Are You Friends With Your Friends?

His friend, A.E. Hotchner, wondered why, with a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize, a comfortable home in Idaho for hunting and fishing, available apartments in New York, Paris and Venice, a fishing boat at ready to fish the Gulf Stream, a devoted spouse, friends all over the world and the adoration of critics, Ernest Hemingway would put a shotgun to his head and pull both triggers.

Let’s see. Hemingway’s grandfather and father had both killed themselves. Hemachromatosis, which causes pain and damage in joints and organs, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, diabetes, and depression, ran in the family. He’d suffered half a dozen concussions in accidents. In the months before his death he sank into delusion and paranoia, found he could no longer write, and was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment including electroshock. He was in constant pain and monitored by health care professionals and friends to prevent his hurting himself.

Leaving us to speculate: was Hotchner really his friend, or just an admiring acquaintance?

Leading us to introspection: are we really friends to the people we claim as friends?

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