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Elderly Suicide: More Than a Matter of Life and Death

It is difficult to believe that Dr. Daniel Rosenthal is gone. I knew him both as a neighbor and as a member of the UCLA Emeriti Assn. where he was indeed an activist as well as a sparkling participant at the Emeriti luncheons. I caught a glimpse of him only a day before his death and greatly appreciated David Larsen’s profile, “The Will to Die; Suicide Is Tragic Secret for the Elderly; Especially for Men and Even More So in California” (March 16). Dr. Rosenthal was personally a charmer; he was also that rara avis , a scientist who was essentially a humanist, which often created problems in academia.

The Emeritus College at Santa Monica College was also one of Dr. Rosenthal’s pet projects and he seemed delighted with my own interest and support of its forthcoming activities. But there was a sad loneliness in Dr. Rosenthal that became apparent from time to time. I wonder if an appropriate tribute to him would be to give cognizance to this and pursue the studies of loneliness initiated by such classics in the field as “The Pursuit of Loneliness; American Culture at the Breaking Point” by Philip Slater (1970) and “The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness” by James J. Lynch (1977).

SHERRY TERZIAN

Los Angeles

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