Skip to main content

He was a machine operator - a factory man. He spent his whole life employed in the factories that made business forms, water pumps, thermoplastic sheeting. After almost forty years as a dependable american worker he was tossed aside and discarded from our society. He managed two years unemployed and over a year with only food stamps to help out. It was obvious he had become very ill, lung cancer? We didn't know. But he was sick, out of money and out of time. Had he called we would have taken him in and helped. But he was a proud man. Yesterday he wrote a note to his children, tied a noose, stepped up on a chair,  placed his neck in the noose and kicked the chair out from underneath his feet.  

I just got off the phone with his financial advisor, he had mailed a package to each of his children with a few belongings he wanted them to have and a business card of an advisor to call if anything happened to him. He left an annuity to his boys and a small sum for me, his ex-wife. The medical examiner will release the body to the mortuary his boy's choose and they are welcome to go into his home and take what they wish. His condo is worth $20,000 less than the mortgage so it is going back to the bank.

The note, aside from some private writings, stated all belongings are to go to his two sons - our boys.        

His employment ended at the age of 55 in Reno Nevada. By the age of 57 he had been unemployed for over two years. Benefits ran out over a year ago. Food stamps were all he could qualify for. He kept his condo payments up to date by playing blackjack. He was a consistent winner of small bets that allowed him to keep the phone turned on, the light bill paid and the condo payment made. He was barely hanging on when his luck ran out.

The last time we saw him was June. He had taken the bus here to see our youngest graduate from community college. He was very proud, he was also very sick. His hair had fallen out, his eyes were red, his fingernails were clubbed and he was spitting up blood. He had a steady shake in his hands, he looked like hell. I begged him to go to an emergency room and see a doctor. His answer, oddly, was that he had managed to keep his good credit score throughout his unemployment and he didn't want a big medical bill to screw it up. Besides, he said he may get a diagnosis from an emergency room but he wouldn't be entitled to treatment.


He did get to see his youngest graduate and he was proud.

Although this story is about the death of one individual, it is also the death of the american way of life for the aging factory employee. Unemployment benefits have run out, there are no more factory jobs and no one is hiring 57 year olds to retrain for new types of employment.  

And then there is healthcare. The safety net. The things the conservatives complain about. And there is the reality that those things aren't really helping many who need the help.

For all the faceless statistics we read every day - I wanted to add a face. A man who loved his sons. A man who got up and went to work everyday. A man society kicked to the curb. And, in turn, a man who felt his best option was to kick the chair out from underneath his feet.

Dennis Paul Abrams
10/25/1952 - 8/18/2010
Rest in Peace.


Thank you - everyone - for your kind words.

UPDATE: I have sent a copy of this to Harry Reid's office with Dennis' full name and the location of the medical examiner and information to identify the event (so they can verify, if they wish, the correctness of the obituary). Dennis voted for Harry Reid every time he ran for re-election. Dennis lived in Harry Reid's district for over 20 years. Both our boys were born in Reno. I don't know if this does any good, but I have tried. I am sure Mr. Reid's staff could look up Dennis' unemployment benefits, when they ended and the police report if they felt the need. Not that I believe they will bother at all.

Thank you all.

