Woman left searching for answers, hope after husband’s suicide on Webb Hill

With Webb Hill in the background, Brenda Legg, of Santa Clara, reflects on losing her husband to suicide, St. George, Utah, July 14, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Desperate for answers on where her husband was, Brenda Legg made the grueling climb up the side of Webb Hill at about 3 a.m. on Memorial Day.

A file photo shows the top of Webb Hill the morning that Brenda Legg, of Santa Clara, hiked up the mountain looking for her husband, Mike Legg, in St. George, Utah, May 28, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

As she hiked along the rough gravel road, there was little light besides the bright glow of the city below. She was sleepless, anxious and alone, but she continued to trudge toward the blinking red lights of the radio towers at the top of the Webb Hill.

After walking for nearly a half mile, she reached a trail sign and gate that prohibited vehicles from continuing to the top of the hill. There was no other road, and the only way to drive around the gate was to go over large rocks and boulders.

“I had already searched four different places and spent hours,” she told St. George News. “It was dark, pitch dark still. The thought just came to me that if his car wasn’t here, and you couldn’t drive past here, then he must not be here.”

She sat on a boulder facing the twinkling lights of St. George and started crying. There was no one around, so she didn’t hold herself back in raising her voice.

“Mike!” she shouted, as loud as she could. “Mike, where are you?”

At that moment, she said she clearly heard a voice in her head. “I am right here really close to you,” the voice said.

When she heard the voice, Brenda’s heart sank and she started crying even more as she quickly walked back down the mountain to her car. There was no longer any doubt in her mind – Mike Legg was dead.

Several hours later, Brenda received a knock on her door at her home in Santa Clara. Officers from the St. George Police Department told her that her husband’s body had been found on the side of Webb Hill next to his car. He had driven his car off the peak of Webb Hill and died by suicide.

Read more: Man killed after driving car off cliff on Webb Hill

Love at first song

Brenda first met Mike Legg on an obscure dating website in October 2015, and 10 minutes after their first phone call, they met for their first date at Iceberg Drive Inn. After a two-hour conversation over an ice cream cone and a hamburger, they climbed to the top of the water tower on Red Hills Parkway and looked over the city together until midnight.

Brenda and Mike Legg are married at the top of the water tower on Red Hills Parkway in St. George, Utah, Feb. 29, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Brenda Legg, St. George News

Mike joined Brenda at choir practice at her church the next day with a bouquet of flowers for her.

“I was immediately overwhelmed with this love exploding from my heart because of his voice,” Brenda said. “He didn’t have a professional voice; it was just sweet. … My heart was pounding and I could hardly focus on my own part because I was so touched.”

The rest of their time dating was bliss, Brenda said, and they choose to be married on top of the water tower where they had their first date.

“Every week in church, up to the week before he died, sitting next to him, we would bring each other to tears through singing the hymns together,” Brenda said. “We believed we connected through our songs.”

It was the second marriage for both. Mike was divorced, and Brenda’s previous husband of nearly 30 years had died from a failed surgery in 2010. Although it was difficult losing her first husband, Brenda said it was a relief in many ways because he was physically and emotionally abusive to her.

“(Mike) is the first person I have ever loved, ever. When I fell in love with Mike, I had never felt those feelings before. I felt peace and I felt cherished and I felt loved.”

Red flags

Mike’s first suicide attempt was in 2010, two years before he divorced his first wife. It was a fit of rage, Brenda said, adding that the anger was still present when she met Mike.

“There were a couple of red flags before I married him that my mom noticed and my friends noticed,” she said. “They thought he was acting irrationally, but I just kind of shrugged it off as him being possessive because he wanted to be with me.”

Brenda and Mike had their first fight six months into their marriage. It escalated to yelling and ended with Brenda curled up in a ball on the floor crying. There were several other blowups, and they later discovered they both had borderline personality disorder, which can cause a person to have unstable moods and emotional instability.

Brenda Legg, who still wears her wedding ring, talks about her husband Mike’s suicide, St. George, Utah, July 14, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Mike’s second suicide attempt was in November 2016. After an argument, Mike left Brenda and she didn’t hear from him for two days.

