“Bruce was a magician, a giant, a superstar, bigger than life." A colleague at LR Development shared these words at the December 1999 memorial service for Bruce C. Abrams. Bruce, he said, had the “reputation as the exciting young visionary powerhouse who turned everything he touched to gold.”
For these reasons, it came as a shock when Bruce C. Abrams, the 38-year-old President and Founder of LR Development and Chairman and CEO of Prism Financial, was pronounced dead in Chicago after a fall from his 18th story apartment on Sunday, December 12, 1999. A fall which was later determined to have been a suicide.
He had been struggling from depression and possibly bipolar disorder, yet had not felt comfortable seeking help. He was worried his colleagues and business partners would look at him differently if they knew he was experiencing an internal struggle. He worried about possible financial loss for himself, his family, friends, and others due to a stock decrease in Prism Financial, which he had taken public. He was blinded by his illness and unable to see how successful he had become in both his professional life and personal relationships. He couldn’t see how many lives he had touched simply by being the Bruce Abrams that everyone loved.
As his 9-year-old daughter, in the aftermath of his suicide, I always wondered, did he love my brother and I? I couldn’t understand how someone who seemed so strong, happy, and successful, my superhero, could choose to leave the world behind. And not just the world, but the world with myself, my brother, and my mother in it. With the passing of 17 years, I now understand and believe more than ever, that we must do everything we can to prevent a similar occurrence from happening in the future. Suicide is preventable. And while I can sit and wonder what the world would be like if my father had received the help and support he needed in his last few months or even days, it would be unproductive. Ultimately, I can’t change my father’s story, but I can use it to change the future for others. That is my mission; that is my father’s legacy.
In 2006, the Bruce C. Abrams Foundation was created in his honor and for this very reason, to better the world that he left behind. It is the goal of the Bruce C. Abrams Foundation to help others suffering from similar mental health issues; to prevent this same tragic event from happening again. No one should suffer in silence. If we can reduce the stigma, prevent suicide, and ultimately, allow for there to be one less 9-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy with a father taken from them, much too early, we will have made a difference.