Originally posted to debbieleft on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 03:48 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Serephin, jbou, James Earl, ether, Bob Johnson, hamletta, jm1963, Pat K California, Louise, VA6thDem, wozzle, bink, Tookish, Lupin, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, paradox, Superskepticalman, Ed in Montana, Davinci, OkieByAccident, Angie in WA State, buffalo soldier, BrooklynBoy, Sylv, rick, vicki, opendna, Terri, tmo, Marek, SteveLCo, JR, northsylvania, raboof, LeislerNYC, PrahaPartizan, hazey, Sean Robertson, Mogolori, jazzmaniac, Odysseus, jotter, hester, murphy, Buckeye BattleCry, Rayne, sheba, teacherken, laurak, leftcoast, El Zmuenga, Trendar, Ivan, Maudlin, folgers, Geenius at Wrok, dfarrah, Dump Terry McAuliffe, Pandora, flatiron, TrueBlueMajority, Powered Grace, BigOkie, mattman, emal, janinsanfran, PeterHug, Bob Love, scrape, greenbird, Lahdee, superfly, TechBob, Emerson, dengre, tommurphy, krwada, Debby, Shockwave, Heimyankel, jazzizbest, EdinPHX, Ed Drone, billlaurelMD, mlharges, tacet, SanJoseLady, liz, Arlyn, OLinda, Charles CurtisStanley, LEP, KateG, Mlle L, akeitz, rightiswrong, Pesto, eeff, Mnemosyne, rubyr, frsbdg, TX Unmuzzled, Pompatus, xynz, StevenJoseph, Sandy on Signal, Richard Cranium, devtob, lawnorder, Hal C, Meandering Fox, Zach in Phoenix, shpilk, Carnacki, musicsleuth, mataliandy, Poika, Jerome a Paris, expatjourno, Creosote, beav, Heart of the Rockies, PBCliberal, DJ Adequate, bara, scribe, karenc13, opinionated, tyler93023, Mr Teem, concernedamerican, redwagon, Blue Patriot Woman, bronte17, missLotus, conchita, EricS, pmcmscot, BlackSheep1, mint julep, twcollier, getmeoutofdixie, DaleA, Agathena, snoopydog, stevej, buckeyekarl, PBnJ, Geonomist, cosmic debris, Stumptown Dave, shanikka, mkfarkus, buckhorn okie, vmibran, marchmoon, Aquarius40, Frederick Clarkson, slatsg, Larry Bailey, puck nc, nargel, larryrant, Boston to Salem, standingup, limae, redux, Fe, Miss Blue, bwren, poe, jalbert, Boxers, TampaCPA, oceanview, Rudyard, fumie, ctsteve, Jesterfox, enough already, splashy, arreay, KathleenM1, hopeful, nuttymango, RayKCMO, cappy, Eddie C, wader, revsue, lulusbackintown, jdmorg, Texknight, PresentMoment, SneakySnu, Braindead, dejavu, Getreal1246, fight2bfree, psnyder, hangingchad, mwk, Dallasdoc, jlynne, pat bunny, Chicago Lulu, fishhawk, draghnfly, MA Liberal, gmb, susie dow, johanus, exiledfromTN, wmtriallawyer, Hawksana, yet another liberal, JimWilson, Kidspeak, churchylafemme, Bulldawg, texasmom, laughingriver, BMarshall, niteskolar, dwahzon, Chirons apprentice, Steven Payne, khowell, houyhnhnm, TX Scotia, Catte Nappe, applegal, bmor, AbsurdEyes, Greg in TN, HollywoodOz, Frankenoid, onemadson, rlharry, arielle, RebeccaG, Timbuk3, lcrp, alizard, fritzrth, Chun Yang, Oaktown Girl, econlibVA, VerbalMedia, zett, zerelda, ybruti, WV Democrat, Curt Matlock, mungley, lonespark, Vicky, Deward Hastings, Marianne Benz, Steven D, jcrit, poemworld, TheOrchid, xyz, lyvwyr101, bablhous, vacantlook, AaronBa, boran2, Josiah Bartlett, Sybil Liberty, xxdr zombiexx, Timroff, califdweller, Sassy, Armand451, Frank Vyan Walton, donailin, greeseyparrot, oortdust, BoogieMama, Gowrie Gal, Jersey Joe, tami33, Big Tex, libnewsie, julifolo, Brecht, Dirk McQuigley, joanneleon, Into The Woods, Massman, maybeeso in michigan, bloomer 101, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, IamtheReason, NoMoreLies, Jagger, Ckntfld, v2aggie2, m16eib, deepfish, yuriwho, JanetT in MD, CTPatriot, SherwoodB, relentless, Tonedevil, mjd in florida, ArchTeryx, Cook, aikea guinea, offred, Jersey Girl, Alice Venturi, Flint, willibro, panicbean, clammyc, eightlivesleft, dewtx, ChemBob, juliesie, snacksandpop, TigerMom, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, EJP in Maine, Laurence Lewis, kldave, reflectionsv37, ratzo, Annalize5, cfk, Morrigan, SaraBeth, Dr