He had driven to an isolated road in St. George, where he tried to kill himself through carbon monoxide poisoning from his car. But the carbon monoxide made him so sick, he drove himself to the hospital, where he stayed for a week.

After Mike’s second suicide attempt, Brenda and Mike renewed their efforts to love each other and started therapy together. Between the occasional arguments and fights, they were able to find some peace again in their marriage for most of 2017.

“We learned that it didn’t matter how mad either one of us were, the best thing we could do was stop and go to the other person and just give them hugs and hold each other,” Brenda said. “That just helped remind us how much we loved each other and that whatever disagreement we were having didn’t actually matter that much.”

Webb Hill

On the afternoon of May 25, angry over what Brenda said was “a whole bunch of little things,” Mike stormed into the house brandishing what looked like a pistol. Brenda later learned that it was only a pellet gun, but at time time it was real and frightening.

“He was yelling ‘I’m going to go shoot myself.’ I was looking at him, trying not to engage, but I didn’t know what to do. I was literally just standing there.”

Mike then called his mom and told her he was going to shoot himself. He got in his car and drove away before Brenda could stop him. After he was gone, she simply sent him a text that said “I love you. I always will.”

Despite multiple followup calls and texts asking him to call her back, she didn’t hear from Mike until 3:45 p.m., at which point he sent a group message to Brenda, his mother and his sister.

I know you’ve all been trying to call me. I’m standing on a pinnacle looking over this beautiful creation God created. I’m a child of my Father in Heaven. He created me too. I’m tired of not being able to control myself.

In this file photo, a St. George Police officer examines the scene where Mike Legg died by suicide after driving his car off a cliff on Webb Hill in St. George, Utah, May 28, 2018 | File photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

After asking for forgiveness from his parents and sister, Mike’s text went on to read: “Brenda, I love you with all my heart. You gave me hope and love that I could never find. God, please have mercy on my soul. I tried my very best.”

Although Mike’s death certificate lists the death day as being on May 28 because that’s when his body was found, Brenda said she believes Mike accelerated his car and sent it over the edge of the cliff immediately after sending that text.

“The minute he sent that text, I know he was gone,” Brenda said. “If he had waited at all and seen any of my replies to his text, he wouldn’t have done it. I know it.”

Beginning of the storm

When Brenda was still married to her abusive first husband 13 years ago, there was one time when she attempted suicide as well. In her own moment of anger, so she took a handful of pills and sat in a hot bathtub, ready to accept death.

With Webb Hill in the background, Brenda Legg reflects on losing her husband to suicide, St. George, Utah, July 14, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

“When I got in the tub, I saw what the funeral would be like and the people who loved me would feel after I died. I saw myself missing my children’s weddings and graduations and not being there for grandchildren when they came along. I saw all that and said, ‘No, I can’t miss this. I can’t do this to my family.'”

Brenda made herself throw up the pills and promised herself to never contemplate suicide again. It just wasn’t worth it to lose the people she loved around her.

“That pain (of attempting suicide) is exactly what it felt like when Mike died.”

The hardest part of losing Mike was knowing he had so much pain, Brenda said, that he wanted to end it all through death. The pain of losing him would have been easier if he had died in an accident or with a sickness than knowing that death is something he chose.

The stereotype of someone being depressed before attempting suicide did not exist in Mike.

“I only saw the blowing-up angry Mike in those few times that he was angry,” Brenda said. “But most of the time, we were happy.”

Even though it’s been nearly two months since Mike’s death, getting a full night’s rest is still rare for Brenda. She’s reminded of the pain each time she sees Webb Hill from across St. George. The pain and anguish within her is almost unbearable some days.

“This is a huge blow that I have to force myself to ignore in order to function daily,” she said. “I think about missing him constantly and wanting him back.”

Light at the end of the tunnel 

Teresa Willie, a licensed prevention specialist for the Southwest Behavioral Health Center, said suicide is a plague, especially in Utah. Willie is also the coordinator for the Reach 4 Hope Utah suicide prevention coalition.

