel I owed him that. Plus, it would be kind of hard to see our marriage as something meaningful if I were unwilling to look at the truth of his existance/death.