Squid, nailmaker, eastvan, McMeier, LABobsterofAnaheim, ladybug53, Kayakbiker, sueNaustin, optimo, Tumble Weed, Ice Blue, Little Lulu, gerardbellavita, markdd, libbie, bmaples, babatunde, Isara, exmearden, woobie, brentut5, nyseer, Tunk, noemie maxwell, Savvy813, WisePiper, GGAllin, Shotput8, paddykraska, CWalter, Doodlespook, sodalis, dazed in pa, LivesInAShoe, Lisa Lockwood, loggersbrat, northanger, Red Bean, Tex Kosmaniac Dem Lady, dsteffen, benny05, quiet in NC, Rogneid, bookwoman, peacestpete, Ekaterin, Arsenic, murasaki, wildwindrose1, JanF, Snud, zozie, terjeanderson, RainyDay, jay23, Sister Havana, ChuckInReno, fhcec, noweasels, xaxnar, greatdarkspot, CJnyc, begone, Mehitabel9, reddbierd, lcork, SoulCatcher, DisNoir36, Mother Mags, martini, third Party please, occams hatchet, LeftOverAmerica, mattinla, Knucklehead, Showman, Nance, trashablanca, snazzzybird, BachFan, MissInformation, stef, LeighAnn, tarheelblue, Stephan Kuttner, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Keone Michaels, highfive, rcbowman, Kingsmeg, Clytemnestra, edwardssl, virgomusic, ferallike, BlueInARedState, tobendaro, trentinca, andydoubtless, hungrycoyote, 8ackgr0und N015e, seefleur, mooshter, Dvalkure, Hear Our Voices, martyc35, Loonesta, deha, Logical One, rhetoricus, bluebrain, Esjaydee, Naniboujou, MTmofo, VictorLaszlo, Albatross, arlene, mcartri, fiddler crabby, fou, luckydog, jwhitmill, SarekOfVulcan, blueoasis, KozmoD, Blue Wind, DarkestHour, birdbrain64, MJ via Chicago, global citizen, StrayCat, erratic, 4Freedom, Francine Shacter, gpoutney, bubbanomics, nonnie9999, gatorcog, arbiter, jerseyjo, Libby Shaw, imabluemerkin, NC Dem, Derfel, Ordvefa, PapaChach, JVolvo, happy camper, plf515, Preston S, MarciaJ720, gabriella, boatsie, tommyfocus2003, sceptical observer, ER Doc, Unitary Moonbat, Dinclusin, mangusta, caraleescockers, oakroyd, Pilgrim X, vivian darkbloom, 5x5, a small quiet voice, AnnieS, Helpless, ilyana, JugOPunch, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Jbearlaw, Madam Deb, cherryXXX69, RantNRaven, Dreaming of Better Days, goinsouth, MadMs, revgerry, Statusquomustgo, kurious, Blicero, bstotts, Johnathan Ivan, thatvisionthing, Friend of the court, Temmoku, ipsos, postmodernista, blueintheface, ms badger, Little, Damn Frank, illusionmajik, Nulwee, AntKat, krwheaton, DBunn, Thinking Fella, ladypockt, tegrat, ammasdarling, pale cold, bigchin, sephius1, One Pissed Off Liberal, Noor B, dov12348, marykk, out of left field, bluicebank, DorothyT, pfiore8, Balam, bvljac, donnamarie, Cronesense, SomeStones, C Barr, wa ma, tardigrade, maddogg, Wanda517, Loudoun County Dem, SpecialKinFlag, dmh44, tgypsy, Cottagerose, FWIW, ninkasi23, Tailspinterry, moodyinsavannah, godislove, Debs2, leema, grelinda, devis1, mamabigdog, DocbytheBay, Dartagnan, ColoTim, offgrid, WeBetterWinThisTime, suburi, gloriana, gtghawaii, Positronicus, vets74, threegoal, yoduuuh do or do not, Outrider, edsbrooklyn, blue71340, FishOutofWater, la urracca, jeanette0605, daveygodigaditch, flumptytail, hold tight, Jimdotz, greenchiledem, DWG, joyful, aliasalias, newpioneer, gatorbot, kingyouth, NoMoJoe, artisan, HCKAD, getlost, jayden, rivamer, snowshoeblue, chicago jeff, BlueInKansas, PinkRoseBouquet, jolicalcat, Uberbah, Kiamichi, mlv1055, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, Bridge Master, jhop7, yella dawg, cececville, Rumarhazzit, uciguy30, Chico David RN, Got a Grip, fallina7, Brahman Colorado, KJC MD, skod, JML9999, Zydekos, eyesoars, cloudbustingkid, sable, Hens Teeth, vet, oxon, roguetrader2000, on the cusp, roycej, Empower Ink, rmonroe, VA Breeze, Send Rahm a Cheesecake, acliff, sand805, JDWolverton, Light Emitting Pickle, Blue Boy Red State, msblucow, MissyH, GANJA, Sharon from OH, alkalinesky, kkmama, rogerdaddy, Spruce, onovanday, revm3up, jack 1966, lisastar, davewill, Scioto, Justus, JaxDem, ChocolateChris, Port