People who die by suicide usually don’t want to die, Willie said. Instead, they want their pain to end.

People who attempt suicide perceive that death is more desirable than staying in whatever situation they’re in,” she said.

Willie also dispelled the myth that asking someone about suicide puts the idea of suicide in his or her mind. Research shows that asking someone if they are considering suicide can be a good way to identify a problem and seek help sooner.

“Really what they want is some support and to be listened to and acknowledged,” she said.

For family members and loved ones of people who die by suicide, the pain caused by guilt and questions can be immense, Willie said. The best thing these people can do to recover is to work with a counselor to move through the grief cycle.

“They need to understand that that loss is not their responsibility.”

Brenda said that speaking with a therapist since Mike’s death has been helpful. She acknowledged that there are times when she feels like she was responsible for Mike’s suicide but said those feelings are not correct, healthy or helpful in any way.

She said she has learned the best way to push through is to not blame herself or spend any time thinking “What if?” or “I should have done it differently.”

Even though the pain of losing Mike may never fully go away, Brenda said she can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. She’s raising a 16-year-old daughter right now, and she knows of many family members and others around her who love her, which helps her keep moving. Her faith in the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also helps her find hope in her future.

“I’ve learned to endure the moment right now when it gets really bad because that doesn’t last. The grief comes in waves. It’s not a relief to die. It’s never a relief for family members.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24/7, at 800-273-8255. There are also suicide prevention classes and resources available in St. George through the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • comments July 20, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    It is kinda nice to have sort of a followup story. I wish more of the articles had some sort of followup. Also, I’m beginning to wonder if these hardcore religious types don’t ALWAYS have more mental instability that we “atheists”. I just flat-out don’t like religion. I don’t believe any of it. Never seen any proof of any of it. Seen too many Joseph Smith worshiping prophets that also happen to be some of the worst serial-offending pedophile child rapists in history. At the end of the day… it’s just not worth it.

    • jaltair July 20, 2018 at 10:02 pm

      To comments . . . I think the hardest thing for most people is to feel they have let people down by not measuring up to standards, however you might define “standards.”

      In the 70’s, I was a “hardcore” Baptist and was so afraid to let people know what I was like. That meant some isolation. During that period, I was married to an abusive husband and there seemed to be no way “out.” I went to the sheriff’s office to report one abuse situation, and nothing was really done – the sheriff went over and “talked” to my husband.

      Just wasn’t much you could do in the 70’s. When I spoke to people in church (not telling them the extent of the problems) I was told that I had to honor my vows. I was too afraid to try to find help, I tried with the Sheriff and that didn’t work, and the church didn’t help much, and just made me feel guilty. I left after I feared my husband was going to kill me, he had threatened, and he stalked me and did some pretty bad things. I had to move out of town. There was no support, no one to talk to, and I was too afraid to make new friends because they would find out how imperfect I was. I worked through it with some new and more understanding friends. In looking back now, I did what I had to do to survive and am stronger. However, I still have problems letting people really know me.

      In a sense, you are correct in that if one looks at standards set by the churches and the Bible, especially Paul, it’s hard to live up to those standards. I still have a firm faith in God and what he’s done through my life . . . helping me to overcome some pretty bad stuff. That faith did get me through it all.

      I don’t put my faith in any religion now but hold it in my heart and share with some friends at times.

      The truth is how the love of God intervenes to give us the ability to like ourselves better. There is no condemnation in those who love and believe in Christ. That is my faith. The only condemnation one has is put on them by themselves and some who don’t understand the truth of God’s love. Just my thoughts and are according to my experiences in life.

