Money, Power, and Fame; Can it Really Bring True Happiness?

by on January 2nd, 2015
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This story is based on real eyewitness accounts and official documents. Names and exact locations have been changed or excluded due to an oath of confidentiality, and out of respect for the family.

It was October, 1996 in a small, very affluent Pennsylvania community, one of the wealthiest communities, per capita, in the nation. The rural town, made up of CEO’s, doctors, attorneys, professional sports figures, and centuries old blue bloods, was a very exclusive and reclusive community. The multi-million dollar homes with the long private driveways sat on a minimum of five acres of land by local ordinance. In addition to the main house, most of the properties contained several smaller homes which housed maids, grounds keepers, and security guards. This was truly the wealthiest of the wealthy, some of the most powerful and highly respected individuals in the country.

Richard Bradford, a high powered corporate attorney owned such a home, which somewhat resembled the White House, full with grand white columns, 14 bedrooms, and a ten foot iron fence surrounding the entire property, including security gates at the entrance of the 1000 foot long driveway. Bradford was a true blue blood descendant of one of our nation’s forefathers, whose roots extend back centuries, to British royalty.

Bradford became highly successful in his own right, and he was well known and respected in an exclusive circle of politically powerful individuals. Through all of his financial diversity, Bradford was most proud of his stake in the local Major League baseball team. At a time when the old and proud Major League team was on the selling block, and threatening to be bought out and moved by an out of town group of investors, Bradford formed his own local group of wealthy investors who were inevitably able to save the team, and keep it in Pittsburgh. With this, Bradford and his group of investors became local heroes, publicly recognized for saving the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bradford, only 45 years old, was happily married and a proud father of three children. Shortly after his fame of saving the Pirates, Bradford became depressed, and began to alienate himself from his colleagues, friends, and family. He would spend hours, even days in his private home office, sometimes without eating. Bradford’s wife, Emily, tried everything she could do to brighten his life by planning small family get-togethers at their home, as Richard seemed to be slipping more and more into a deep reclusiveness. Richard Bradford had it all, money, fame, power, and political influence, but it just wasn’t enough for some still, unknown reason.

On this beautiful fall day, Richard laid out his entire financial portfolio on the floor of his home office. Bank statements, stocks, and investments, all in black and white, totaling millions of dollars, including his individual investment of fifteen million dollars into the Pittsburgh Pirates. For whatever reason, Richard had succumbed to his deep depression that day. He sat on the floor of his private bathroom next to the bathtub. He sat with his back up against the side of the tub, leaning his head back over the tub, holding a .38 caliber revolver in his right hand. Richard put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

The household maid heard the gunshot and ran upstairs to the private office. She pounded on the door calling out to Richard, but she got no response. The maid entered the office, and as she looked around she saw Richard’s legs on the bathroom floor through the open door. As the maid entered the bathroom she found Richard sitting against the tub, with his head leaned back, dripping blood into the tub. Richard still had the revolver in his right hand, now on the floor.

When the local police arrived, Emily, along with one of her sons, and the maid and grounds keeper were downstairs in the grand foyer. Emily was clearly distraught and crying hysterically. She just couldn’t understand why her husband became so depressed, even despite her best efforts to help him see what happiness he had all around him. It is still officially unknown, what caused Richard Bradford to sink into such a deep depression, where he could no longer live the rich and famous life he had.

The life that most people dream of, money, power, fame, respect, just wasn’t enough. Or was it too much? The average person has continuous stresses and financial pressures of their own, but the extremely wealthy have the same, even larger pressures. It seems, at least in this case, the money, power, and fame, became too overwhelming and too stressful, to the point where even family took a backseat. This became a very sad and perfect example of where all the money anyone could ever want, just wasn’t enough to buy true happiness.

Despite the fame, power, and prestige he possessed, Richard Bradford became a lonely, sick man, who ultimately took his own life, leaving behind a beautiful close knit family. As the power and fame clouded his vision, he failed to see the true happiness he had all around him.

Author’s notes:

I am a police officer of 23 years, and back in October of 1996 I was one of the first officers on scene. I saw Richard Bradford sitting against his bathtub with a hole in the back of his head, blood and brain matter dripping into the tub. I saw all of the documents he had spread out in his office, financial documents containing what I would describe to be as staggering numbers. Hundreds of millions of dollars in his financial portfolio, a home which would rival the White House, a beautiful wife and children, but for some reason, Richard Bradford became so depressed he took his own life. It’s something that I will never forget. Now, every time I face any kind of financial pressures, and I wish I had millions, I think back to Richard Bradford, and I realize, money truly can’t buy happiness. It makes me appreciate the mediocre life that I have.


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