City Moon, railsplitter, weegeeone, rontun, ScottyUrb, poligirl, OleHippieChick, Senor Unoball, Foundmyvoice, Tchrldy, Fossil, Mr Stagger Lee, dadadata, NewDealer, bythesea, VA gentlewoman, filby, CDH in Brooklyn, treesrock, lineatus, wagdog, KJG52, Its any one guess, mikeconwell, beltane, robroser, Deep Harm, Yohannon, willipr, Calamity Jean, royce, pamelabrown, Cassandra Waites, smartdemmg, geomoo, left my heart, pickandshovel, bluesheep, dagolfnut, DanK Is Back, Tam in CA, envwq, mofembot, Seamus D, glendaw271, Bluewoman, bakenjuddy, meldroc, Governor McCheese, phrogge prince, brokensnowshoe, bob zimway, luckylizard, mattc129, Blogvirgin, Abe Frohman, DixieDishrag, poohsmom, Edubabbler, allie123, marketgeek, rodentrancher, Mayfly, revelwoodie, watercarrier4diogenes, GrannyOPhilly, shortgirl, Wordsinthewind, ZhenRen, Johnny Venom, legendmn, LaFeminista, bluebelle7, maggiejean, 1BQ, Bule Betawi, multilee, artmartin, soarbird, smellybeast, MufsMom, J M F, Leftcenterlibertarian, DontTaseMeBro, MTmarilyn, Dirtandiron, ARS, emboyo, litoralis, snackdoodle, ALifeLessFrightening, greengemini, nchristine, The Dead Man, RenMin, radmul, Dopeman, welso, CanyonWren, be the change you seek, Stranded Wind, Nebraskablue, DancinMan, janmtairy, pvlb, Partisan Progressive, ScientistSteve, h bridges, velvet blasphemy, FrugalGranny, SciVo, BlueInRedCincy, VoteAqui, CamillesDad1, Jenai, JesseCW, EquationDoc, regster, mississippi boatrat, Bonsai66, virginwoolf, zaka1, geebeebee, UnaSpenser, moonheart, elziax, marzook, TheOpinionGuy, asym, borndem, oxfdblue, ZilV, jazzence, allep10, billssha, kevinpdx, IngeniousGirl, Keith Pickering, winkk, Joeytj, IreGyre, blueocean, stevenwag, sfarkash, notksanymore, louisprandtl, MrDeadeye2U, maxzj05, Muzikal203, sherijr, jfromga, nancat357, Bene Gesserit1, astral66, spicecakes69, Shocko from Seattle, joe from Lowell, Tommymac, jpmassar, Leftcandid, porchdog1961, Super Grover, susan in sc, Larsstephens, cassandraX, Amber6541, cezariusz, commonmass, parse this, smileycreek, coppercelt, mamamorgaine, henlesloop, awcomeon, pyegar, drache, fedupcitizen, flitedocnm, miss SPED, stegro, roadbear, Vacationland, publicv, drainflake77, Susan Grigsby, politik, jethrock, catwho, Proud Mom and Grandma, Hoosier Al, Crabby Abbey, angelajean, Dan E in Blue Hampshire, your neighbor, freeport beach PA, trixied13, ATFILLINOIS, Balanz, RJP9999, Eddie L, Arenosa, LouP, noclue, gulfgal98, NY brit expat, pixxer, elginblt, ypsiCPA, ItsSimpleSimon, SoCalHobbit, dlemex, Kristina40, DailyDrew, JasperJohns, Yasuragi, sharonsz, Jaimas, Earth Ling, robin0727, jim283, Funkygal, Pay It Forward, shel3364, Betty Pinson, Unenergy, SunsetMagnolia, WedtoReason, Loose Fur, cocinero, tenar, CA Berkeley WV, Oh Mary Oh, thevoice, ZedMont, cherylm, Irony Raygun, not4morewars, Actbriniel, Jonze, verdeo, indubitably, Eric0125, theKgirls, annieli, atoilune, Front Toward Enemy, Bluefin, FeloniousMonk, I love OCD, escapegoat, ToeJamFootball, Valerie8435, rationalcauses, msazdem, ban nock, sfcouple, BardoOne, FreeStateDem, nicethugbert, croyal, jardin32, wildlife advocate, vahana, hooktool, myadestes, gbinwc, La Gitane, BlueJessamine, Susipsych, the national gadfly, BlackQueen40, Bluerall, soothsayer99, FarWestGirl, mikejay611, Sand Hill Crane, misskitty64, deeproots, Teiresias70, KelleyRN2, princesspat, nospamthanx, gongee, Late Spring, marleycat, Lusty, Lorikeet, AgavePup, majii, Cinnamon Rollover, wilder5121, thomask, RadicalRoadRat, DruidQueen, gman123, BarackStarObama, muddy boots, AnotherSteve, smoothnmellow, floridablue, moldyfolky, tacklelady, Grandma Susie, MRA NY, createpeace, worldlotus, jgnyc, vzfk3s, Vtdblue, Sark Svemes, whoknu, COkdub, EdgedInBlue, nokomis, corvaire, peregrine kate, dr fatman, Safina, chira2, Tyto Alba, whaddaya, mali muso, Imhotepsings, Wood Dragon, VTCC73, hpchicago, toby esterhase, curtisgrahamduff