      • comments July 20, 2018 at 10:39 pm

        I respect it. not much to say right now other than that…

  • brishie July 21, 2018 at 12:54 am

    We have to give God a chance to help. If you don’t worship with Him daily, ask for help, pray for strength and believe in the blood and what it was shed for, your not putting your trust in God. As much as we love our dear ones, we are not Him. We cannot fix or control the soul. Only God can do that. Suicide is NOT the way to heaven, nor will you find yourself there, after you’ve taken your life. It’s a mortal sin, and should be taught as such in all religions. I am not religious but am very close to my creator with my heart and soul. Kneel and pray for strength every day. This life on earth is not what you were created for, it’s only a stop over, to work your magic by touching those that God puts in your little world. Use it wisely and let your life be filled with fellowship and love, and most of all, faith in the Savior. Suicide is telling God he was wrong by creating you… God is never wrong, he does not make mistakes…We are not mistakes, ever. Amen?

    • comments July 21, 2018 at 10:37 am

      a perfect example of why people don’t like religious nutters…

  • General Seamstress July 21, 2018 at 3:42 am

    It is not Gods will for any of his children to live in chaos. The Bible says chaos is of the devil. If u wanna be Über religious divorce your chaos and stay single. Be free and in line with God. GOD IS SO GOOD.

  • General Seamstress July 21, 2018 at 3:45 am

    Brenda, I’m saying a prayer for your healing and contentment. I hope you fine comfort in the arms of Jesus…

  • Kilroywashere July 21, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    To Comments: Belief is a powerful paradigm. Although we as human beings are often trapped by limitations of that belief structure, the opposite situation can also be the case. I am sure you are aware of Quantum Mechanics and the fact the observer can and does affect the observed in the world of subatomic particles. Further, theories (and yes they are theories OK) such as Bell’s theorem or Shroedinger’s Cat paradox point out the possibility that the universe is perhaps more open ended, and atheism along with pure scientific materialism (science as a religion which it is not, rather a methodology) breakdown. Thus a religious belief system, may be a leverage point for human consciousness to enter that unknown realm where normal sense data is no longer applicable, useless, and irrelevant. Truth, may be a projection of that personal belief, and a relative construct. Until you have that experience outside your belief system you will not see this paradigm. As a person who was born with a strange magnetic structure, where synchronicity and deja vu are not uncommon, (unfortunately not the type where you win lottery twice in one lifetime) I have a different outlook then you do. If your religion works for you, and manifests results then that is all that counts. Your judgement of other religious beliefs is no different then a christian judging a muslim or vice versa. The existence of God is a semantic paradox as a word simply points to the thought in our mind. But whether God exists or not boils down to a personal revelation. This story, as sad and tragic as it is, should not be judged on religious grounds, rather from the human heart. And I know you have a heart COMNENTS. The life force inside it, i.e. spirit corce, or nature’s biological energy is YOUR GOD. Life is what YOU MAKE it …. and your religious belief system apparently must put down other belief systems to justify its superiority for some reason. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it comes across. end of sermon…

    • comments July 21, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      Not at all. It’s not a happy story and I feel sorry for the woman and whoever else affected by this. Bottom line is that the guy should’ve been getting some serious psychiatric treatment rather than all this ‘pray to joseph smith’ bs. Fact is, it didn’t work. None of it. I often don’t have a problem with people’s belief system. Where the problem begins is when the BS they believe is being used to… well let’s say, when it’s negatively impacting others. The hypocrisy of religious nutters is what drives me mad. It isn’t the BS that they believe, it’s what they do with it that affects others. I’ve gone thru phases of being a religious nutter myself, and i understand the desire to believe in something. It it helps people along in life then good on them, but if they start pulling all kinds of hypocritical BS then I’ll call them out on it. It’s like the pedophile FLDS cults up in short creek and elsewhere. As far as I’m concerned THESE ARE MORMONS JUST LIKE LDS ARE MORMONS, and the official LDS church needs to own it and do something about it. FLDS exists because of the LDS. It makes me so mad I could strangle people, just because of how extreme the hypocrisy of the LDS church. I’d never give a dime to an organization that enables a breakaway pedophile cult, and they have enabled it, both the state and the LDS church.

      Enough ranting for now. I have issues w/ pretty much all these big money sucking hypocrite churches, but LDS are the ones i see everyday, so… rant over for now 😉

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