THE word suicide or death is not just scary, but too morbid to even imagine or think about.
Having been a widower for the past 19 years and depending on his 34-year-old son and daughter-in-law for support led a Chimanimani man to do the unthinkable.
While most people were celebrating the dawn of a new year, Elijah Ruchiyo (73) of Ward Seven, Village 3A, Chief Mutambara’s area had something up his sleeves.
The fact that Elijah would have to depend on someone for the tiniest of things made him more depressed and despondent. He resorted to taking his life by slicing off his privates after surviving a plunge into a four-metre deep well.
However, Elijah survived the suicide bid and now recuperating at home after being discharged from Mutambara Mission Hospital last week where he was rushed after the bizarre incident.
When The Weekender visited the Ruchiyos at their homestead on Tuesday, the elderly man could not entertain the Press as he was writhing in pain.
His son, Hazvinei who was with his father at the hospital, said he suspected that his father used an Okapi knife he used to keep in his pocket to slice off his privates as the clothes he was putting on that fateful day were bloodstained.
“His clothes were bloodstained and we suspect that he used the Okapi knife he used to carry in his pocket to try to kill himself by slicing off his privates. When I quizzed my father on what had happened, he said he threw himself in the well in a bid to end his life. He said he decided to cut off his privates when he realised that he had failed to die after the plunge into the well,” said Hazvinei who also part of the team that rescued Elijah from the well.
On asked on the whereabouts of his father’s privates which villagers said they had failed to retrieve from the well, Hazvinei said: “We were not able to retrieve anything from the well since we spent some days at the hospital. My father was discharged from hospital on Friday. We had no time to look for them and we just filled up the well with rubbles.”
Hazvinei said his father had been battling with ill-health for a long time and also suspected that this could have been the reason behind the suicide bid.
“My father is now of advanced age and I suspect that he is now suffering from dementia. He has also been on high blood pressure medication for some time and this could have triggered his actions,” he said.
Village 3A headman, Noel Jakata who was also among the people to arrive at the Ruchiyo homestead after the incident, said: “When news filtered that Elijah had attempted suicide, but survived, I visited the Ruchiyo homestead to find out what was happening. I was told that Hazvinei with the assistance of neighbours had managed to rescue Elijah from the well. They said they had discovered that Elijah had also sliced off his privates.
‘‘His son told me that his father used to keep an Okapi knife in his pocket, but they had failed to locate it. They also told me that they had also failed to retrieve the privates from the well.”
It also emerged that three days prior to the incident, Elijah repeatedly told his daughter-in-law that he was fade up with life and wanted to die.
The daughter-in-law who only identified herself as Mai Ruchiyo, said: “My father-in-law repeatedly told me that it was better for him to die because he felt as if he was burdening his children by taking care of him.
“At first I did not take his utterances seriously until on January 1 when he asked for a paper and a pen saying he wanted to write his ‘will’ before dying. I could not provide the paper and pen because some visitors arrived.”
She added: “Prior to him asking for a paper and pen, baba told me that his cellphone should be given to a close relative and all his clothes to my husband. My husband was away attending a funeral that time and when he came back, I narrated everything to him and we decided to closely monitor baba’s movements.”
She said around 3am of the fateful day, her husband heard movements on the yard and woke up to investigate.
“My husband went out to investigate and saw baba standing close to his door. He thought he had woken up to relieve himself and left him there. He came back into our room and we retired to bed. I later woke up to prepare his breakfast. I proceeded to his room and called out his name, but no one answered. I checked in the room and discovered that there was no one inside. I became suspicious and informed my husband.
‘‘We looked for him everywhere in the yard, but could not locate him. Our search took us to the well and that is where we found him there. Neighbours were summoned and they assisted my husband to retrieve baba from the well before being rushed to Mutambara Mission Hospital,” she said.
Another neighbour, Fungai Gonouya, said: “Elijah said he had opted to die because he felt that since he was a widower, he was becoming a burden to his son and daughter-in-law. He also said in the event of his death, they should look for his privates in the well and bury them together with his remains.”
Elijah lost his wife in 2002 in a suspected ritual murder after her remains were recovered in Chizazurwi Mountain.